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October 3, 2023


Deloitte's San Francisco office

We Had to Scroll Really Far Down to Find a Big 4 Firm on This Glassdoor Best Places to Work List

Life at Deloitte was trumpeting an appearance on Glassdoor’s latest Best Places to Work list yesterday so naturally we swung over to the list to see what’s what. At @Deloitte, we’re committed to our people’s professional & personal well-being. That’s why we’re thrilled our organization has been named one of the Best Places to Work […]

blocks stacked up to signify a ranking

Listicle of the Day: The Accounting Firms on Fortune’s 25 Best Large Workplaces in Consulting and Professional Services

Yikes that headline was a mouthful, sorry about that. Anyway, Fortune has released its 25 Best Large Workplaces in Consulting and Professional Services list and you might be surprised to learn that only one Big 4 firm cleared the top ten. Actually you might not be surprised by that at all once you learn the […]

Listicle of the Day: INSIDE Public Accounting’s Top 500 Firms For 2022

If there’s anything we love here at Going Concern it is an accounting firm dick-measuring contest. Or a “pissing match” should you prefer a milder phrase. Whatever you call it, we love when firms are pitted against one another based on impartial metrics like revenue. INSIDE Public Accounting has blessed us with a fresh Top […]

LinkedIn Must Have Noticed All of Those Cringey Posts About How Great It Is to Work At Deloitte

If you aren’t aware of said cringey LinkedIn posts from Deloitters, see Adrienne’s articles here and here. Here are a couple other examples: Anyhoo, based on all of the posts from butt-kissing Green Dotters (or not), Deloitte is one of LinkedIn’s top 50 companies in the US: In honor of being named a LinkedIn Top […]

Listicle of the Day: INSIDE Public Accounting’s Top 400 Firms For 2021 (UPDATE)

[Updated original post from July 26 to reflect BDO USA taking over sixth place in revenue from Grant Thornton.] INSIDE Public Accounting just came out with its ranking of the top 400 firms in the U.S. based on revenue, and there’s two big changes in the top 10. The most notable change is BDO USA […]

Number of the Day: $26.7 Billion

Deloitte has the most valuable brand among commercial services firms worldwide, as the Green Dot is valued at $26.7 billion, according to the 2021 Commercial Services 100 report from Brand Finance. However, the value of the Deloitte brand slipped nearly 18% in the past year—from $32.5 billion in 2020 to $26.7 billion—due to the Rona, […]

These Colleges Give Accounting Grads the Most Bang For Their Buck In the Real World

We’re less than two months away from the class of 2021 tossing their mortarboards high in the sky (either in-person with their classmates or virtually, not sure which at this point), thus signaling a new batch of eager beavers who will soon be starting their journeys in the meat grinder that is public accounting. But […]

Listicle of the Day: Best- and Worst-Paying States For Accountants

Gather ’round, kids, we’re going to talk about accounting salaries. The other day, came out with a report on which states (plus the District of Columbia) pay accountants the best and the worst. To do this, the site said it used data from the Bureau of Labor’s annual occupational employment stats and compared each […]

Let’s Enjoy Some Intern Reviews of Various Accounting Firms

Vault ranks lots of employers and this week they dropped their 50 top internships for 2016. There are lots of accounting firms on this list, so many it's almost unbelievable considering Vault invited more than 600 employers to participate. Here are all the firms that were list: Elliott Davis Decosimo (2) Plante Moran (6) Moss […]

Here Are Ten Hot Takes on States’ CPA Exam Performance

Hey, look, a map from NASBA: How well does your home state perform on the Uniform #CPAExam? — NASBA Talks (@NASBA_Talks) September 17, 2015 It's a Thursday in mid-September and since everyone's talking about the Fed and last night's debate, how about some CPA EXAM HOT TAKES? Come on, you don't have anything better […]

CPA Exam Scores, Explained and Ranked

Today is the first CPA exam score release date for the Q3 testing window, meaning that answered prayers and shattered dreams abound.  In times like these, it's important to reflect on your score with a bit of context. Sure, you may have passed or failed but what does your score mean? Did you overdo it? […]

The Greatest Reality TV Accountants, Awarded and Ranked

What do I love more than an ice cold Diet Coke and a full TiVo queue of bad reality TV? When the reality contestants are accounting scrubs, obviously. I’ve ranked the following accounting reality stars based on courage, entertainment value, and actual talent.   7) The Award for Best Dating Show Contestant: Mara, Legal Accountant […]

Accounting Profession Rankings, Ranked

1. Vault 502. Reading the IRC3. CPA Practice Advisor Most Powerful Women in Accounting4. LinkedIn school rankings5. CPA Practice Advisor 40 Under 406. U.S. News and World Report school rankings7. Accounting Today 100 Most Influentialtie – 8. Accounting Today Top 100 Firmstie – 8. Inside Public Accounting Top 100 Firms

LinkedIn Ranks the Best Undergrad Accounting Programs Based on Employability

Another day, another ranking. This time, LinkedIn did the math and figured out which accounting school tops the list in jobs. Makes sense, isn't that why you go to college in the first place? Here's how LinkedIn analyzed the ranking: First, we identified the top companies where Accounting Professionals are choosing to work. Next, we […]

Starry-Eyed Graduates in the UK Choose PwC As Britain’s Most Prestigious Employer

Another day, another ranking. Today's list comes courtesy The Times. For the sixteenth time, the Times has whipped up a list of the Top 100 Graduate Employers. By asking 18,336 graduates who left UK university in 2014"Which employer do you think offers the best opportunities for graduates?" the paper has awarded PwC with the top […]

(UPDATE) Which School Tops U.S. News Rankings in Undergrad Accounting?

Ed. note: U.S. News and World Report has issued a correction, stating they "incorrectly loaded peer reputation scores." The corrected ranking may be found below. Sorry, University of Illinois! RANKINGS. Love them or hate them, how else are we supposed to know who we're better than? The 30th edition of U.S. News and World Report […]

Public Accounting Firms, Ranked by CEO Hotness

*ranked from the Accounting Today Top 100 #10: BDO Wayne Berson has done wonderful things for BDO but I definitely wouldn't do wonderful things to him. Nope. Sorry Wayne but… just no. The good news is you're one makeover away from being Eric Cantor, in which case, email me. #9: CliftonLarsonAllen It's a known fact […]

Let’s Discuss: Vault Accounting 50 (2015)

Yesterday, we touched on the Vault Accounting 50 — or rather, we praised PwC for coming out on top (mostly because we feel like we've been forced to criticize them a little more than other firms lately). Today, we're going to dig deeper into the results. First, your top ten: PwC EY Deloitte KPMG Grant […]

Here’s How the Top Eight Audit Firms Ranked in PCAOB Inspection Error Rate

This got by us for some reason, but Compliance Week noted Crowe Horwath's atrocious error rate in its 2011 PCAOB inspection reports was by far the worst among the eight largest audit firms. Here's the ranking of firms, from best to worst, and their error rate: 1. KPMG — 22.6%2. EY — 35.7%3. BDO — 39.1%4. Grant […]

Let’s Bicker About: Top Undergrad Accounting Programs

According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek, any burgeoning debit and credit artists out there would do well by attending one of the following schools for their undergraduate studies: 1. Brigham Young (Marriott) 1.067 2. Notre Dame (Mendoza) 1.076 3. UC Berkeley (Haas) 1.081 4. Cornell (Dyson) 1.089 5. Illinois – Urbana-Champaign 1.116 6. Tulsa (Collins) 1.118 7. […]

ICYMI: Here Are the Ten States with the Highest CPA Exam Passing Rates

By some combination of bad luck and adult attention deficit disorder, we missed NASBA's announcement that they released their CPA exam stats book for 2012. No matter, we're confident you missed it too because no one sent us an email about it.  Anyway, if you're interested in dropping $150 for your own copy we won't stop […]

KPMG Doesn’t Need You, FORTUNE; It Has Plenty of Other Employer Rankings That Say It’s Still a Great Place To Work

Oh Christ, the FORTUNE1 100 Best Companies to Work For came out today, which means marketing and PR teams all across Corporate America are on high alert. Who went up? Who went down? Who’s new on the list? Who’s off the list? Who gives a shit? That’s my take. If you’re not Google, then you suck. I want an employer who has a cafeteria that serves the most obscure cuisine on the planet (e.g. BBQ Tasmanian devil short ribs with poached platypus eggs) and I want it for FREE. If you can’t make that happen, then I might as well be working for the Taliban as the Womens Initiative coordinator.

Top Ten Accounting Programs Are Spectacularly Unspectacular

It's that time of year again where U.S. News & World Report clings to relevancy by issuing their College Rankings List and, per usual, we'll present you with the top undergraduate accounting programs with indifference. The purpose of these rankings, as we all know, allows the alumni and current students of top accounting schools the opportunity […]

Here’s How California Schools Did on the CPA Exam in 2011

Sorry for the delay in getting this data out to you guys (I know I know, you were sooooo excited by the 2010 data last time), but we had to jump through a few flaming hoops to get permission from NASBA to give it to you. Just a reminder, if you would like to flip […]

Vault Accounting 50: The Not Quite Top 25 (2013)

Since we've sufficiently gave attention to the top 25 firms in this year's Vault Accounting 50, as well as those firms whom you all think are the bee knees, we know will present the firms that are a merger or two or three away (or the endorsement of another golfer that will pose in body […]

Let’s *Try* to Have a Civil Discussion About Accounting Program Rankings

Every year, U.S. News & World Report bestows their storied list of best Colleges and Universities. It's a great opportunity to show school pride (unless you're a Penn State alum) or to make snide remarks because you went to a TTT and are mad with envy. Because we know that discussing loaded rankings such as […]

Let’s Bicker About the U.S. News Accounting Program Rankings

Wow — Texas, Illinois, BYU are the top three? No one saw this coming.

1. Texas – Austin
2. Illinois – Urbana-Champaign
3. BYU

4. Southern Cal
5. Michigan
6. Penn
7. Notre Dame
8. Indiana
9. NYU
10. Ohio St, Washington (tie)

Not exactly sure if Michigan jumped over Notre Dame at the last second in this year’s ranking but I’d like to imagine a flurry of points coming in late to catapult the Wolverines over ND. Sorry, John. Btw, here’s the methodology if you’re into that sort of thing.

Top 100 Accounting Firms List Looks Very Familiar

Mostly because the top twenty-five firms hardly changed.

1. Deloitte
2. PwC
3. E&Y
5. McGladrey
6. Grant Thornton
7. BDO
9. Crowe Horwath
10. BKD
11. Moss Adams
12. Plante & Moran
13. EisnerAmper
14. Marcum
15. Clifton Gunderson
16. BTVK
17. J.H. Cohn
18. LarsonAllen
19. UHY Advisors
20. Dixon Hughes
21. Reznick Group
22. Rothstein Kass
23. ParenteBeard
24. Eide Bailly
25. WeiserMazars

The top twelve didn’t change at all and there was some shuffling amongst the firms after that, most notably Eisner and Amper whose merger catapulted them from 24 and 26 respectively to 13th on the list. Not much else to report on such a snoozer of a list but it’s worth mentioning that 45% of Deloitte’s revenues are not from assurance or tax services and this is the reason they are numero uno. Check out the entire list here.

Most Top Ten Accounting Firms Saw Lower Revenues, Headcount for 2009

Vault’s Best Accounting Firms To Work For (Continued): Cube Farms, Selectivity, Tolerance for Stupid Questions

This morning we rolled a few more Vault rankings that gave you an idea of why they could be decent place to hold down a job.

Round two involves more categories for the bestest of the best, kicking off with your office digs:

Offices (don’t need a key for the john, “nap” rooms, The Onion and porn aren’t blocked)
1. Marcum
2. Kaufman, Rossin & Co.
3. Elliott Davis
5. Deloitte
7. Rothstein Kass
8. PwC
16. Moss Adams

Satisfaction (with relative lack of sexual harrassment? This seems unfinished.)
1. Armanino McKenna – San Ramon, CA
2. Berdon – NYC
3. CBIZ & Mayer Hoffman McCann – Cleveland, OH
5. Deloitte
13. Moss Adams
15. PwC
17. Rothstein Kass

Selectivity (ratio of hotties?)
1. PwC
2. Dixon Hughes – High Point, NC
3. Marcum
5. Deloitte
13. Rothstein Kass
14. Moss Adams

Formal Training (aka watching PowerPoint presentations to be followed up by heavy drinking)
1. Kaufman, Rossin & Co.
2. Marcum
3. Elliott Davis
10. Rothstein Kass
14. Deloitte
16. PwC
20. Moss Adams

Informal Training (aka your direct superior rolling their eyes at you before answering your question)
1. Marcum
2. PwC
3. Kaufman, Rossin & Co.
5. Deloitte
12. Rothstein Kass
15. Moss Adams

Big 4 Firms Score Perfect on 2011 Corporate Equality Index

Yesterday The Human Rights Campaign Foundation released their Corporate Equality Index for 2011. If you’re not familiar with the survey, it “assesses American workplaces on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.”

We’re happy to report that the Big 4 are perfectly gay friendly which probably surprises no one (or not?). The firms go to great lengths to be inclusive, especially in public eye and a ranking like the HRC’s is a perfect opportunity to call attention to their efforts.

This is the ninth year for the survey and its largest – with 844 companies being rated. Scores are determined based on the following criteria:

Criterion 1a Prohibits Discrimination Baation (15 points)

Criterion 1b Provides Diversity Training Covering Sexual Orientation (5 points)

Criterion 2a Prohibits Discrimination Based on Gender Identity or Expression (15 points)

Criterion 2b Provides Diversity Training Covering Gender Identity OR Has Supportive Gender Transition Guidelines (5 points)

Criterion 2c Offers Transgender-Inclusive Insurance Coverage for at Least One Type of Benefit (5 points)

Criterion 2c+ Offers Transgender-Inclusive Insurance Coverage, Including Surgical Procedures (4 )

Criterion 3a Offers Partner Health Insurance (15 points)

Criterion 3b Offers Partner Dental, Vision, COBRA and Dependent Coverage Benefits (5 points)

Criterion 3c Offers at Least Three Other “Soft” Benefits for Partners (5 points)

Criterion 4 Has Employer-Supported Employee Resource Group OR Firm-Wide Diversity Council (15 points) Would Support ERG if Employees Express Interest (half credit)

Criterion 5 Positively Engages the External LGBT Community (15 points)

Criterion 6 Responsible Citizenship Employers will have 15 points deducted from their score for a large-scale official or public anti-LGBT blemish on their recent records (-15 points)

Big 4 spin-off Accenture also scored a perfect 100 while Capgemini scored a 60, receiving no points for any of the #2 criteria or criterion 5. We took a quick glance through and didn’t notice any more accounting firms, although McGladrey parent H&R Block is on the list, scoring at 65, missing on criteria 2a, 2c and 5.

This seems like a pretty easy diversity win for most firms. Prohibiting discrimination is a piece of cake (enforcing it is another discussion) while providing training and benefits is simply good business. Likewise, if a company has an “employer-supported resource group” or “diversity council,” engaging the LGBT community should be a natural progression.

Where firms may get tripped up is the “Responsible Citizenship Employers” criterion. “[A] large-scale official or public anti-LGBT blemish” consists of the following:

Scores on this criterion are based on information that has come to HRC’s attention related to topics including but not limited to: undue influence by a significant shareholder calculated to undermine a business’s employment policies or practices related to its LGBT employees; directing corporate charitable contributions to organizations whose primary mission includes advocacy against LGBT equality; opposing shareholder resolutions reasonably aimed at encouraging the adoption of inclusive workplace policies; revoking inclusive LGBT policies or practices; or engaging in proven practices that are contrary to the business’s written LGBT employment policies.

While it isn’t likely that any firm would fall victim to this, law firm Foley & Lardner was dinged for representing clients that opposed gay marriage even though they provided many services to many LGBT causes.

As much as we don’t like it, bigoted, well-funded nonprofits need professional services and they pay accounting firms lots of money to provide them with services. As of now, the HRC doesn’t seem to be holding that against professional services firms but this is a divisive issue, not matter how you slice it. And until total equality is achieved, the HRC will likely keep a close eye on companies that assist groups it opposes.

Workplace Equality Takes Center Stage with Record Number of Companies Rated in HRC’s 2011 Corporate Equality Index [HRC]

Vault Accounting 50: Firms #21-#30 (2011)

Hitting the third group of ten on Vault’s Accounting 50, we see plenty of familiar names that would probably prefer being ranked higher but the people have spoken.

If you’ve got any news, gossip, cost saving ingenuity or anything else worthy of our pages on these firms, get in touch with at [email protected]

21. Ernst & Young LLP – New York, NY
22. KPMG LLP – New York, NY
23. Grant Thornton LLP – Chicago, IL
24. BDO Seidman LLP – Chicago, IL
25. McGladrey & Pullen LLP/RSM McGladrey Inc. – Bloomington, MN
26LLC – Southfield, MI
27. J.H. Cohn LLP – Roseland, NJ
28. Eisner LLP – New York, NY
29. Clifton Gunderson LLP – Peoria, IL
30. Crowe Horwath LLP – Oak Brook Terrace, IL

Here’s the scoop from Vault, with the occasional comment from us.

Ernst & Young – “Quality people, quality audits, quality network”; “Grossly overwork their juniors, underpay their seniors”; “Arrogant” [Jim Turely strikes as a humble-ish guy]

KPMG – “Good international firm”; “Frat party all the time”; “Weakest of the Big 4; unwilling to take risks to change its culture” [What kind of frat? Tri-Lambs?]

Grant Thornton – “Youthful and growing”; “More powerful in some regions than others”; “Big Four wannabe; inconsistent” [And a blogging CEO!]

BDO – “Solid, respected”; “Trying too hard to be a Big Four firm”; “Numerous accounting scandals”

McGladrey – “Solid, well known”; “Known to treat individuals with disrespect; questionable management”

Plante & Moran – “Excellent national reputation—they do things right”; “Mixed reviews on training” [Twelve straight years in Fortune bitches!]

J.H. Cohn – “Relaxed,” “open-door team environment”; “Old-line regional firm currently buying clients—the finest reputation advertising dollars can buy”

Eisner – “Solid New York City/Metro New York/New Jersey player”; “More marketing than expertise”

Clifton Gunderson – “Solid regional”; “Small firm, closing offices”; “We still need stronger name recognition”

Crowe Horwath – “More caring than the Big Four”; “From January to April, [you’ll] work every weekend” (Does more caring mean free cookies? More group hugs? We need details!)

And a some recent samples from these pages:

E&Y’s lead partner on the Emmys doesn’t get any action from groupies and the Shanghai office doesn’t care if you’re afraid of heights.

• The House of Klynveld recently got less-drastic makeover than PwC and Dick Bové thinks the Citigroup team is ‘an acceptable group of auditors.’

• One Grant Thornton office announced its Christmaskuh festivities early and Stephen Chipman encouraged employees to share the firm’s new strategy with loved ones.

BDO opened a new office down in tobacco land.

• McGladrey rolled plenty of refreshments for their rebranding including punch that was eerily reminiscent of Jonestown and a freakishly large cake that allowed execs to show off their lack of chipping skills.

Eisner played coy on their merger with Amper Politziner & Mattia at first but then admitted that they were making sweet CPA firm love.

• A Crowe Horwath audit partner pleaded ignorance on tax issues for his banking client because, well, the tax department is on another floor.

Vault Accounting 50 Rankings: Digging Into The Top 10
Vault Accounting 50: Firms #11-#20 (2011)

Vault Accounting 50: Firms #11-#20 (2011)

Jumping back into the Vault Rankings after going over the Top 10 last week, we bring you the firms that are on the cusp of greatness or merely experiencing the best it will ever be.

The most interesting thing about 11-20 is that lack of a “major” firm. If you want to make the argument that CBIZ is a major firm, we suggest you talk them into dropping the “CBIZ” and simply embrace Mayer Hoffman McCann. We shouldn’t have to explain it further than that.

Of course, if you’ve got any news, gossip or anything relatively interesting about any of these firms, email us at [email protected]. As for the firms, here theblockquote>11. WithumSmith+Brown, PC – Princeton, NJ
12. Berdon LLP – New York, NY
13. Reznick Group, P.C. – Bethesda, MD
14. Eide Bailly LLP – Fargo, ND
15. Goodman & Company, LLP – Virginia Beach, VA
16. CBIZ & Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C. – Cleveland, OH
17. Armanino McKenna – San Ramon, CA
18. SS&G Financial Services, Inc. – Cleveland, OH
19. ParenteBeard LLC – Philadelphia, PA
20. Schenck Business Solutions – Appleton, WI

And some of the buzz from Vault’s, err, vault:

WithumSmith+Brown, PC – “The people at WS+B are great to work with”— “familial” “culture that’s second to none”; “Not all partners respect scheduling requirements and quality of life”

Berdon LLP – “Reputable”; “Older crowd, not very hip”

Reznick Group, P.C. – “Alot of Big Four alumni”; “Flashy”

Eide Bailly LLP – “Extremely qualified”; “A widely unrecognized name”

Goodman & Company, LLP – “Relaxed culture”; “A mess”

CBIZ & Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C. – “Flexibility and autonomy”; “Change is resisted”

Armanino McKenna – “Upward mobility without waiting for partners to retire”; “Never heard of this firm”

SS&G Financial Services, Inc. – “Personable, friendly environment”

ParenteBeard LLC – “Smart, aggressive”; “Arrogant”

Schenck Business Solutions – “Solid, have only heard positive things”; “Low-ball service provider”; “Macho”

News at these firms fly beneath our radar for the most part but we did not ParenteBearde’s merger last year and Armanino McKenna’s CFO survey from this summer that showed some signs of life in the job Bay Area job market.

Vault’s New Accounting 50 Ranking Has Plenty of Surprises

The Second Tier of Vault’s Accounting 50 Has More Familiar Names

As promised, we’re presenting the second half of Vault’s Accounting 50, which has a lot of familiar names at the top of the second tier.

26. Plante & Moran, PLLC – Southfield, MI
27. J.H. Cohn LLP – Roseland, NJ
28. Eisner LLP – New York, NY
29. Clifton Gunderson LLP – Peoria, IL
30. Crowe Horwath LLP – Oak Brook Terrace, IL

31. BKD, LLP – Springfield, MO
32. Weiser LLP – New York, NY
33. Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP – Madison, WI
34. Amper Politziner & Mattia, LLP – Edison, NJ
35. LarsonAllen LLP – Minneapolis, MN
36. Anchin, Block & Anchin LLP – New York, NY
37. Novogradac & Company LLP – San Francisco, CA
38. UHY Advisors, Inc. – Chicago, IL
39. Wipfli LLP – Milwaukee, WI
40. Beers + Cutler PLLC – Vienna, VA
41. Marks Paneth & Shron LLP – New York, NY
42. Citrin Cooperman & Company, LLP – New York, NY
43. Margolin, Winer & Evens LLP – Garden City, NY
44. Stonefield Josephson, Inc. – Los Angeles, CA
45. Blackman Kallick – Chicago, IL
46. Aronson & Company – Rockville, MD
47. Schneider Downs & Co., Inc. – Pittsburgh, PA
48. Burr Pilger Mayer, Inc. – San Francisco, CA
49. Watkins, Meegan, Drury & Company, L.L.C. – Bethesda, MD
50. Frank Rimerman & Co. LLP – Palo Alto, CA

As we said this morning, we’ll dig into some of the particulars on all these firms in a series of posts and point out any past stories we’ve done in these here pages for additional color. For now, feel free to comment on the second tier.

Vault’s New Accounting 50 Ranking Has Plenty of Surprises

Vault’s New Accounting 50 Ranking Has Plenty of Surprises

This year our friends and Vault took a different approach to this year’s ranking for accounting firms. Rather than focus primarily on prestige of a given firm, many working in the industry voiced other aspects of their firms that were more important.

Vault Finance Editor Derek Loosvelt said in a press release, “In the past, our primary accounting ranking was based solely on prestige, but when we asked accounting professionals what the most important determining factor was when choosing an employer, they told us, overwhelmingly, that firm culture was most important.” How important??

“In fact, 36 percent of all accounting professionals we surveyed told us that firm culture was most important, while only 11 percent cited prestige as most important. Vault created its new ranking with this feedback in mind.”

But don’t fret, prestige whores – Vault’s prestige rankings will be out next week and we’ll bring those rankings to you, as well as their Quality of Life rankings. But for now, let’s get to the pecking order for the inaugural Best Firms to Work For ranking. We’ll bring you the top 25 for now and present the next 25 in a separate post. Plus, we’ll dig into the gory details in future posts. But that’s enough talk for now:

1. Deloitte – New York, NY
2. PricewaterhouseCoopers – New York, NY
3. Rothstein Kass – Roseland, NJ

4. Marcum – Melville, NY
5. Dixon Hughes – High Point, NC
6. Moss Adams – Seattle, WA
7. Elliott Davis – Greenville, SC
8. Friedman – New York, NY
9. Kaufman, Rossin & Company – Miami, FL
10. Cherry, Bekaert & Holland – Richmond, VA
11. WithumSmith+Brown, PC – Princeton, NJ
12. Berdon LLP – New York, NY
13. Reznick Group, P.C. – Bethesda, DC
14. Eide Bailly LLP – Fargo, ND
15. Goodman & Company, LLP – Virginia Beach, VA
16. CBIZ & Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C. – Cleveland, OH
17. Armanino McKenna – San Ramon, CA
18. SS&G Financial Services, Inc. – Cleveland, OH
19. ParenteBeard LLC – Philadelphia, PA
20. Schenck Business Solutions – Appleton, WI
21. Ernst & Young LLP – New York, NY
22. KPMG LLP – New York, NY
23. Grant Thornton LLP – Chicago, IL
24. BDO Seidman LLP – Chicago, IL
25. McGladrey & Pullen LLP/RSM McGladrey Inc. – Bloomington, MN

So the biggest surprise, from where we stand is Rothstein Kass lofty position in the top three. Not because we don’t suspect that they are a fine firm but it was simply unexpected. In fact, the top ten is full of surprises. Of the top ten in the list above, only Deloitte and PwC appear in the top ten in Inside Public Accounting’s Top 100. The obvious message here is – Bigger is not necessarily better.

And that particular premise is most obvious as we see two Big 4 firms – E&Y and KPMG – and three other mega firms – GT, BDO and McGladrey – rounding out the top twenty-five.

There are lots of familiar names in the top twenty-five so feel free to comment on any of them and where they fall on the pecking order.

Accounting Firms Rankings 2011: Vault Accounting 50 [Vault]
The New Vault Accounting 50 [In The Black/Vault]

KPMG, Ernst & Young Sneak on to U.S. News Tax Firm Ranking

You may or may not be aware that U.S. News & World Report is the shot caller when it comes to ranking law schools (much to the chagrin of some) and now (to even more chagrin) the magazine is delving into extensive law firm rankings and the Big 4 will enjoy a little bit of perceived prestige that comes along with these rankings.

Christ. We’re barely into rankings/list season and they’ve already chalked up working moms and consulting rankings and U.S. News is now throwing around its weight with this new list.

Granted, virtually no accounting firms will even get a whiff of this list but something tells us that because U.S. News has decided to dive head first into ranking law firms by practice are the Big 4 will be jockeying to make the tax list, even though it is a sliver of a much larger and broader ranking that they won’t be included on at all.

Excuse us while we choke down the vomit that we caught making it’s way out.

Why the hell not?!? U.S. News figured that the world couldn’t do without it’s rankings-for-hire in one more area for the legal field but this time the Big 4 will enjoy a bit of a ride on this wave.

Right. The list. The two of Big Four of course, make their way on the ranking for tax firms: Ernst & Young falls into the coveted Tier 1 (includes 36 firms) and KPMG drops on Tier 2 (47 firms). There were a total out of 119 firms across three tiers.

Admittedly, this is an opportunity for both KPMG and E&Y to boast their tax practice prowess over Deloitte and PwC who don’t appear on the list at all. That being said, Deloitte and PwC enjoy higher spots on the consulting rankings so they’re probably not overly concerned although no one turns down a notch on the bedpost if they can get it.

What this new ranking ultimately will be is one more marketing tool for the firms to use on the impressionable recruits and experienced hires who want to work in top notch – TOP NOTCH! – tax practice. Be it lawyers or CPAs, the firms will tout this ranking to their tax professionals (if not firm-wide) to throw around ONE. MORE. LIST. to impress the trousers off the masses but now people will be saying, “Oh, this is a U.S. News ranking.”

So for the Big 4 to be included in this “prestigious” ranking is a little bit, as Elie Mystal states, like “Christmas morning – if only Santa were a jolly red prestige whore.”

U.S. News Tax Firm Rankings [TaxProf Blog]
Best Law Firms [U.S. News & World Report]
U.S. News Launches First Official Law Firm Rankings [ATL]

Consulting Magazine Throws a Few Bones to the Big 4 with Latest “Best” Rankings

The Big 4 managed to squeeze onto a a couple different recent lists for their consulting efforts including Consulting Magazine’s 2010 Best Firms to Work For and Vault’s 2011 Consulting 50.

We’ll roll out the particulars of Consulting Mag’s lists first and give you Vault’s results later today.

Consulting Mag has several different lists but we’ll stick to the most relevant for the Big 4 . We’ll start off with the overall ranking:

1. Bain & Company
2. The Boston Consulting Group
3. North Highland
4. Point B
5. McKinsey & Company
6. Deloitte Consulting
7. Booz Allen Hamilton
8. PricewaterhouseCoopers
9. Accenture
10. Slalom Consulting
11. Milliman
12. Booz & Company
13. A.T. Kearney
14. Capco
15. PRTM

So the Big 4 really makes two appearances here with Deloitte and PwC. You could throw Accenture in there for old time’s sake. Back when we covered Barry Salzberg’s little merger chat in the Journal, two names that were thrown at him were Booz and A.T. Kearney. While this list is certainly no indication, you’ll see that based on the rankings, Deloitte ranks above both those firms despite commenters suggestion that Booz and A.T. are superior brands.

The list dominated by the Big 4 was the Business Advisory Services:

1. PricewaterhouseCoopers
2. Alvarez & Marsal
3. Ernst & Young
5. FTI

You don’t see Deloitte and Accenture on this list since they fall on the “Multi-Service” list at #1 and #2 respectively and Capgemini (purchased E&Y Consulting in 2000) is numero uno on the Information Technology list.

Deloitte Consulting and PwC get dropped on a few more lists that include: Career Development, Work/Life Balance and Culture while KPMG and E&Y are nowhere to be found. A list of “Best Places to Start a Career” listed Deloitte at #3 and KPMG at #6 with PwC and E&Y MIA.

Naturally there is room for bellyaching and there are vaguely familiar frustrations in the feedback portion:

You have to manage your career with little help from management. Here’s the rope, climb the mountain or hang yourself…

Work/Life Balance
The concept of a work life balance is talked about, but only as an afterthought.

Compensation/Benefits Satisfaction
Your work will double, but salary may not.

Those aren’t specific to any one firm but something tells us you could find someone in any of the Big 4 consulting/advisory groups griping about these issues. OH! And as far as scoring for morale goes, the Big 4 are shutout of the top ten.

So a bit of a mixed bag on this particular list but you’ll likely see a rash of press releases in the coming days and weeks along with emails and whatnot from your leadership.

So feel free to debunk the latest seemingly arbitrary rankings. We certainly expect the consulting purists of the bunch to be disgusted with the Big 4 sullying these particular grounds.

The Best Firms to Work For, 2010 [Consulting Magazine]
PricewaterhouseCoopers Named Among the Top 10 Best Firms to Work For by Consulting Magazine [PR Newswire]

Inside Public Accounting’s Top 100 Firms List Has Few Surprises

Inside Public Accounting put out their annual ranking of accounting firms this month and like the Accounting Today list, it is based on revenues so it barely causes a stir.

Not that we don’t appreciate the distraction in the middle of August but the list doesn’t have any surprises and is nearly identical to AT’s. Nevertheless, we’ll present the top 25 firms here for your dissecting enjoyment (previous ranking in brackets):

1. Deloitte [1]
2. Ernst & Young [2]
3. PricewaterhouseCoopers [3]
4. KPMG [4]
5. McGladrey [5] (who is still calling this firm “RSM McGladrey” and “McGladrey & Pullen”? They had cake and punch for crissakes.)

6. Grant Thornton [6]
7. Mayer Hoffman & McCann/CBIZ [8]
8. BDO [7]
9. Crowe Horwath [9]
10. BKD [10]
11. Moss Adams [11]
12. Plante & Moran [12]
13. Clifton Gunderson [14]
14. Baker Tilly Virchow Krause [17]
15. Marcum [20]
16. J.H. Cohn [15]
17. UHY Advisors [16]
18. LarsonAllen [19]
19. Reznick Group [13]
20. Dixon Hughes [18]
21. ParenteBeard [35/36]
22. Rothstein Kass [21]
23. Eide Bailly [22]
24. Eisner [23]
25. WeiserMazars [24]

So then. The top 5 is a snoozer, per usual. You can see that the the firms that experienced a merger or acquisition in the past year are the ones that jumped the most (e.g. BTVK, ParenteBeard, Marcum) with the exception of WeiserMazars, a merger that was an international play as opposed to a domestic one. And since rumored mergers don’t count you don’t see the Eisner Amper effect here. Reznick Group experienced the most significant drop which can’t be explained at this point but we’d love to hear theories.

Full Report [PDF]

Accounting Program Rankings: Open Thread

Thumbnail image for BelushiCollege_CPA.jpgA tipster pointed us to a link that went up on Tuesday over at the College of William & Mary’s Mason School of Business that announced the school as the “number one ranked small school for both their undergraduate and Master of Accounting programs.”
The website gives us the lowdown on the Public Accounting Report’s 2009 Annual Survey of Accounting Professors :

For the first time, the rankings have been split into three categories: small, medium and large schools, according to the number of teaching professors at the institution. The school rankings are based on professors’ ranking of accounting programs on a 1 to 10 scale in answering the question, “which programs consistently turn out students capable of some day attaining partner status?”

Judging by our partner thread poll over 60% of you aren’t interested in making partner and only a small percentage of you will actually become parters, so the question seems narrow to us.
We did some looking around and the only other school we’ve found that is making any noise about this so far is the University of Texas’ McCombs School of Business:

Following a venerable tradition in the PAR, McCombs continues to excel across all three rankings–undergraduate, graduate, and PhD.–each of which ranks the top 25 programs in the nation.

tu UT ranks #2, #1, #1, and #1 in undergrad, grad, doctoral (teaching), and doctoral (research). The #1 ranked school for the undergrad program was the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign but nothing appears on the website yet.
So if only two schools are making a fuss about this, the question is worth asking: do the rankings mean anything? The Big 4 recruit at many schools and it’s no secret that academic “prestige” does not guarantee professional success so are schools making a BFD out of something of marginal importance?
Our question is merely our own musing so opine it if you like but this is an open thread on accounting school rankings so discuss at nauseam whatever you like. If your school has sent out an announcement related to the “Public Accounting Report’s 2009 Annual Survey of Accounting Professors” toss it our way and we’ll update the post with other rankings.
UPDATE: Check out select placement stats for the College of William & Mary and UT Austin here.
McCombs Tops List of Accounting Programs in Latest Ranking [McCombs Today]