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Best Accounting Firms to Work For

The Vault 2014 Rankings

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Overview: The Vault Accounting 50 is a ranking based on surveys of employees and job seekers in the accounting field. Respondents rated firms on these seven dimensions or attributes (the percentage weights noted below are applied to derive the overall ranking, and reflect the importance that respondents ascribe to each):

  1. Prestige (40%)
  2. Firm culture (20%)
  3. Work-life balance (10%)
  4. Compensation (10%)
  5. Overall job satisfaction (10%)
  6. Business outlook (5%)
  7. Formal training programs (5%)

Top 10 Overall:

  1. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
  2. Deloitte LLP
  3. Grant Thornton LLP (Chicago, Illinois)
  4. Ernst & Young LLP
  5. BDO USA LLP (Chicago, Illinois)
  6. KPMG LLP
  7. McGladrey LLP (Chicago, Illinois)
  8. Rothstein Kass (Roseland, New Jersey)
  9. Moss Adams LLP (Seattle, Washington)
  10. Plante Moran (Southfield, Michigan)

In the 2013 survey, BDO and McGladrey ranked 29th and 28th, respectively. Such a dramatic move raises questions about the robustness and quality of the survey samples.

Top 10 in Prestige:

  1. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
  2. Ernst & Young LLP
  3. Deloitte LLP
  4. KPMG LLP
  5. Grant Thornton LLP
  6. McGladrey LLP
  7. BDO USA LLP
  8. Crowe Horwath LLP (Oak Brook, Illinois)
  9. Moss Adams LLP
  10. Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP (Chicago, Illinois)

Because prestige is weighted so highly in the overall rankings, it is no surprise that the former is closely mirrored by the prestige rankings.

Top 10 in Firm Culture:

  1. Rothstein Kass
  2. WithumSmith+Brown PC (Princeton, New Jersey)
  3. Plante Moran
  4. Eide Bailly LLP (Fargo, North Dakota)
  5. Grant Thornton LLP
  6. Watkins Meegan LLC (Bethesda, Maryland)
  7. Friedman LLP (New York, New York)
  8. Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP
  9. Moss Adams LLP
  10. Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP (Charlotte, North Carolina)

The Big Four Public Accounting Firms are notable for how poorly they place on this measure. PricewaterhouseCoopers is the highest rated of the group, in 17th place. Oddly, PwC did not receive enough responses on firm culture to make the 2013 rankings on this dimension.

Top 10 in Work-Life Balance:

  1. Rothstein Kass
  2. Friedman LLP
  3. WithumSmith+Brown PC
  4. Plante Moran
  5. Holtz Rubenstein Remininck LLP (Melville, New York)
  6. Grant Thornton LLP
  7. Schenck SC (Appleton, Wisconsin)
  8. Watkins Meegan LLC
  9. Moss Adams LLP
  10. Eide Bailly LLP

Once again, members of the Big Four make a poor showing, despite their recent efforts to trumpet a commitment to promoting work-life balance. PricewaterhouseCoopers again is the best of the group, at 19th place. And once again, somehow PwC did not receive enough responses to make the 2013 rankings on this measure, either.

Top 10 in Compensation:

  1. Berdon LLP (New York, New York)
  2. Armanino LLP (San Ramon, California)
  3. Watkins Meegan LLC
  4. Rothstein Kass
  5. WithumSmith+Brown PC
  6. Friedman LLP
  7. Schenck SC
  8. Grant Thornton LLP
  9. Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP
  10. Moss Adams LLP

Continuing the trends noted above, the only member of the Big Four to make the top 20 on this score is, yet again, PricewaterhouseCoopers at number 15. And, yet again, PwC failed to make the 2013 rankings.

Top 10 in Job Satisfaction:

  1. Rothstein Kass
  2. Friedman LLP
  3. WithumSmith+Brown PC
  4. Grant Thornton LLP
  5. Moss Adams LLP
  6. Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP
  7. Berdon LLP
  8. Plante Moran
  9. Eide Bailly LLP
  10. SS&G Inc. (Cleveland, Ohio)

Once more, the lone Big Four member in the top 20 is PricewaterhouseCoopers at number 17. Once more, PwC did not draw enough responses to appear in the 2013 rankings.

Top 10 in Business Outlook:

  1. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
  2. Moss Adams LLP
  3. Plante Moran
  4. Rothstein Kass
  5. WithumSmith+Brown PC
  6. Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP
  7. Frank Rimerman + Co. LLP (Palo Alto, California)
  8. Eide Bailly LLP
  9. Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP

At number 17, Deloitte is the only other Big Four firm in the top 20. It was not ranked on this dimension in the 2013 survey.

Top 10 in Formal Training:

  1. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
  2. Deloitte LLP
  3. Rothstein Kass
  4. Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP
  5. Frank Rimerman + Co. LLP
  6. WithumSmith+Brown PC
  7. Grant Thornton LLP
  8. Moss Adams LLP
  9. Plante Moran
  10. ParenteBeard LLC (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Dixon Hughes Goodman and Frank Rimerman actually are in a dead heat, with identical scores on this measure. Interestingly, despite the Big Four's reputation for employee training programs, neither KPMG nor Ernst & Young placed in the top 20.

Additional Criteria: Though they do not factor into the overall ratings, Vault.com also includes these evaluation criteria in its surveys:

  • Benefits
  • Client Interaction
  • Green Initiatives
  • Firm Leadership
  • Hiring Process
  • Hours
  • Informal Training
  • Internal Mobility
  • Philanthropy
  • Promotion Policy
  • Relations With Supervisors
  • Travel Requirements
Also measured is diversity along each of these dimensions:

  • Overall
  • For Women
  • For Minorities
  • LGBT
  • For People With Disabilities
  • For Military Veterans
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