Tax Service Line 2011 Revenues for Big Four Accounting Firms Rise 7% After Two Years of Declines, Finds

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One-of-a-kind study reveals unique insights into the world’s largest accounting firms: Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers PwC. Our exclusive look at eight years of Tax’s financial performance shows interesting trends across firms, geographies and service lines.

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The tax service line, forms about a quarter of the Big Four firm revenue and generally holding this percentage level across the years. Tax jumped 7% from 2010 to 2011.'s recent insightful analysis of the distribution of revenues across the three key service lines – Audit, Tax and Advisory - for the Big Four accounting firms shows variation both in terms of structure and growth from 2004 to 2011. This analysis critically examines the reported revenues on a global basis to determine annual growth rates and contributions to worldwide member firm revenues on a common basis across the firms.


The Big Four firms offer a wide variety of professional and financial services, with newer Advisory services adding to their more traditional and deep-rooted Audit (Assurance) and Tax Services. Firms vary in their structure and definition of these broad service lines, typically though about half the revenues are sourced from Audit, and the balance is shared between Tax and Advisory Services.


The tax service line, forms about a quarter of the Big Four firm revenue and generally holding this percentage level across the years.

Tax revenue are reasonably steady, as they derive revenue from add-on services provided to audit clients, in addition to tax services provided for transactions, complicated tax restructurings and other projects.

Tax had a very strong growth in 2006 to 2008, in line with large scale global merger and acquisition transactions activity, but posted a sharp decline in 2009 of 7%. Tax revenues further declined by 1.1% from 2009 to 2010, with Deloitte falling by more than 5% and E&Y also declining, offset somewhat by revenue increases in this service line at KPMG and PwC.

2011 was a different story altogether – combined Tax revenues of $22.3 billion in 2010 jumped a strong 7.1% to $23.9 billion in 2011. KPMG Tax grew a remarkable 13%, while Deloitte Tax grew the slowest at 3.7%.

This analysis may be reproduced or distributed in parts or whole, but prominent and full attribution should be given at all times to “The 2011 Big Four Firms Performance Analysis by".

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Kristy Short
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