Ernst & Young, one of the Big Four accounting firms, and Plante & Moran, a regional firm with headquarters in Southfield, Michigan were the highest-ranked accounting firms in Fortune Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list which appears in the January 22nd issue of the magazine and at Fortune.com. Ernst & Young ranked 25th followed closely by Plante & Moran at 32. The other three Big Four firms also made the list with PricewaterhouseCoopers ranked No. 58, Deloitte & Touche No 78 and KPMG No. 96.
"The 100 Best Companies to Work For" list is compiled for Fortune by Robert Levering and Milton Moskowitz of the Great Place to Work Institute in San Francisco, based on two criteria: an evaluation of the policies and culture of each company, and the opinions of the company's employees. Two-thirds of the total score comes from employee responses to a 57-question survey. Companies that are at least seven years old and have 1,000 or more employees are eligible for the list.
Ernst & Young (E&Y), the only Big Four firm that has consistently been on the list was cited by Fortune this year for creating an Office of Partner and Principal Matters to cater to its most senior staff, because partners and principals had felt neglected by the People First culture put in place in the late 1990’s, Fortune.com said
Plante & Moran, like E&Y, has appeared on the list for the past nine years. Fortune.com said Plante & Moran’s “extraordinary employee-centric culture goes back more than 50 years. The result? Turnover, at 11 percent is one of the lowest in the accounting field.” Fortune also cited Plante & Moran’s leading percentage of women partners at 19 percent. With more than 1,500 staff, Plante & Moran has offices in Michigan, Ohio and Illinois, in Nashville Tennessee and Shanghai, China.
“Companies learn from this list,” says Moskowitz, according to Marketwatch.com. “If you look at, for example, the benefits and programs at the accounting companies, you’ll see they’re very similar. If one’s going to give six weeks of fully paid paternity leave, pretty soon you’ll see all of them are doing that.” That’s just what happened with the firms on the list, he said.
Another trend highlighted by Moskowitz in the Marketwatch report, who again referred to accounting firms, was the effort to offer flexible work schedules. “We have five accounting firms on the list,” he said. “And now you can find a pretty good percentage of even the partners who are working a flexible work schedule. That never happened before in that industry.”
Jim Freer, Americas Vice Chair of People at E&Y said in a company statement, "We continue to be honored by our inclusion on this prestigious list. Over the last several years, we have focused on embedding our People First culture into everything we do so that every person understands the firm's commitment to our shared values. We want our people to share a sense of purpose toward developing the people, companies, and communities of tomorrow."
Plante & Moran focused on the needs of women in the workplace long before it became fashionable said the firm’s Managing Partner, Bill Hermann. The firm’s Personal Tightrope Action Committee, which now focuses on work-life balance for all staff and celebrates its 26th anniversary this year, was initially created to address the needs of working parents.
“We are exceeding pleased with our staff and their commitment to the Golden Rule which is the foundation for our winning culture,” Hermann said. “Treating people well is part of our DNA. People perform better when they enjoy their environment and trust their colleagues.”
Deloitte & Touche’s chief people officer, Paul T. Parker, said he was “extremely proud to have this recognition because it is a reflection of how our people experience life at Deloitte and tells us that we’re focusing on the areas that are important to them.”
PricewaterhouseCoopers was considered a great place to work according to Fortune.com because “the Big Four accounting firm quickly came to the aid of 43 employees impacted by Hurricane Katrina. It wired $4,000 to employees' accounts and provided food, lodging, and transportation for three months.” KPMG was cited for more than doubling matching contributions to its 401(k) plan and giving first-ever bonuses to administrative staff.
Google was ranked No. 1 on the list this year, the first year it has participated in the survey, followed by Genentech, which led the list last year.