Published: Apr 18, 2022
Today, we're excited to release our 2023 Vault Accounting 25, ranking of the best accounting firms to work for. The ranking is based on a survey of more than 9,700 accounting professionals, who were asked to rate their firms in several workplace categories, including benefits, compensation, culture, diversity, hours, satisfaction, training, wellness offerings, work/life balance, and more. They were also asked to rate firms other than their own in terms of prestige. The Accounting 25 is compiled using a weighted formula based on these internal and external rankings.
Here are the top 10 firms in the Vault Accounting 25 based on our annual Accounting Survey:
4. BDO USA
5. Plante Moran
6. Moss Adams
7. Baker Tilly
8. RSM US
10. CBIZ MHM
No. 1 PwC Is “the Gold Standard”
This year, PwC again ranks No. 1 in both the Accounting 25 and our Prestige Rankings. Accountants at peer firms tell us that PwC is “the gold standard,” “elite,” “the best and most prestigious firm in the world by far,” and “built to continue leading into the future.” They say it’s a “good place to start a career,” has “strong technical and training programs,” and its “compensation it great.”
Also, PwC again ranks No. 1 in all three Practice Area Rankings (Audit & Assurance, Tax, and Forensic Accounting). In addition, it ranks No. 2 in Formal Training, No. 2 in Informal Training, No. 2 in LGBTQ+ Diversity, and No. 3 in Overall Diversity. PwC insiders who took our survey tell us that they very much appreciate the firm’s “great culture” and working alongside “amazing, friendly people.” They also rave about the “flexibility and ability to work remotely,” and “endless growth and learning opportunities.”
No. 2 Deloitte Is “Aggressive” and the “Top Global Firm”
Accountants at peer firms tell us that Deloitte—which ranks No. 2 in the Accounting 25, No. 2 in Prestige, and No. 2 in all three Practice Areas—is “the best of the Big 4,” “aggressive,” “high quality,” “the leader in the industry,” and “the top global firm.” Meanwhile, Deloitte staff members rave about the firm’s “great leadership, culture, and people,” as well as the “limitless growth, development, and learning opportunities.” Deloitte insiders also very much appreciate the “flexible work options” and “ability to work remotely.”
No. 3 KPMG Is “Professional and Reputable”
KPMG again ranks No. 3 in the Accounting 25 and No. 4 in Prestige. This year, peer accountants tell us that it’s “very prestigious” and a “great firm” with a “friendly culture.” KPMG insiders rave about the “best and brightest colleagues,” “world-class clients,” “flexibility of hours,” and “endless development opportunities.”
No. 5 Plante Moran, Which “Stresses Taking Vacation,” Ranks # 1 for Work/Life Balance
One of the big winners in our Quality of Life Rankings this year is Michigan-based Plante Moran, which ranks No. 5 in the Vault Accounting 25, and No. in Informal Training, Vacation Policies, and Work/Life Balance. According to one Plante Moran insider, “The firm stresses taking vacation and bringing the whole person to work. Although there are times when we have to work more than we like, Plante Moran focuses on looking at the overall big picture to ensure your quality of life and work/life balance is in balance.” Another staff member says, “The firm has a culture of encouraging you to take breaks, especially during busy season, and understands that flexibility may be needed to ensure a work/life balance.”
No. 12 Schellman Is Best for Quality of Life and Diversity
For the second year in a row, Florida-based Schellman, which ranks No. 12 in the Accounting 25, is the big winner in our Quality of Life Ranking. This year, following an impressive showing in our rankings last year, Schellman ranks No. 1 in 13 Quality of Life categories: Benefits, Business Outlook, Client Interaction, Compensation, Culture, ESG Initiatives, Formal Training, Hiring Process, Hours, Internal Mobility, Overall Satisfaction, Relationships with Managers, and Promotion Policies. Schellman also sweeps our Diversity Rankings, taking the No. 1 spot in Overall Diversity, Diversity for Women, Racial & Ethnic Diversity, and LGBTQ+ Diversity.
Schellman insiders tell us that the firm has “great, caring culture,” and they rave about “working with great colleagues and great clients.” In addition, the “compensation and benefits package are great,” and there are “several strong women on the leadership team”—“the firm is led by female executives that serve as mentors for many employees.”
Accountants Comment on Their Firms’ Responses to the Great Resignation
In another year of unprecedented change, numerous accounting professionals told us about the effects the Great Resignation is having on their hours, work/life balance, wellness, and overall satisfaction. Many accounting professionals tell us they feel overworked due to staff shortages and underpaid for the extra work they’re taking on, and don’t think their firms will be able to sustain the pace they’re on if hiring doesn’t increase.
Below are three representative quotes on this issue by three professionals who took our survey:
“Employee turnover is increasing, and we’re unable to quickly replace senior associates and managers. This is causing longer hours and greater stress for those still here to service all this new work in addition to our recurring work.”
-Big 4 accountant
“Business is great. There’s more work than we have staff to complete it. The opportunities for new clients are abundant, and new work is fairly easy to get. However, the downside is our team is being pushed to squeeze work in. This can create a stressful environment.”
-Top middle-market firm accountant
“The firm continues to grow at a rapid pace, which is great in that it presents new opportunities for all. The downside is we’re not staffed appropriately, which means a tremendous number of hours are required from the existing team and people are doing work at levels beneath them to ensure it gets done timely. This isn’t a sustainable model and leads to burnout.”
-Leading national firm accountant
All of our new accounting firm profiles include direct quotes like these from professionals about how their satisfaction with their roles have changed, about their firms’ responses to the mass resignations in the public accounting industry, and more.
Vault Accounting Quality of Life and Diversity Rankings Winners
Business Outlook: Schellman
Client Interaction: Schellman
Diversity (Overall): Schellman
Diversity (Racial & Ethnic): Schellman
Diversity (Women): Schellman
Diversity (LGBTQ+): Schellman
ESG Initiatives: Schellman
Firm Leadership: Schellman
Formal Training: Schellman
Hiring Process: Schellman
Informal Training: Plante Moran
Internal Mobility: Schellman
Promotion Policies: Schellman
Relationships with Supervisors: Schellman
Vacation Policies: Plante Moran
Work/Life Balance: Plante Moran
Vault Accounting Practice Area Rankings Winners
Audit & Assurance Accounting: PwC
Tax Accounting: PwC
Forensic Accounting: PwC
When you tell compelling stories in interviews, you create connections with your interviewers in ways that just listing your accomplishments (no matter how extraordinary) can never do. Stories connect people to each other because our brains love to follow stories.
Increasing diversity for women and implementing benefits that help women build their careers has been a focus of the accounting industry for many years. Top accounting firms have long been leaders when it comes to generous maternity leave policies, flexible schedule policies, and work-from-home options.
For those who are invested in such things, be they prospective students assessing which school to attend or alumni wondering how the prestige of their alma mater is faring, the new US News law rankings released on March 28. There was one extremely significant event in the ranking shifts this year, as some predicted given the changes in US News' methodology over last year.
You’ve just received word that your job is going to switch to the fully remote paradigm. That means no more travel expenses or traffic, no more rushing frenetically from place to place, and no more of the crushing outfit dilemma you’ve faced with each new day.
On Friday, May 20, 2022, Vault Law will host an OCI Readiness Summit for law students looking to prepare for and find summer and other associate positions through OCI. You can register for this free informational summit here, and learn more about it below.