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The 10 Best Accounting Firms to Work For (2018)

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Embarking on a career as an accountant is a rewarding decision. There’s a variety of projects to work on and plenty of opportunities for travel, not to mention a range of high-paying job roles on the market.

Aside from these various individual perks, there are also some great companies to be a part of, too. Due to the international nature of business, many accounting firms have offices all over the globe, meaning that they’re able to develop a dynamic and forward-thinking culture in which their employees can grow.

To give you an idea of some of the best, we’ve looked at the various rankings and Glassdoor reviews to compile a handy list. So, whether you’re a wide-eyed school leaver or an experienced hire, make sure you’re looking for vacancies at these companies!

These are the top 10 accounting firms to work for in 2018.

 


 

10. Crowe Global

Exterior shot of Crowe Horwath building South Bend Tribune

Global revenue (2017): $847 million (£644.8 million)

Total employees (2018): 4,000

Internships? Yes

Apprenticeships? Yes

Graduate programmes? Yes

With roots dating back to 1915, Crowe Global (previously Crowe Horwath) has since evolved into a significant professional services player and is a regular entry across various ‘best company’ lists. This is due in part to favourable pay rates, strong benefits and a highly robust remote working policy, although the company’s emphasis on encouraging innovation and ideas from employees also provides a sense of empowerment.

Complaints seem to be minimal as well, with the industry standard poor work-life balance – as well as accusations of understaffing – the only negative feedback from employees.

 

9. Mazars

Exterior shot of Mazars building Glassdoor

Global revenue (2017): €1.5 billion ($1.8 billion / £1.3 billion)

Total employees (2017): 20,000

Internships? Yes

Apprenticeships? Yes

Graduate programmes? Yes

Originally founded in 1940 in France, Mazars is a well-respected global mid-tier firm that puts a lot of emphasis on the training and development of staff (including, for example, mock audits and continual on-the-job learning). This welcoming culture and professional work environment are ideal for graduates and associates looking to break into the industry.

On the flipside, a common complaint is the lack of perks and benefits for employees, particularly where insurance benefits are concerned.

 

8. Baker Tilly

Exterior shot of Baker Tilly building Beddeleem

Global revenue (2017): $3.4 billion (£2.6 billion)

Total employees (2018): 34,000

Internships? Yes

Apprenticeships? No

Graduate programmes? Yes

Although Baker Tilly in the UK is now a part of its rival RSM, its international brand is still a hugely successful conglomerate of its own. Under its various global guises, the firm is growing rapidly, meaning there’s plenty of opportunities for ambitious employees.

As with all other CPA firms, the long hours are a frequent cause for complaint, although this is slightly exacerbated as Baker Tilly continues to grow and resources become stretched. Some workers also complain that pay rates are not in line with the industry standard.

 

 

7. Grant Thornton

Exterior shot of Grant Thornton building The Financial Express

Global revenue (2017): $5 billion (£3.8 billion)

Total employees (2016): 50,000

Internships? Yes

Apprenticeships? Yes

Graduate programmes? Yes

Able to trace its roots all the way back to 1844, Grant Thornton has undergone an array of mergers and acquisitions in recent years and is now securely established as a mid-tier firm. Many employees point towards the company’s culture of development, empowerment and flexibility as a sign that things are being done right.

On the downside, as a firm that is focused on traditional tax and audit practice, Grant Thornton can sometimes be left wanting in terms of technological advancement and innovation – especially when compared to the likes of PwC and Deloitte. More clarity in terms of strategy is also another common bugbear.

 

6. RSM

Exterior shot of RSM building Dayton Business Journal

Global revenue (2017): $5.1 billion (£3.9 billion)

Total employees (2017): 43,000

Internships? Yes

Apprenticeships? Yes

Graduate programmes? Yes

Founded in 1964, RSM receives a notably higher endorsement of its internal company culture than several others on this list, with many employees commending the favourable work-life balance and the competitive rates of pay.

Its smaller size can also work against it from a professional growth viewpoint, though. Several workers point out that the calibre of clients is not comparable with the Big Four firms, meaning that industry experience and development is stunted as a result.

 

5. Binder Dijker Otte (BDO)

Sign of BDO logo on top of building Dafinchi / Shutterstock.com

Global revenue (2017): $8.1 billion (£6.2 billion)

Total employees (2017): 74,000

Internships? Yes

Apprenticeships? Yes

Graduate programmes? Yes

Also founded in 1964, BDO is arguably the biggest of the chasing pack in the CPA hierarchy, although the significant drop in revenues doesn’t mean the clients are any less interesting (many employees actually make reference to the learning opportunities that this creates). Alternatively, if it’s the little things that keep you happy, reports of free lunches and Starbucks coffees are among some of the more enticing perks on offer.

On the downside, poor management can be an issue, according to some employees, while the general refusal to embrace new technologies also means that there is a lack of innovation within the firm.

 

4. KPMG

Exterior shot of KPMG building BalkansCat / Shutterstock.com

Global revenue (2017): $26.4 billion (£20.1 billion)

Total employees (2016): 190,000

Internships? Yes

Apprenticeships? Yes

Graduate programmes? Yes

Having gone through a series of mergers dating all the way back to 1818, Dutch accounting giant KPMG has an established reputation in traditional audit and consulting. From an employee’s point of view, this means strong career and development opportunities, notable company benefits and a highly encouraged open-door policy.

Unsurprisingly, though, the downside is again the hours, with several current and former employees even claiming that their marriages and families have suffered directly as a result of the demands put upon them.

 


 

3. Ernst & Young (EY)

Exterior shot of EY building in Warsaw, Poland Mateusz_Szymanski / Shutterstock.com

Global revenue (2018): $34.8 billion (£26.5 billion)

Total employees (2018): 260,000

Internships? Yes

Apprenticeships? Yes

Graduate programmes? Yes

Formed as a merger of two firms dating back to 1849, EY is another major name in the accounting world and one favoured by employees who feel that their development and growth is taken seriously. The company is also not afraid to bestow workers with high amounts of responsibility early in their careers, either, making EY a suitable environment for those keen to develop their leadership skills.

As with all the Big Four firms, the amount of hours are again a common complaint, although EY also faces additional accusations of being understaffed, as well as adopting unfair performance measuring techniques.

 

2. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)

Exterior shot of PwC building in Warsaw, Poland Roman Babakin / Shutterstock.com

Global revenue (2017): $37.7 billion (£28.7 billion)

Total employees (2017): 236,000

Internships? Yes

Apprenticeships? Yes

Graduate programmes? Yes

Formed in 1998 as a merger between Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand, the modern PwC is keen to emphasise its commitment to both social responsibility and cutting-edge technology – a point demonstrated by its partnerships with the likes of Google, Microsoft and Salesforce. As a result, when it comes to working in an innovative, tech-driven environment, PwC is often cited as a market leader.

There’s also a wide range of top clients and interesting projects to embrace, as well as impressive flexibility when it comes to working from home. On the flipside, the long hours and lack of work-life balance are a constant source of employee frustration.

 

1. Deloitte

Exterior shot of Deloitte headquarters in Western Australia Rob Bayer / Shutterstock.com

Global revenue (2018): $43.2 billion (£32.9 billion)

Total employees (2018): 286,000

Internships? Yes

Apprenticeships? Yes

Graduate programmes? Yes

Adjudged to be the largest professional services firm in the world (both in terms of revenue and number of employees), Deloitte – founded way back in 1845 – is consistently praised in numerous employee surveys for its focus on professional development and career growth.

This investment in training is warmly received by workers, although there is room for improvement, too. Aside from the long hours, both the appraisal system and the overall promotion process as a whole are deemed ineffective, while there are also accusations of a lack of job security.

 

 

Overall, finding out where you’re happy depends entirely upon you. For instance, many accountants prefer to work for smaller, local practices where the workload is less demanding. But if you want to work regularly with industry leaders, as well as embrace all the perks mentioned above associated with large and mid-tier firms, then accounting practices don’t come much more prestigious or satisfying than the ones on this list.

Do you agree with this list? Did we miss anybody out? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

 

All revenue and employment figures (and company formation dates) taken from individual company websites. Currency conversions are based on rates supplied by XE.com on 27 September 2018.

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