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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]