The 9 Most Influential Accounting Firms in the World

The best accounting firms in the world are often known for their long working hours, ruthless competition between graduates and their very well paid employees. However, there is much more to these powerful accounting firms that you probably never knew before. UpSlide have put together its list of ‘The 9 Most Influential Accounting Firms in the World’. We have included stories of their unheard history, unique characteristics that make them so different to each other, latest revenue figures, quotes from their top Finance professionals and other facts you never knew about these incredible firms. Presenting UpSlide‘s list of The 9 Most Influential Accounting Firms in the World… 

line break

 D E L O I T T E   |  F O U N D E D   I N   1 8 4 5 

Deloitte UpSlide Biggest and Best Accounting Firms in the World

T W I T T E R   |   F A C E B O O K   |   L I N K E D I N   |   W E B S I T E

In 1845, William Welch Deloitte opened an office in Basinghall Street in London. Deloitte was the first person to be appointed an independent auditor of a public company, namely the Great Western Railway. In 1896, Charles Waldo Haskins and Elijah Watt Sells formed Haskins & Sells in New York. It was later described as “the first major auditing firm to be established in the country by an American rather than British accountants.” On 1 March 1933, Colonel Arthur Hazelton Carter helped convince Congress that independent audits should be mandatory for public companies. In 1989, Deloitte Haskins & Sells merged with Touche Ross in the USA to form Deloitte & Touche.

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (Deloitte Global) announced that Punit Renjen, currently Deloitte U.S. member firm Chairman of the Board, has been selected as Deloitte Global’s new chief executive officer. Renjen will assume the new role on 1 June 2015, the start of Deloitte Global’s new fiscal year. Ranked the No. 1 accounting firm in the U.S. by annual revenue, Deloitte employs enough people to populate a small city with 210,000 professionals globally in 2014 while PwC had 195,000, EY had 190,000 and KPMG had 162,000. Deloitte’s U.S. operations have more than 70,000 professionals in more than 100 offices who work in four key business areas: audit, advisory, consulting, and tax.

Deloitte occupies the second slot globally with $35.2billion of revenues. Although all Big Four firms are now trying to build their consulting practices, Deloitte has a head-start after retaining its consulting business in the early 2000s. As a result, Deloitte’s combined consulting and advisory businesses generated $17.6billion in revenues last year, This was 76% more than its closest competitor (PwC).

“We always strive to pick the best person for the job regardless of gender or ethnicity, but in order to ensure that our women and minorities are advancing, it is about sponsorship. It is about those partners that sat in that room and when an opportunity came up for a capability that I wasn’t strong in, offering me the role. That is the culture at Deloitte: To make sure we are all maximizing the capabilities that we have.” – Cathy Engelbert, CEO Deloitte LLP.

most influential best accounting firms in the world deloitte upslide

P W C   |   F O U N D E D   I N   1 9 9 8 

PWC UpSlide Biggest and Best Accounting Firms in the World

T W I T T E R   |   F A C E B O O K   |   L I N K E D I N   |   W E B S I T E

Without a shadow of a doubt, PwC is one of the most influential accounting firms in the world. PwC was founded by Samuel Lowell Price, a London accountant who was joined by two more accountants. In 1865, the partnership renamed itself Price, Waterhouse and Company, which grew to become a prominent international network of independent member firms.

Global revenues climbed by 10% to $35.4billion for the year ending 30 June 2015. Advisory services drove PwC’s growth, up 18% to $11.2billion, while assurance and tax grew 6.2% and 7.1% respectively.

“Our strongest growth for eight years is a result of the significant investment we have made in recruiting the best people, enhancing the quality of our services and building new product offerings such as data analytics,” Dennis Nally, chairman of PwC International.


E Y  |  F O U N D E D   I N  1 9 8 9 

EY Ernst Young UpSlide Biggest and Best Accounting Firms in the World

T W I T T E R   |   F A C E B O O K   |   L I N K E D I N   |   W E B S I T E

Arthur Young arrived in the U.S. in the late 1800s after studying law at Glasgow University. In 1906, he and his brother Stanley opened an accounting firm, Arthur Young & Co., in Chicago. In 1903, in Cleveland, A.C. Ernst and his brother Theodore founded the small accounting firm of Ernst & Ernst, and the firm grew rapidly. Four decades later, in 1989, their firms came together to form Ernst & Young in the U.S.

EY currently operates in over 150 countries around the world which are grouped in the four business regions, the Americas; Europe, Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA); Asia-Pacific; and Japan.  EY generates the most revenue in the EMEIA and the Americas. The combined revenue from Asia-Pacific and Japan is equal to around one quarter of the revenue grossed in the Americas. EY is often voted as one of the best companies to work for and has booked revenues of $28.7 billion in its last reported fiscal year. 

“It is a privilege to lead this great organization in these dynamic times and I’m looking forward to tackling the challenges ahead. EY has a proud history that stretches back more than a century. Over that time we have forged our reputation based on quality, trust and integrity. We are building on our history and our reputation to create our future.” – Mark Weinberger,  Global Chairman and CEO EY

most influential best accounting firms in the world deloitte upslide

K P M G   |  F O U N D E  D  I N  1 9 8 7

KPMG UpSlide Biggest and Best Accounting Firms in the World

T W I T T E R   |   F A C E B O O K   |   L I N K E D I N   |   W E B S I T E

KPMG is the fastest-growing company of the Big Four for the last two years and booked revenues of $24.4 billion in the last fiscal year. In 2016, KPMG rose 20 places to rank No. 43 on Fortune’s annual 100 Best Companies to Work For List, making it the highest-ranked Big Four firm for the second consecutive year. KPMG also regularly appears on Working Mothers’ 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers list.

The history of KPMG dates back to 1911, when British accountant William Barclay Peat reached across the Atlantic joining forces with New York’s Marwick, Mitchell and Company to form Marwick, Mitchell, Peat & Co. After separating for a short while, the two firms re-established their partnership in 1925 and became Peat, Marwick, Mitchell. This was shortened to Peat Marwick International in 1978. Meanwhile, in 1979, a group of international accounting firms in Western Europe and the U.S. made a merger of their own, forming Klynveld Main Goerdeler (KMG). KPMG Peat Marwick was born in 1987 when KMG and Peat Marwick merged, the accounting industry’s first (but not last) mega-merger; its name was further shortened to KPMG in 1995.

“Providing people with the opportunity to build rich and diverse careers is an enduring part of our global strategy. In today’s increasingly complex and rapidly changing world, that means not only appealing to the best graduates, but also attracting experienced and diverse talent, and offering them an unparalleled opportunity to build their career.” – John Veihmeyer, KPMG Global Chairman.

[C] Global Revenues for the Fiscal Year ending in 2015 for Top Accounting Firms – 

B D O  |   F O U N D E D  I N  1 9 6 8

BDO UpSlide Biggest and Best Accounting Firms in the World

T  W  I  T  T  E  R   |   F A C E B O O K   |   L I N K E D I N   |   W E B S I T E

As of 2015, BDO has member firms in 151 countries, employs around 60,000 partners and staff in 1,328 offices throughout the world, and is the fifth largest accounting network globally. BDO’s roots go back to 1910 when 22-year-old Maximilian Seidman, one of just 2,200 CPAs in the country, opened a one-room office on New York City’s Park Row. In 1917, Seidman & Seidman opened a second office in Michigan, where the firm did brisk business with the furniture industry there. By the 1960s, the Seidman name had spread across America, and in 1963, it went international, joining firms from Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, and the U.K. to form an organization called Binder Seidman International Group (BSIG). This was changed to Binder Dijker Otte (BDO) in 1973, in honor of three European founding members of the organization.

“Our relationship with our clients and our people is built on a foundation of trust and uncompromising quality and that won’t change as we move forward. But the world is changing and how we deliver our services to meet our clients’ needs means innovation is a priority for our firm. Our mandate to serve our great clients, and attract and retain top talent will continue. I’m excited to help lead our firm and our clients through this evolution.” – Pat Kramer, CEO of BDO Canada

most influential best accounting firms in the world grant thornton ey upslide baker tilly rsm deloitte kpmg ey pwc bdo mazars

G R A N T  T H O R N T O N  |  F O U N D E D  I N  1 9 8 0

Grant Thornton UpSlide Biggest and Best Accounting Firms in the World

T W I T T E R   |   F A C E B O O K   |   L I N K E D I N   |   W E B S I T E

Grant Thornton recently booked annual global revenues in excess of over $4.7 billion, and operates in over 130 countries with more than 47,000 people. The company’s “bring-your-whole-self-to-work” philosophy stresses diversity and a culture of flexibility and empowerment among its staff.

Alexander Richardson Grant, the namesake of the firm, began his accounting career at Ernst & Ernst (a predecessor of Ernst & Young), but, at 26, decided it was time to be his own boss and opened Alexander Grant & Co. in 1924. The company eventually became Grant Thornton in its current form, and seeded the creation of Grant Thornton International in 1980 when 50 international accounting firms formed a global organization.

“We have over 38,000 people in over 130 countries, working together with a single strategy worldwide, we’ve generated revenue of over 4.7 billion US dollars and in fact we were the fastest growing accounting firm in the profession. What makes us different is not our size, we have a tagline called an instinct for growth, we help our clients unlock their potential for growth. We know every client is unique and we are going to meet their unique needs, every day we make a difference for our clients, our people and the communities in which we operate.” Ed Nusbaum, Global CEO Grant Thornton

most influential best accounting firms in the world grant thornton ey upslide baker tilly rsm deloitte kpmg ey pwc bdo mazars

M A Z A R S   |  F O U N D E D  I N  1 9 4 0

Mazars UpSlide Biggest and Best Accounting Firms in the World

T W I T T E R   |   F A C E B O O K   |   L I N K E D I N   |   W E B S I T E

Mazars has 17,000 professionals in the 77 countries which make up its partnership in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, North America, Latin America and the Caribbean. Mazars is one of Europe’s largest audit and accounting firms with a huge global presence. Worldwide turnover for the integrated partnership for the fiscal year ending 2015 was $1.3 billion. Mazars operates as a single entity as a fully integrated partnership. Mazars publicizes its consolidated financial accounts, a move it claims is unusual for private audit and advisory firms.

The original Mazars firm was formed in Rouen, Normandy in France in 1940, by Robert Mazars. Mazars stayed a local firm until the 1980s when former CEO Patrick de Cambourg started to internationalize the firm growing the business from 33 employees in 1977 to the global firm of today. Mazars merged with accounting firm “Guérard Viala” to form “Mazars & Guérard” in 1995. On 1 September 1998 “Mazars & Guerard” merged with the British accountancy firm “Neville Russell” and traded, in the UK, for a number of years as “Mazars Neville Russell”. In 2002, “Mazars Neville Russell”, as well as its counterpart firms across Europe, changed the name to become simply Mazars.

“Unlike its competitors Mazars is not an association of firms but a partnership of women and men. This elective model grants our strength and stability.  Our DNA was built around four pillars defined by Robert Mazars himself: skills, independence of mind, sharing and tolerance. As CEO and Chairman, I consider myself responsible for this Constitution. None of our co-workers can become Partner without fully adhering to these principles that make our identity” – Philippe Castagnac, Group’s CEO and Chairman of the Group Excecutive Board

2 (3) most influential best accounting firms in the world dow jones index big four pwc deloitte kpmg pwc upslide

R S M   |  F O U N D E D  I N  1 9 6 4

RSM UpSlide Biggest and Best Accounting Firms in the World

T W I T T E R   |   F A C E B O O K   |   L I N K E D I N   |   W E B S I T E

RSM International has been in continuous existence since 1964, when it began as a small network that was originally called DRM. In 1993, the organisation restructured and changed its name to RSM International. Historically, RSM was derived from the initials of 3 of the original founding member firms of the organization: Robson Rhodes (UK), Salustro Reydel (France) and McGladrey (USA). Founding member Robson Rhodes was acquired by Grant Thornton and absorbed within their network, while Salustro Reydel merged with KPMG. McGladrey, or known as the RSM US member firm, is still part of the network today. In January 2006, Ms. Jean Stephens became the first female Chief Executive Officer of a top 10 international accounting network.

RSM has firms in 120 countries and is in each of the top 40 major business centres throughout the world. They have combined staff of over 38,000 in over 760 offices across the Americas, Europe, MENA, Africa and Asia Pacific. On 26 October 2015, RSM member firms globally adopted the brand and trading name ‘RSM’.

RSM saw a 6% increase in global fee income, to $4.64 billion, for the financial year ending 31 December 2015. RSM has also moved up one place in the global ranking and is now the 6th largest global network of independent audit, tax and consulting firms. Fee income was up 10% in the USA, 10% in Europe, 6% in Middle East and North Africa, 1% in Asia Pacific, and 9% in Latin America

“We have had a very positive year and these figures indicate that RSM is going from strength to strength. RSM firms worldwide are helping companies operate in an increasingly complex and rapidly changing environment by providing expert advice and insights that are based on a deep understanding of their business wherever they may be. Our unified brand is allowing us to focus on the needs of our clients even more, giving them the confidence to take their business forward” – Jean Stephens, CEO of RSM

most influential best accounting firms in the world rsm upslide

B A K E R  T I L L Y  I N T E R N A T I O N A L  |  F O U N D E D  I N  1 9 8 8

Baker Tilly UpSlide Biggest and Best Accounting Firms in the World

T W I T T E R   |   F A C E B O O K   |   L I N K E D I N   |   W E B S I T E

Baker Tilly International is currently represented by 165 independent member firms in 141 countries and brings together 28,000 people in 745 offices worldwide. Baker Tilly International  reported its financial performance for the 12-months ending June 2015 with global combined revenues rising 7% to $3.8billion.

In 2016, Baker Tilly’s focus on culture led to the creation of policies intended to better balance work-life, including progressive parental leave and “Dress for your Day” policies. These augment the firm’s SOAR diversity and inclusion program and successful GROW initiative dedicated to the growth and retention of women leaders.

“This represents our strongest revenue growth since 2008. We have seen growth across all our four regions and all service lines. Mergers and acquisitions are an important part of our members’ growth plans and we have seen a number of mergers over the past year. In addition to announcing mergers in the G20 economies of Russia, Australia, Germany, the US and the UK, we have also expanded our presence across Italy, the Caribbean and Africa. We will continue to see mergers between national firms continue as firms strive to reach critical mass and develop strategic aims that may not be achievable on their own” – CEO and President Geoff Barnes

most influential best accounting firms in the world grant thornton ey upslide baker tilly rsm deloitte kpmg ey pwc bdo mazars

line break
If you liked this feature then please do feel free to share it on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. We will soon be curating our Official List of the Top 50 Accounting Firms in the World and we would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on who to include! 

accounting firms france

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Kartik Soni
2 years ago

I am waiting next update this blog.

Edouard Ouaknine
2 years ago
Reply to  Kartik Soni

Hi Kartik! You can fin all our latest blog posts here:

Kartik Soni
2 years ago

nice blog. i read your blog completely

Carlene Cromedy
2 years ago

Great. KPMG is a nice firm because i have experienced with them rerading my business.

2 years ago


Jewel Thomas
7 months ago

Nice blog, I’ve learned a lot for some of the best accounting companies in the world. Now we know their stories from their untold pasts, and unique features that set them apart from one another.