Investor's wiki

The Big Four

The Big Four

What Are the Big Four?

The "Big Four" is the moniker used to allude to the four biggest accounting firms in the United States, as estimated by revenue. They are Deloitte, Ernst and Young (EY), PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), and Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG). Beside auditing services, the Big Four offer tax, strategy and management consulting, valuation, market research, assurance, and legal advisory services.

As of late, they began to offer digital transformation consulting to serve the requirements of the digital age. They are the leading source of tax law interpretation and specialists on changes in accounting and auditing standards.

Figuring out the Big Four

Through industry consolidation that started in 1989, what used to be the Big Eight has become the Big Four today. The eight, in sequential order, were Arthur Andersen, Arthur Young, Coopers and Lybrand, Deloitte Haskin and Sells, Ernst and Whinney, Peat Marwick Mitchell, Price Waterhouse, and Touche Ross — all U.S. or then again U.K. substances.

Arthur Young combined with Ernst and Whinney and Deloitte Haskin and Sells merged with Touche Ross to reduce the group count to six. Price Waterhouse and Coopers and Lybrand then, at that point, merged their works on making it five. Following the collapse of Arthur Andersen, due to its proven responsibility in the Enron scandal, the five turned into the present-day four.

These firms perform the vast majority of the auditing work for probably the biggest public companies in the world. As a matter of fact, by far most of Fortune 500 companies have their financial statements audited by one of the Big Four. Their clients incorporate such forces to be reckoned with as Berkshire Hathaway, Ford Motor Co., Apple, Exxon Mobil, and Amazon. According to a 2018 report by the CFA Institute, 30% of the S&P 500 were audited by PwC, 31% by EY, 20% by Deloitte, and 19% by KPMG.

With 360-degree perspectives on companies and industries, the Big Four are experts in the business. They have broad enrolling and training programs for new alumni and sought-after passageways for tax and consulting professionals to and from numerous industrial sectors.

Each firm is certainly not a single firm yet a composition of individual professional services organizations. Every one of these organizations are owned and managed autonomously, having gone into agreement with other member firms to share a similar name, brand, and standards.

Deloitte LLP

The biggest of the Big Four, Deloitte's labor force developed to north of 345,000 employees during their 2021 fiscal year. The company's annual revenue likewise surpassed $50 billion interestingly, becoming 5.5% from prior-year revenue. Through fiscal year 2021, Deloitte employed in excess of 121,000 individuals inside the United States. It had 126 offices across 97 urban communities. Notwithstanding overall company growth, Deloitte's 2021 United States revenue declined from 2020.


In 2021, PwC reported annual revenue of $45.1 billion, the second highest amount Big Four firms however just up 2% (in its neighborhood currency) from the year prior. Revenue in the United States stayed flat, however PwC is right now investing $12 billion to add 100,000 new positions over the course of the next five years to fortify its global presence. It is likewise making a $3 billion investment in quality-driven improvements remembering major progressions for audit technology. In 2021, PwC's labor force developed to 295,000 individuals.


During fiscal year 2021, Ernst and Young reported generally $40 billion of expansive revenue, an increase of 7.3% from the year prior. Unexpectedly, EY has recorded 7.3% compound annual growth throughout the course of recent years. EY as of late announced a $10 billion investment in company expansion trying to arrive at additional clients and all the more effectively explore their requirements. Toward the finish of fiscal year 2021, EY reported having 312,250 on staff.


KPMG utilizes more than 219,000 individuals across the world, 35,000 of which live inside the United States. KPMG has an office in each state across the U.S. furthermore, most as of late reported having more than 650 offices in 147 countries. In fiscal year 2021, KPMG reported the equivalent of $32.13 billion of revenue in U.S. dollars with strong growth across different divisions.

Arthur Andersen and Enron

In 2002, "Big Eight" firm Arthur Andersen was discovered to have destroyed documentation with an end goal to conceal Enron's misrepresented financial numbers. However one of the biggest and most trustworthy firms at that point, the firm eventually collapsed due to the scandal.

Pundits of the Big Four

Be that as it may, the Big Four isn't without its faultfinders. In spite of every one of its resources and inside access to companies, these monsters have not been the ones to uncover enormous frauds that have caused pain for shareholders of companies and investors in funds. Enron and Worldcom were uncovered by forensic accounting specialists, no of the Big Four.

Pundits say that the accounting firms would rather not ask too numerous extreme inquiries of their paying clients or diligently investigate something suspicious in their books. That would be tantamount to betraying the one who provides everything for you.

The Bottom Line

The Big Four alludes to the four biggest accounting firms in the Unites States. While they utilize a great deal of individuals, this firms likewise have their faultfinders. Fundamentally, individuals reprimand them for not asking the extreme inquiries important for uncovering fraud.


  • Getting a job at a Big Four firm is considered profoundly competitive, and occupied season is many times more demanding compared to other public accounting firms.
  • The biggest accounting firms used to comprise the "Big Eight" firms, however mergers and terminations have reduced the top tier of companies.
  • These four firms audit the financial statements for by far most of companies in the S&P 500.
  • The "Big Four" alludes to the four biggest accounting firms in the United States.
  • Notwithstanding their auditing services, the Big Four likewise gives consulting, valuation, market research, assurance, and legal advisory services.


What Services Do Big Four Companies Provide?

Each Big Four company will have a different staff armed with shifting level of mastery to address their client's issues. As a rule, Big Four firms all give audit, assurance, consulting, financial advisory, risk management, and tax compliance services. Each firm additionally helps with mergers, acquisitions, corporate restructurings, and forensic accounting.

What Is the Biggest Big Four Company?

With $50.2 billion of revenue earned during its 2021 fiscal year, Deloitte is the biggest of the Big Four firms.

How Is Busy Season in a Big Four Company?

The bustling season regularly means long hours of auditing or tax compliance to fulfill reporting time constraints for clients. Big Four employees frequently work a lot heavier hours during occupied season, once in a while doubling the capacity of what is worked during the non-occupied season.The occupied season is much of the time the beginning of the calendar year with many reports and returns due among January and April. Big Four firms are likewise business encompassing quarterly reporting.