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Discussing the Different Types of Certified Public Accounting Firms

Written by AnonymousSeptember 20, 2011
 Public Accounting Firms

Certified Public Accounting (CPA) firms may be classified as small local firms, medium sized regional firms, or large firms, depending on factors such as the number of employees, number of offices, and total revenue.

Four large multinational CPA firms are known as the Big Four. This group audits the majority of companies represented in the Fortune 1000. The Big Four firms, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Ernst & Young, KPMG, and PricewaterhouseCoopers, have instant name recognition among accounting professionals.

Many reasons exist why a CPA would want to work at a Big Four firm. Advantages include a higher salary, more prestige, a vast network of diverse clients, and the opportunity for valuable professional experience. Still, some employees find the frequent travel, long hours, and impersonal workplace atmosphere to be undesirable and may opt for smaller firms. 

Slightly smaller than the Big Four, medium sized regional firms will have offices in more than one state and, while they don’t generate the same instant name recognition as a Big Four firm, they tend to be well known within the region they serve. Services and clientele vary from firm to firm.

Local small firms consist of a single office or a few offices typically in neighboring areas, and generally handle small businesses in a limited region. These smaller firms may lack the prestige and recognition of their larger counterparts, but many employees cite greater independence, a more flexible work schedule, and less emphasis on travel to be the considerable advantages of working for a local firm.