What's the difference between the Big Four firms?

Katie Morley explains what distinguishes these global giants

The Gateway gives you our profiles of the Big Four - to help you decide where to put your eggs.


Company type: Privately held, limited by guarantee

Global headquarters: New York, USA

Employees: 170,000

Revenue: $26 billion

The biggest of the Big Four in terms of manpower, Deloitte's four-pronged service range includes audit, consulting, financial advisory and tax. It is actually a collectionof various firms under the Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu brand. Each firm under the Deloitte umbrella shares a common goal - to provide services of the same high quality to all their clients. They've also emerged pretty well out of the recession, and are at the spearhead of the Big Four in terms of growth.

Big Four insiders say: �They're up and coming in terms of size and prestige, but they're the geeks of the Big Four. They have a reputation for working their employees hard."

Fun fact: They're a healthy bunch at Deloitte London, with a discounted onsite gym, �well-being area" and fruit on sale for just 10p all around the building!


Company type: Limited Liability Partnership

Global headquarters: London, UK

Employees: 161,000

Revenue: $26.6 billion

PwC was formed in 1998 as a result of the merger of Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand. The brand has firms in 150 countries and services clients across a wide span of industries including aerospace and defence, banks, media, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. The firm has become increasingly focused on environmental sustainability in recent times, and makes particular efforts with corporate social responsibility.

Big Four insiders say: �PwC is the machine of the Big Four - think the Terminator. It makes more money than the others and is seen as the most posh, but the downside of joining them is that you don't have as much free time if you work there as you might elsewhere."

Fun fact: PwC accountants perform an annual pantomime each winter. This year's show was Pinocchio, put on at the West End's Peacock Theatre.


Company type: Swiss Cooperative

Global headquarters: Amstelveen, Netherlands

Employees: 138,000

Revenue: $20.6 billion

KPMG is an accountancy and auditing firm with a presence in 140 countries. Their clientele come from a variety of industries and also government, public sector agencies and non-profit organisations. KPMG stands for the names of its founding partners Klynveld, Peat, Marwick and Goerdeler.

Big Four insiders say: �It's probably the friendliest firm as it always beats the others in �Best places to work"� surveys and has a �work hard, play hard"� mentality. They also give you a lunch allowance every day which is pretty cool."

Fun fact: We're still waiting to hear back from the press office...

Ernst & Young

Company type: Limited Liability Partnership

Global headquarters: London, UK

Employees: 144,000

Revenue: $21.3 billion

Ernst & Young is a UK limited company whose departments include Assurance and Advisory Business Services, Tax Services and Transaction Advisory Services. Its clients come from a broad range of industries including energy, technology, retail, telecoms and aviation.

Big Four insiders say: �EY are the baby of the Big Four, but their employees probably have much more of a life than those at the others. If I had to have a drinking session with a random employee from any of the Big Four, I'd choose one from EY."

Fun fact: They have composting bins in their kitchens. (Woo hoo!)