May 1999 Issue


Both the Big Five firms' U.S. practices and the remaining 95 firms in the top 100 had banner years, according to Accounting Today's Top 100 Survey. Big Five revenues totaled $26.7 billion, an increase of 27%, and the remaining 95 had revenues of $4.9 billion, an increase of 23%. The three practice segments all showed growth at both levels, with total gains of 16% for accounting and auditing, 19% for tax, and 38% for consulting.

The statistics confirm that the strong U.S. economy has been good to accounting firms. Rumors of the demise of the profession have been greatly exaggerated.

Looking beneath the aggregate statistics showed that not all firms experienced double-digit growth. For example, an analysis of the top 20 local firms in the New York metropolitan area shows that half of them grew less than 10%, with seven of those less than 5%. Five of 11 local firms in the northeast (excluding New York metro) grew less than 10%. In the west and southwest, however, all 13 of the local firms grew more than 20%.

The consolidators are in the top 100; HRB Business Services' total revenue was $1.1 billion, making it number six on the list. Century Business Services is number seven at $363 million, and American Express Tax & Business Services takes the number 12 spot with $149.5 million.

Constantin Associates, now the largest New York local firm in the study, continued its meteoric growth (44%) and is in the 16th position.

It is estimated that there are more than 40,000 accounting firms in the United States. According to Accounting Today, the top 100 firms employ 47% of accountants in the country. *

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