Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers top 'best firms' lists

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Tags, a source of ratings, rankings, and insight for students and professionals, recently released lists of top accounting firms in various categories, including: best to work for, prestige, and quality of life.

The 2011 Vault Accounting 50 determines the best accounting firms to work for, and Deloitte took the top spot, followed by PricewaterhouseCoopers (pwc) and Rothstein Kass, respectively. Rounding out the top five were Marcum and Dixon Hughes.

“The battle between Deloitte and pwc was a fierce one: Deloitte handily beat pwc in the areas of overall satisfaction, hours, and compensation, but pwc edged out Deloitte in prestige, culture, and business outlook,” said Vault Finance Editor Derek Loosvelt.

“What ultimately made the difference between No. 1 and No. 2 was the margin by which Deloitte topped PricewaterhouseCoopers in the categories in which it bested its rival", Loosvelt said. "Deloitte scored more than one-half point higher than pwc in satisfaction, hours, and compensation; pwc's margins of victories in the categories it won were much smaller.”

View the entire Vault Accounting 50 Rankings for 2011.

For the second straight year, PricewaterhouseCoopers outdistanced its fellow Big Four competitors to take the top spot in's 2011 Accounting Prestige Rankings. Following pwc were Ernst & Young, Deloitte, and KPMG. Grant Thornton ranked fifth.

“For many years, pwc has had the reputation of the most selective firm when it comes to hiring recent graduates, maintaining a slightly more prestigious profile than its closest competitors Ernst & Young and Deloitte. As our survey results show, pwc still maintains this edge,” Loosvelt said.

According to accounting professionals at other firms, while pwc is “very demanding of employees,” the firm is considered “the big dog” in accounting, and the “best company of the Big Four in terms of benefits and employee morale.” Other survey respondents stated that firm is “well respected,” has a “favorable public perception,” and a “great culture,” offering “many opportunities” for its staff.

View the complete Accounting Prestige Rankings.

This year, Marcum LLP dominated the Accounting Quality of Life Rankings, taking the top spot in seven out of 15 categories, including hours, formal and informal training, office space, compensation, and overall business outlook, according to

“The result of a recent merger between two formidable accounting firms, Florida-based Rachlin and New York-headquartered Marcum & Kliegman, Marcum is now one of the 15 largest accounting firms in the U.S. Based in Long Island, N.Y., Marcum has become a strong presence on the East Coast,” Loosvelt said.

“It has also become a firm known for treating its employees well: it pays its employees at the top of end of the national scale, works but not overworks its staff, and maintains a family-like culture, despite having nearly 1,000 employees,” he added.

Following are the top-ranked firms in each Quality of Life category:

  • Overall satisfaction: Armanino McKenna
  • Firm culture: Kaufman, Rossin & Co.
  • Hours: Marcum
  • Manager Relations: Kaufman, Rossin & Co.
  • Formal Training: Marcum
  • Informal Training: Marcum
  • Office Space: Marcum
  • Compensation: Marcum
  • Selectivity: PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Green initiatives: Goodman & Company
  • Overall business outlook: Marcum
  • Overall diversity: Kaufman, Rossin & Co.; Women: Goodman & Company; Minorities: Marcum; GLBTs (gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender): Kaufman, Rossin & Co.

As part of Vault’s annual Accounting Survey, conducted earlier this year, more than 2,200 accounting professionals of all levels were asked to assess their peer accounting firms on a scale of 1 to 10 based on various categories, such as prestige and quality of life. Respondents were unable to rate their own firm, and were asked to only rate firms with which they were familiar.

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