Number of employees of the leading accounting firms in the U.S. 2019

Unsurprisingly the Big Four accounting firms – Deloitte, PwC, EY and KPMG – maintained the largest workforces of the accounting firms in the U.S in 2019, ranging from Deloitte with 106,918 staff to KPMG with their workforce of 38,043. Outside of the Big Four there is a significant drop to the next-largest U.S. accounting firm, RSM, who employed 10,882 U.S. staff.

Accounting firm structure

Most accounting firms divide their employees into partners, professional staff and administrative staff. Partners sit atop the hierarchy, and can be either equity partners or salaried partners. Equity partners do not receive a fixed salary, instead owning part of the business. This entitles them to a proportion of the distributable profits. Conversely, salaried partners receive a fixed remuneration like other employees, but are often entitled to bonuses based on the firm’s profitability. Next in the hierarchy are professional staff, who are qualified to provide the specific services offered by the firm (for example, accountancy services or taxation advice). Finally there are administrative staff, who provide support to professional staff and partners. Generally the majority of employees are professional staff, for example comprising almost 80 percent of the workforce at Deloitte.

The Big Four versus the rest

The distance between the Big Four accounting firms and the others is also reflected in revenue figures , where the gap is even greater than for employee numbers. However, this gap can sometimes mask the size and success of the smaller accountancy firms. RSM reported global revenue of over five billion U.S. dollars for the last two years, and have grown consistently for each of the last five years. Similarly, BDO reported global revenue of nine billion U.S. dollars in 2018 following a period of consistent growth.

Number of employees of the leading accounting firms in the United States in 2019

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Release date

February 2020


United States

Survey time period


Supplementary notes

* Ranking is based on the leading 25 accounting firms in the United States in the terms of U.S. revenue.
** PwC reports for all of North America.
*** Total personnel includes professionals in Grant Thornton’s Shared Services Center in Bangalore, India.

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