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6/9/2021 Cuatro grandes firmas de contabilidad - Wikipedia

Cuatro grandes firmas de contabilidad

The Big Four es el apodo utilizado para referirse colectivamente a las cuatro redes de servicios profesionales más
grandes del mundo, que consisten en las redes de contabilidad globales Deloitte , Ernst & Young , KPMG y PwC . Las
cuatro redes a menudo se agrupan por varias razones; cada uno de ellos es comparable en tamaño en relación con el
resto del mercado, tanto en términos de ingresos como de mano de obra; se considera que cada uno de ellos tiene la
misma capacidad para proporcionar una amplia gama de servicios profesionales a sus clientes; y, entre aquellos que
buscan comenzar una carrera en servicios profesionales, particularmente contabilidad, se consideran redes
igualmente atractivas para trabajar, debido a la frecuencia con la que estas empresas se relacionan con empresas de
Fortune 500 .

Los Cuatro Grandes ofrecen servicios de auditoría , aseguramiento , impuestos , consultoría de gestión , actuarial ,
finanzas corporativas y legales a sus clientes. Una gran mayoría de las auditorías de empresas públicas , así como
muchas auditorías de empresas privadas , son realizadas por estas cuatro redes.

Hasta finales del siglo XX, el mercado de servicios profesionales estaba dominado por ocho redes que fueron
apodadas acertadamente como las "8 grandes". Los ocho grandes estaban formados por Arthur Andersen, Arthur
Young, Coopers & Lybrand, Deloitte Haskins y Sells, Ernst & Whinney, Peat Marwick Mitchell, Price Waterhouse y
Touche Ross.

The Big Eight se redujo gradualmente debido a las fusiones entre estas empresas, así como al colapso de Arthur
Andersen en 2002 , dejando cuatro redes dominando el mercado a principios del siglo XXI. En el Reino Unido en
2011, se informó que las Cuatro Grandes representan las auditorías del 99% de las empresas del índice FTSE 100 y del
96% de las empresas del índice FTSE 250 , un índice de las principales empresas de mediana capitalización. Listado de
empresas. [1] Un nivel tan alto de concentración de la industria ha causado preocupación y el deseo de algunos en la
comunidad inversora de la Autoridad de Competencia y Mercados.considerar romper los Cuatro Grandes. En octubre
de 2018, la CMA anunció que lanzaría un estudio detallado del dominio de los Cuatro Grandes en el sector de la
auditoría. En julio de 2020, el Consejo de Información Financiera del Reino Unido dijo a los Cuatro Grandes que
debían presentar planes antes de octubre de 2020 para separar sus operaciones de auditoría y consultoría para 2024.

Estructura legal

Ninguna de las "empresas" dentro de las Cuatro Grandes es en realidad una sola empresa; más bien, son redes de
servicios profesionales . Cada una es una red de firmas, de propiedad y administración independientes, que han
celebrado acuerdos con las otras firmas miembro de la red para compartir un nombre, marca, propiedad intelectual y
estándares de calidad comunes. Cada red ha establecido una entidad global para coordinar las actividades de la red.

Until 2020, KPMG,[3] was the only Big 4 firm not registered as a UK private company, but rather the co-ordinating
entity was a Swiss association (verein). However, KPMG International changed its legal structure from a verein to a co-
operative under Swiss law in 2003,[4] then to a UK limited company in 2020.[3] For Deloitte,[5]
PricewaterhouseCoopers[6] and Ernst & Young,[7] the co-ordinating entity is a UK limited company. Those entities do
not themselves perform external professional services, nor do they own or control the member firms. Nevertheless,
these networks colloquially are referred to as "firms" for the sake of simplicity and to reduce confusion with lay-
people. These accounting and professional services networks are similar in nature to how law firm networks in the
legal profession work.

In many cases, each member firm practices in a single country, and is structured to comply with the regulatory
environment in that country. 1/13
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Ernst & Young also includes separate legal entities which manage three of its four geographic areas: the Americas,
Asia-Pacific, and EMEIA (Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa) groups, the fourth area being Japan, which has no
larger co-ordination branch. These entities coordinate services performed by local firms within their respective areas,
but do not perform services or hold ownership in the local entities.[8] There are rare exceptions to this convention; in
2007, KPMG announced a merger of four internationally distinct member firms (in the United Kingdom, Germany,
Switzerland and Liechtenstein) to form a single firm, KPMG Europe LLP.[9]

History of mergers

Since the 1980s, numerous mergers and one major scandal involving Arthur Andersen, have reduced the number of
major professional-services firms from eight to four.

Big Eight

The firms were called the Big Eight for most of the 20th century, reflecting the international dominance of the eight
largest firms:

Arthur Andersen

Arthur Young

Coopers & Lybrand

Deloitte Haskins & Sells

Ernst & Whinney

Peat Marwick Mitchell

Price Waterhouse

Touche Ross

Most of the Big Eight originated in an alliance formed between British and US audit firms in the 19th or early 20th
centuries. The firms' initial international expansion were driven by the needs of British and American based
multinationals for worldwide service. They expanded by forming local partnerships, or by forming alliances with local
firms. Arthur Andersen was the exception: the firm originated in the United States, and then expanded internationally
by establishing its own offices in other markets, including the United Kingdom.

Price Waterhouse was a UK firm which opened a US office in 1890, and later established a separate US partnership.
The UK and US Peat Marwick Mitchell firms adopted a common name in 1925. Other firms used separate names for
domestic business, and did not adopt common names until much later. For instance, Touche Ross was named such in
1960, Arthur Young, McLelland, Moores & Co in 1968, Coopers & Lybrand in 1973, Deloitte Haskins & Sells in 1978
and Ernst & Whinney in 1979.[10] Even now, Deloitte's technical name is Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, which
reflects its history of mergers.[11]

In the 1980s the Big 8, each with global branding, adopted modern marketing and grew rapidly. They merged with
many smaller firms. KPMG was the result of one of the largest of these mergers. In 1987, Peat Marwick merged with
the Klynveld Main Goerdeler group to become KPMG Peat Marwick, later known simply as KPMG. Note that this was
not the result of a merger between any of the Big Eight.

Big Six 2/13
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Competition among these firms intensified, and the Big Eight became the Big Six in 1989. In that year, Ernst &
Whinney merged with Arthur Young to form Ernst & Young in June, and Deloitte, Haskins & Sells merged with Touche
Ross to form Deloitte & Touche in August.

The Big Six after both mergers occurred were:

Arthur Andersen

Coopers & Lybrand

Deloitte & Touche

Ernst & Young


Price Waterhouse

There has been some merging of ancestor firms, in some localities, which would aggregate brands belonging to the
Big Four today, but in different combinations than the present-day names would otherwise suggest. For example, the
United Kingdom local firm of Deloitte, Haskins & Sells merged instead with the United Kingdom firm of Coopers &
Lybrand. The resulting firm was called Coopers & Lybrand Deloitte, and the local firm of Touche Ross kept its original
name. It wasn't until the mid-1990s that both UK firms changed their names to match those of their respective
international organizations. Meanwhile, in Australia, the local firm of Touche Ross merged instead with KPMG.[12][13] It
is for these reasons that the Deloitte & Touche international organization was known as DRT International (later DTT
International), to avoid use of names which would have been ambiguous, as well as contested, in certain markets.

Big Five

The Big Six became the Big Five, in July 1998, when Price Waterhouse merged with Coopers & Lybrand to form

The Big Five at this point in time were:[14]

Arthur Andersen

Deloitte & Touche

Ernst & Young



Big Four

Finally, the insolvency of Arthur Andersen stemming from their involvement in the 2001 Enron Scandal, produced the
Big Four:

Deloitte & Touche

Ernst & Young



The Enron collapse and ensuing investigation prompted scrutiny of the company's financial reporting, which that year
was audited by Arthur Andersen. Arthur Andersen was eventually indicted for obstruction of justice for shredding 3/13
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documents related to the audit in the Enron scandal. The resulting conviction, although it was later overturned, still
effectively meant the end of Arthur Andersen, because the firm was not allowed to take on new clients while they
were under investigation. Most of its country practices around the world were sold to members of what is now the
Big Four – notably Ernst & Young (now known as EY) globally; Deloitte & Touche in the United Kingdom, Canada,
Spain, and Brazil; and PricewaterhouseCoopers (now known as PwC) in China and Hong Kong.

Big Five merger history charts

The Big 5 were all derived from a series of global mergers; Arthur Andersen stands out as the only Big 5 firm without
major acquisitions during its history.

The charts show year of formation through merger, or adoption of single brand name.

Arthur Andersen

Arthur Andersen (1913–2002)


Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu (1989)

(Deloitte & Touche until 1993)

Deloitte Haskins

Touche Ross (1975)

& Sells (1978)

Touche Ross (1960)

Deloitte & Co
Haskins & Sells
Tohmatsu & Co

(Touche, Ross, Bailey

(UK) (1845) (US) (1895) (Japan) (1968)

& Smart until 1969)

Touche, Niven, Bailey

Ross (Canada) George A. Touche (UK)

& Smart (US) (1947)

Touche Niven (1900) Bailey & Smart (1947)


Ernst & Young (EY) (1989)

(Ernst & Young until 2013)

Arthur Young (1985) Ernst & Whinney (EY) (1979)

Arthur Young, McLelland,
Arthur Young Broads
Ernst & Ernst
Whinney, Smith &

Stuart & Young (1894)

Moores & Co (1968) Paterson & Co (1923) (US) (1903) Whinney (UK) (1849) 4/13
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KPMG (1987)

(KPMG Peat Marwick

before 1995)

Peat Marwick (1925) (originally
KMG (1979) (officially
Armitage & No
Peat Marwick Mitchell) Klynveld Main Goerdeler) (1869–1987

Marwick Mitchell
Beevers & Adgie
Klynveld Kraayenhof
McLintock M
(US) (1897) (1875– (1849–1967) (Netherlands) (1917) Lafrentz (196

Thomson McLintock

(UK) (1877)

Martin Farlow


Grace, Darbyshire,

CJ Rylan
& Todd (1818)


PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) (1998)

(PricewaterhouseCoopers until 2010)

Coopers & Lybrand (1973) Price Waterhouse (US) (1849)

Cooper Brothers (UK) (1854) Lybrand, Ross Bros, Montgomery (US) (1898)

Revenue comparison 5/13
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Fiscal revenue Revenue

Audit &

Rank Firm year

Employees per Tax
Headquarters (US$) Assurance Advisory
ending to next employee (Note)


$47.6 bn
$9.9 bn
$29.2 bn

London, 2020- (
$ (

1st Deloitte (
$1.4 (N/A in (
22,772, (
$−0.3 (
$1.4 bn,
England, UK 05-31 −5,890, $0.4
bn, 3.0%) PY) 7.3%) bn, −2.9%) 5.0%)
−4.0%) bn,

−10% vs

$43.0 bn
$17.6 bn
$14.7 bn

London, 2020- (
$ (

2nd PwC (
$0.5 (−8% vs (
7,995, (
$0.2 (
$0.3 bn,
England, UK 06-30 −2,394, $0.0
bn, 1.3%) Deloitte 2.9%) bn, 1.1%) 2.1%)
−1.6%) bn,
in PY)

−13% vs

$37.2 bn
PwC 298,965
$12.8 bn
$14.6 bn

London, 2020- (
$ (

3rd EY (
$0.8 (−14% (
14,965, (
$0.2 (
$0.3 bn,
England, UK 06-30 −3,740, $0.3
bn, 2.2%) vs PwC 5.3%) bn, 1.6%) 2.1%)
−2.9%) bn,
in PY)

−22% vs
$29.2 bn

$11.1 bn
$11.7 bn

2020- (
$−0.6 (
$ (
4th KPMG Amstelveen, (−18% (
7,719, (
$−0.1 (
09-30 bn, −7,037, −0.1
Netherlands vs EY in 3.5%) bn, −0.9%) bn, −2.5%)
−1.8%) −5.2%) bn,

Note: Consulting & Advisory includes the following service lines reported by each firm. Further, columns may not
cross-add due to rounding in numbers reported by each firm.

Deloitte: Consulting, Financial Advisory, Risk Advisory (F2020 financial statement categories)

PwC: Advisory (F2020 financial statement categories)

EY: Advisory, Transaction Advisory Services (F2020 financial statement categories)

KPMG: Advisory (F2020 financial statement categories)

Big Four Accounting Firm Revenues (US$ bn) 6/13
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Revenue gap to largest firm (%)

Revenue gap to largest firm (US$ bn)

In 2010, Deloitte, with its 1.8% growth, was able to outpace PricewaterhouseCoopers' 1.5% growth, gaining "first
place" in revenue size, and became the largest firm in the professional services industry. In 2011, PwC re-gained first
place with 10% revenue growth. In 2013, these two firms claimed the top two spots with only a $200 million revenue 7/13
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difference, that is, within half a percent. However, Deloitte saw faster growth than PwC over the next few years
(largely due to acquisitions) and reclaimed the title of largest of the Big Four in Fiscal Year 2016.[19][20]

It was estimated that the Big Four had about a 67% share of the global accountancy market in 2012, while most of
the rest was divided among so called mid-tier players, such as BDO, Crowe Global and Grant Thornton.[21]


Audit Quality and Ethics

A 2019 analysis by Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) in the United States observed that the big
four accounting firms bungled almost 31% of their audits since 2009. In another project study on government
oversight, it was seen that while the auditors colluded to present audit reports that pleased their clients, the times
they didn't resulted in a loss of business. Despite this large-scale collusion in audits, the PCAOB in its 16-year history
has only made 18 enforcement cases against the "big four". Although these auditors have failed audits in 31% of
cases (808 cases in total), they have only faced action by PCAOB in 6.6% of the cases. KPMG at that point had never
been fined despite having the worst audit failure rate of 36.6%.[22]

As per the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) none of the Big Four – Deloitte, EY, KPMG, and PwC managed to surpass
the 90% target of its audits. The inefficiency in audit was resulting in a loss of investors' hard earned money, people's
pension plans, stakeholders' livelihoods and was putting a question mark on the credibility of audited financial
statements. "At a time when the future of the audit sector is under the microscope, the latest audit quality results are
not acceptable," said Stephen Haddrill, the FRC's Chief executive. Multiple ethics scandals and questionable practices
across the globe led to multi-million dollar fines and subsequent settlements by all the Big 4 firms.[23]

Despite repeated sanctions from regulators, the Big Four have seen continued challenges to audit quality and ethics
as the 2020 decade comes to a close.

1. In May 2018, KPMG was accused of being "complicit" in signing off Carillion's "increasingly fantastical figures"
before Carillon ultimately collapsed.[24]

2. In January 2020, PwC faces allegations of potential conflict of interest in its audit of Sonangol, given its dual
roles of both auditor and consultant.[25]

3. In September 2020, Deloitte was fined £15 million ($19.4 million USD) by the FRC for failing to apply sufficient
professional skepticism in its audits of Autonomy's 2009 to 2011 financial statements prior to Autonomy's
acquisition by Hewlett-Packard.[26]

4. In June 2020, EY was accused of poor auditing for failing to discover that €1.9 billion in cash was missing at
Wirecard AG, precipitating Wirecard's collapse and eventual sale to Santander Bank for €100 million in
November 2020.[27][28][29][30]

Tax avoidance

According to Australian taxation expert George Rozvany, the Big Four are "the masterminds of multinational tax
avoidance and the architects of tax schemes which cost governments and their taxpayers an estimated $US1 trillion a
year". At the same time they are advising governments on tax reforms, they are advising their multinational clients on
how to avoid taxes.[31][32]

Market concentration and alleged collusion amongst the Big Four 8/13
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In the wake of industry concentration and the occasional firm failure, the issue of a credible alternative industry
structure has been raised.[33] The limiting factor on the expansion of the Big Four to include additional firms, is that
although some of the firms in the next tier have become quite substantially large, or have formed international
networks, effectively all large public companies insist on having an audit performed by a Big Four network. This
creates the complication that smaller firms have no way to compete well enough to make it into the top end of the

Documents published in June 2010 show that some UK companies' banking covenants required them to use one of
the Big Four. This approach from the lender prevents firms in the next tier from competing for audit work for such
companies. The British Bankers' Association said that such clauses are rare.[34] Current discussions in the UK consider
outlawing such clauses.

In February 2011, the Irish Director of Corporate Enforcement Paul Appleby said that auditors "report surprisingly few
types of company law offences to us", with the so-called "big four" auditing firms reporting the least often to his
office, at just 5% of all reports.[35]

In 2011, the House of Lords of United Kingdom completed an inquiry into the financial crisis, and called for an Office
of Fair Trading investigation into the dominance of the Big Four.[36] In September 2019, Bloomberg News reported
that The Big Four controlled 95% of the FTSE 250 audit market by client numbers and 96% by market capitalization in
August 2019, according to Adviser Rankings.[37]

In 2018, an Australian parliamentary committee was told that the heads of the Big Four firms have met regularly for
dinner. The revelation was among issues which led to an inquiry by the Australian Competition & Consumer
Commission into possible collusion in the selling of audit and other services. However, Ernst & Young told the inquiry
that the dinners, which were held once or twice a year, were to discuss industry trends and issues of corporate culture
such as inclusion and diversity.[38]

The January 2018 collapse of the UK construction and services company Carillion raised further questions about the
Big Four, all of which had advised the company before its liquidation. On 13 February 2018, the Big Four were
described by Member of Parliament (MP) and chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee Frank Field as
"feasting on what was soon to become a carcass" after collecting fees of £72m for Carillion work during the years
leading up to its collapse.[39] The final report of a Parliamentary inquiry into the collapse of Carillion, published on 16
May 2018,[24] accused the Big Four accounting firms of being a "cosy club", with KPMG singled out for its "complicity"
in signing off on Carillion's "increasingly fantastical figures" and internal auditor Deloitte accused of failing to identify,
or ignoring, "terminal failings". The report recommended the Government refer the statutory audit market to the
Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), urging consideration of breaking up the Big Four.[24] In September 2018,
Business Secretary Greg Clark announced he had asked the CMA to conduct an inquiry into competition in the audit
sector,[40] and on 9 October 2018, the CMA announced it had launched a detailed study.[41] In July 2020, the UK
Financial Reporting Council told the Big Four that they must submit plans by October 2020 to separate their audit
and consultancy operations by 2024.[2]

See also

Accounting network

Big Three (management consultancies)

Luxembourg leaks

Panama Papers

References 9/13
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rch&elem=1&se=1&u= . PwC.
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es.html) . KPMG. 17 December 2020. Retrieved 21 December 2020.

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20. "FY16 global revenues rise to record US$35.9 billion as PwC looks to future" (
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21. Fleming, Sam (12 Feb 2014). "Accountants PwC, Deloitte, KPMG and EY face taming moves" (
eab7de) . Financial Times. Retrieved 6 May 2017.

22. Haldevang, Max de. "Big Four accounting firms bungle a third of US audits but are rarely fined" (
gling-a-third-of-us-audits/) . Quartz. Retrieved 2019-09-19.

23. "21 Scandals, Settlements and Corporate Crimes of Big 4 Accounting Firms in 2019" (
porate-crimes-of-big-4-accounting-firms-in-2019) . 9 July 2020. Retrieved July 9, 2020.

24. Davies, Rob (16 May 2018). " 'Recklessness, hubris and greed' – Carillion slammed by MPs" (
site?sl=en&tl=es&ajax=1&prev=search&elem=1&se=1&u= . The Guardian. Archived
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25. Garside, Juliette; Inman, Phillip (23 January 2020). "PwC under growing scrutiny as scandal engulfs Isabel dos Santos" (https://
ngola) . The Guardian. Archived from the original (
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26. Cohn, Michael (17 September 2020). "Deloitte fined £15M in U.K. for Autonomy audits" (
e?sl=en&tl=es&ajax=1&prev=search&elem=1&se=1&u= . Accounting Today. Archived from the original (http
news/deloitte-fined-15m-in-u-k-for-autonomy-audits) on 29 October 2020. Retrieved 21 December 2020.

27. Storbeck, Olaf; Dombey, Daniel (16 November 2020). "Santander buys Wirecard's core European business for €100m" (https://
f54c-431f-890e-17adbaa530d1) . Financial Times. Retrieved 17 November 2020.

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29. Seidenstuecker, Jörn Poltz, Hans (2020-12-04). "German prosecutors probe EY auditors over Wirecard collapse" (https://transl
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32. " 'Big Four' audit firms never examined over illegal tax plans" (
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the companies they are supposed to police, say critics"

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=1&se=1&u= . Financial Times.

37. Kapoor, Michael (September 1, 2019). "Big Four Still Dominate U.K. Large-Company Audits, Survey Shows" (https://translate.g
ting/big-four-still-dominate-u-k-large-company-audits-survey-shows) . Bloomberg Tax. Bloomberg.

38. Tadros, Edmund; McIlroy, Tom (15 February 2019). "Big four left guessing over dinner guests". Australian Financial Review.
p. 10.

39. Davies, Rob (13 February 2018). "Carillion: accountants accused of 'feasting' on company" (
untants-accused-of-feasting-on-company) . The Guardian. Retrieved 13 February 2018.

40. Busby, Mattha (29 September 2018). "Audit sector faces inquiry as minister points to deficiencies" (
mulls-audit-sector-reform-after-minister-admits-deficiencies) . The Guardian. Retrieved 29 September 2018.

41. "CMA launches immediate review of audit sector" (

&elem=1&se=1&u= .
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External links

Official website (

p:// Deloitte

Official website (

p:// Ernst & Young 12/13
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Sitio web oficial (

p:// PricewaterhouseCoopers

Sitio web oficial (

p:// KPMG

Consorcio Internacional de Periodistas de Investigación , las 4 grandes firmas de auditoría juegan un papel
importante en Offshore Murk (
se=1&u= ,

El G8 y la elusión fiscal: exclusiva de Spinwatch sobre el papel de los Cuatro Grandes en la elaboración de leyes (htt
m/watch?x-yt-cl%3D84503534%26x-yt-ts%3D1421914688%26v%3DxV3eHv_DbyA) 13/13

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