Top 10 Accounting Firms & The Job Search

Top 10 Accounting Firms & The Job Search

When deciding on a career in Finance, there are two routes that accountants can take.  One is to find a position with an accountancy practice after University, or the second is to find a role straight in Industry.

Finding a role within practice is both highly competitive and very sought after, as you get broad exposure to many different industries and business sizes.  A move into Commerce & Industry on the other hand can mean you are tied to one or two employers which can be prohibitive further down the line.

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For anyone choosing the practice route, not only will you get all the technical finance knowledge you require, but you will also get free study support and receive one-to-one mentoring.  If you read my posts a few weeks ago about the different qualifications available in practice besides ACA, you can see why this is such a popular route for many would-be accountants.  Once qualified, and no doubt to the frustration of many accounting firms, many people then decide to move into industry / commerce to further their careers.

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Whether you are working in the profession and looking to move employers, or keen to start your career in practice, this post is for anyone who wants to know more about what the Top 10 firms have to offer.  Ranked by Fee Income, I have listed below the 10 largest Accountancy firms in the UK.  There are also details on partner numbers, offices, revenue figures and a direct link to their career portals so you can browse through the different jobs available.  Hopefully, this will give you a good starting point to do further research yourself if you want to either move roles within the profession, or are keen to make accounting your career.

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Top 10 UK Accountancy Firms (ranked by Fee income)

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PricewaterhouseCoopers has 858 UK partners (the largest number of all UK practices) with fee income in 2010 of £2,248m.  With a large number of job opportunities available across all specialisations, they have their own career site which lists all open roles.  Currently they have over 320 job vacancies in the UK from graduate to senior management level

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Deloitte has 681 UK partners, with fee income just short of £2b (£1,969m) in 2010.  Like with PWC, there are a large number of job vacancies available through their online job portal, supported by a large internal recruitment team.  As varied as those with PWC, they are currently looking to fill over 500 finance posts.

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KPMG has 569 UK Partners with a total fee income of £1,630m for 2010.  You can visit the career section of their website here, and they are currently looking for nearly 300 accountants in a range of roles from school leaver/graduate roles to experienced professionals across their UK offices.

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Ernst & Young have 515 UK partners with UK fee income last year of £1,383m.  Like with the rest of the Top 4 practices they have a large online job presence, and all current vacancies are listed on their job portal.  They are currently looking to fill nearly 600 accounting and finance roles across their UK offices

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Grant Thornton with 225 partners here in the UK managed fee income of £381m in 2010, a mere £1billion less than the Top 4, but ranked at number 5 it is the leading 2nd tier provider.  For all open jobs across their 27 UK Offices, you can visit the career pages of their website where they are advertising for over 60 roles.

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BDO Stoy Hayward saw a 5% decline in fee income for 2010 compared to the previous year, but ranked at No 6 now in the UK it was still a healthy £335m.  With 201 partners, they have 13 offices across the UK and all their current jobs can be found by visiting their career pages here

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RSM Tenon Group saw a near 50% rise in fee income for 2010 helping it secure 7th place in the rankings from 9th place the previous year.  With fee income of £225m, it has a range of job opportunities all across the UK,and you can browse all 60+ of them online

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Baker Tilly had a 7% decline in fee income for 2010, but at £190m it still made it within the Top10.  With 117 partners, it has the highest fees per partner of those firms outside the Top 4.  For anyone interested in joining Baker Tilly, you can find a list of their current job vacancies here

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Smith & Williamson has slipped from No 8 in the last twelve months, but with a business bringing in £175m fee income for 2010 they are still a prominent force within the profession.  With 10 offices across the UK they have a range of current job opportunities from Graduate to Corporate Finance Manager.

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PKF (UK) maintains its 10th position as it did last year, and managed to secure £140m fee income for 2010.  With just 94 UK partners, fees per partner were a healthy £1.49m and they have an online job portal for anyone interested in working across their 23 offices

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Best wishes

Leslie Fearn

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Leslie has over 15 years Recruitment experience helping blue-chip corporates to SME businesses recruit for their Finance teams.  As one of the founding Directors of McGinnis Loy, a Specialist HR and Finance Recruiter across the Thames Valley and London, he is still actively recruiting in the marketplace today.  Follow his helpful tweets on Twitter: @McGinnisLoy

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