Mix of Old and New Comprise 2014 Vault Accounting 50

By Jason Bramwell

Vault.com released on April 15 its 2014 Vault Accounting 50, a ranking of the fifty best accounting firms to work for in North America. While the Big Four firms were well represented at the top of the rankings for the second straight year, two firms that were not in the top ten in Vault's 2013 ratings – BDO USA LLP and McGladrey LLP – were listed fifth and seventh, respectively, for 2014.
 
"Our ability to care for clients' needs begins with our ability to care for our employees' needs," Katie Lamkin, national human resources leader for McGladrey, says in a written statement. "We understand the importance of providing employees with a workplace where they want to build their careers. We are pleased that the 2014 Vault Accounting 50 survey results verify that our efforts are helping our employees provide clients with the exceptional service they need to achieve success."
 
Also, seven firms – including Burr Pilger Mayer Inc., Cohen & Co., and Hein & Associates – that were not rated in the 2013 Vault Accounting 50 cracked the top fifty in 2014. 
 

Vault Top 50 Accounting Firms

Vault.com released its 2014 Vault Accounting 50, a ranking of the top accounting employers to work for in North America based on insider ratings of their employers and competitors. The Vault Accounting 50 takes into account quality of life categories, such as work/life balance, culture, training, and compensation, along with industry prestige.

The following is a listing of the Vault Accounting 50 for 2014. The number in parenthesis is the firm's ranking in 2013; the number following the firms' headquarters location is its score for 2014:
  1. (4) PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, New York, NY, 8.281
  2. (3) Deloitte LLP, New York, NY, 7.794
  3. (2) Grant Thornton LLP, Chicago, IL, 7.681
  4. (1) Ernst & Young LLP, New York, NY, 7.219
  5. (29) BDO USA LLP, Chicago, IL, 6.903
  6. (5) KPMG LLP, New York, NY, 6.899
  7. (28) McGladrey LLP, Chicago, IL, 6.836
  8. (9) Rothstein Kass, Roseland, NJ, 6.826
  9. (7) Moss Adams LLP, Seattle, WA, 6.708
  10. (6) Plante Moran, Southfield, MI, 6.645
  11. (8) Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP, Chicago, IL, 6.496
  12. (14) Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP, Charlotte, NC, 6.398
  13. (13) WithumSmith+Brown PC, Princeton, NJ, 6.190
  14. (12) Friedman LLP, New York, NY, 6.178
  15. (10) Eide Bailly LLP, Fargo, ND, 6.107
  16. (17) Berdon LLP, New York, NY, 5.999
  17. (16) Armanino LLP, San Ramon, CA, 5.908
  18. (NR) Watkins Meegan LLC, Bethesda, MD, 5.864
  19. (44) Holtz Rubenstein Reminick LLP, Melville, NY, 5.823
  20. (20) Frank, Rimerman + Co. LLP, Palo Alto, CA, 5.817
  21. (15) Elliott Davis LLC, Greenville, SC, 5.810
  22. (18) SS&G Inc., Cleveland, OH, 5.779
  23. (19) Schenck SC, Appleton, WI, 5.753
  24. (26) ParenteBeard LLC, Philadelphia, PA, 691
  25. (27) Rehmann, Saginaw, MI, 5.552
  26. (NR) Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra (MBAF), Miami, FL, 5.328
  27. (31) Crowe Horwath LLP, Oak Brook, IL, 1.715
  28. (32) CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, Milwaukee, WI, 1.501
  29. (34) EisnerAmper LLP, New York, NY, 1.424
  30. (33) BKD LLP, Springfield, MO, 1.409
  31. (11) Reznick Group PC, Bethesda, MD, 1.386
  32. (22) CBIZ & Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C., Cleveland, OH, 1.324
  33. (24) Cherry Bekaert LLP, Richmond, VA, 1.254
  34. (21) Marcum LLP, New York, NY, 1.216
  35. (35) Wipfli LLP, Milwaukee, WI, 1.212
  36. (38) UHY Advisors Inc., Chicago, IL, 1.201
  37. (NR) Cohen & Co., Cleveland, OH, 1.149
  38. (36) WeiserMazars, New York, NY, 1.109
  39. (37) Anchin, Block & Anchin LLP, New York, NY, 1.082
  40. (NR) The Siegfried Group LLP, A Coruña, Spain, 1.064
  41. (25) Marks Paneth & Shron LLP, New York, NY, 1.021
  42. (41) Citrin Cooperman & Co. LLP, New York, NY, 1.018
  43. (39) Novogradac & Co. LLP, San Francisco, CA, 1.006
  44. (42) Blum Shapiro & Co. PC, West Hartland, CT, 1.001
  45. (NR) Burr Pilger Mayer Inc., San Francisco, CA, .994
  46. (40) RubinBrown, St. Louis, MO, .993
  47. (NR) Hein & Associates, Denver, CO, .972
  48. (46) Kaufman, Rossin & Co., Miami, FL, .964
  49. (49) Weaver LLP, Fort Worth, TX, .957
  50. (NR) Schneider Downs & Co. Inc., Pittsburgh, PA, .956
 
Curtis Burr, CEO of Burr Pilger Mayer in San Francisco, told AccountingWEB that he was unaware that Vault ranked his firm forty-fifth for 2014.
 
"The Bay Area has changed remarkably; we're competing with firms that weren't here five years ago," he adds. "So the area is much more competitive, and we've done a very good job of being a sustainable, competitive firm during that time."
 
Randy Myeroff, CEO of Cleveland-based Cohen & Co., which was ranked thirty-seventh, says his firm has worked very hard in recent years to attract talent and clients. 
 
"We have great clients because of the great people who work here," Myeroff told AccountingWEB. "We compete all day long; it's our culture. But we never lose focus on what's important in life – families, employees, and relationships. Things are really good for us right now, and we're thrilled to be listed in the Vault Accounting 50. It's fantastic."
 
Denver-based Hein & Associates, which was ranked forty-seventh, has created a culture that its employees can be proud of and have fun working in, according to Managing Partner Brian Mandell-Rice.
 
"We focus on great client service, open communication, the continuous growth of our people, and strong camaraderie. Overall, we think it's a pretty great place to be," he told AccountingWEB.
 
The rankings are a result of Vault's annual accounting survey, which was conducted earlier this year. The survey asked more than 7,900 accountants of all levels to assess their peer accounting firms on a scale of one to ten based on prestige. Survey respondents were unable to rate their own employers and were asked to rate only firms with which they were familiar.
 
Accountants were also asked to rate their own firm in various quality of life categories, such as:
  • Compensation
  • Diversity
  • Firm culture
  • Hours
  • Overall satisfaction
  • Training
  • Work/life balance
  • Benefits
  • Leadership
  • Green initiatives
  • Internal mobility
  • Philanthropy
"We are thrilled to be ranked among the most prestigious firms in the profession. This award demonstrated our commitment to provide outstanding career paths for our employees," Hang Bower, executive director of human resources at BDO USA, says in a written statement. "The Vault rankings are especially gratifying as [they use] employee surveys as a key component of the evaluation process."
 
Vault used a weighted formula that combined a firm's prestige and quality of life ratings, which created an overall "best-to-work-for" ranking.
 
For the first time, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) was ranked first in the 2014 Vault Accounting 50. The New Yorkbased Big Four firm was also ranked the most prestigious firm for the fifth straight year. 
 
"PwC has long been known as the most prestigious accounting firm to work for, but it has also been known as a grueling place to work," Derek Loosvelt, Vault's senior finance editor, says in a written statement. "However, in recent years, the firm has put a lot of effort toward improving the quality of life of its employees, and this year's rankings prove that PwC's workplace initiatives have been working. The firm significantly outranked its Big Four peers in a majority of Vault's quality of life categories – and even outranked many of its midsized competitors, which historically have been known as very congenial places to work."
 
The other Big Four firms – Deloitte LLP, Ernst & Young LLP, and KPMG LLP – were ranked second, fourth, and sixth, respectively.
 
First-place winners in the Vault accounting quality of life rankings include: 
  • Rothstein Kass – work/life balance, firm culture, overall satisfaction, benefits, internal mobility, hours, supervisor relationships, leadership, informal training, green initiatives
  • Berdon LLP  compensation, diversity for individuals with disabilities, diversity for minorities 
  • WithumSmith+Brown PC  promotion policy, philanthropy
  • Frank, Rimerman + Co. LLP  travel requirements, diversity for women 
  • Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP  client interaction, hiring process
  • PwC – business outlook, formal training, diversity for LGBT, diversity for veterans, overall diversity

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