Global Big Four Among Top 4 Accounting Firms In Hong Kong

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, usually referred to as Deloitte, is the largest professional services firm in the world by revenue and by the number of professionals. Deloitte provides audit, tax, consulting, enterprise risk and financial advisory services with more than 200,000 professionals in over 150 countries. In the fiscal year 2012 to 2013, it earned a record US$32.4 billion in revenues. Its global headquarters is located in New York City. It is one of the Big Four accounting firms, along with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Ernst & Young (EY) and KPMG.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, trading as PwC, is headquartered in London. It is the world’s second largest professional services firm measured by 2013 revenues.  PwC has offices in 776 cities across 159 countries and employs over 180,000 people. It had total revenues of US$31.5 billion in its 2012 fiscal year, of which $14.9 billion was generated by its Assurance practice, $7.9 billion by its Tax practice and $8.7 billion by its Advisory practice. The firm was formed in 1998 by a merger between Coopers & Lybrand and Price Waterhouse. The trading name was shortened to PwC in September 2010 as part of its major rebranding strategy.

Ernst & Young (known as EY), also headquartered in London, operates as a network of member firms which are separate legal entities in individual countries. It has 175,000 employees and more than 700 offices in over 150 countries. EY is ranked third of the Big Four, based on its 2013 revenues of US$25.8 billion. It provides assurance, financial audit, tax, consulting and advisory services to companies.

KPMG, the result of merger of Peat Marwick International and Klynveld Main Goerdeler in 1987, has its global headquarters in Amstelveen, the Netherlands. KPMG employs 152,000 people and has three lines of services: audit, tax, and advisory. Its advisory services are further divided into three service groups – Management Consulting, Risk Consulting, and Transactions & Restructuring.   Its 2013 global revenues are US$23.4 billion.

The Big Four in the world are still ranked top 4 locally in Hong Kong, at least in terms of staff strength. For the year 2013, PwC reduced its number of staff by 100 while Deloitte increased its staff by 200 to tie for the top spot at 2400 each. The momentum seems to be with PwC though, as it finished the year with a proposed merger with management consulting firm Booz & Co. to complement PwC’s advisory business. According to respective spokespersons, this merger will bring 275 Booz partners and more than 3000 professionals to the PwC network in 33 countries.

Ernst & Young is third in Hong Kong with 2100 professionals, up from 2000 in the previous year.

KPMG increased its recruitment effort to arrive at 2000 staff, up from 1700 the previous year, to place 4th in terms of staff size in Hong Kong.

BDO is still ranked fifth with 1000 employees, unchanged from the previous year.

Currently, the managing partners for PwC, Deloitte, EY and KPMG in Hong Kong are respectively Cassie Wong, Joseph Lo, Agnes Chan and Andrew Weir.

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