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The Big Four: Who's Winning the Accounting Race?

Posted by Rick Yvanovich on

Breaking into the partnership ranks is a tougher proposition. “Partners form an elite class within these large partnerships, and only one in about 20 people belongs to this exclusive club,” observes.
It estimates that the Big Four firms had 35,000 partners in 2011 atop the base of a pyramid comprised of 493,000 professionals. This means one partner was responsible for 14 professionals last year, a heavier workload than the 1:11 ratio in 2004.
The Big Four: Who's Winning the Accounting Race?
The revenue-per-partner bar has also become higher. In 2004, the typical partner was expected to bring in and manage US$2.1 million in revenues. This metric has been creeping up in subsequent years. In 2011, revenue-per-partner was US$3 million.
“Clearly,” says the report, “making partner is only the beginning of a series of demanding client development and professional responsibilities.”

What’s in Store in 2012

The unsettled problems of Europe notwithstanding, believes 2012 will be another good year. “The firms have demonstrated tremendous global breadth and depth to benefit from any growth or even changes in their client base,” the report asserts.
The “solid factors” that will drive growth include:
  •  Improving global confidence and business growth
  •  Higher penetration into emerging markets, particularly Asia
  •  Selective Big Four acquisitions in 2011 to enhance consulting expertise, which should start to pay off in 2012 and beyond
  •  Increasing financial sophistication in Brazil, Chile, East and South Africa and the Middle East, creating demand for Big Four audit, tax and advisory services
  •  Impetus to cross-border M&A from low interest rates, improving equity markets, strong Japanese yen and a weakening euro
  •  Acceleration in adoption of IFRS standards across the world in 2012 and beyond, necessitating external assistance from Big Four auditors

Source: CFOInnovation                                                                   Author: Cesar Bacani

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 Rick Yvanovich
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