Big4.com Survey Finds 64% of Big Four Professionals and Alumni Have Worked at Only One Big Four Accounting Firm

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A recent survey of Big 4 alumni and professionals provides answers to a frequently asked question

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64% or 1,064 respondents indicated that they had worked only for one firm during their careers.

27% or 455 respondents indicated that they had worked only for two firms during their careers.

Big4.com, the premier social networking forum for professionals and alumni of Accenture, Andersen, BearingPoint, Capgemini, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers PwC announced today the results of a survey which identified the number of firms that Big Four alumni and professionals worked in at any point in their careers.

Professionals join the Big Four firms generally through two avenues. Either they are directly recruited from undergraduate or graduate schools as their first job, or are experienced hires who join at a later stage in their careers. While many recruits stay with the same firm for extended lengths of time, many do switch between firms as opportunities for growth or desired locations become available. This leads to professionals who worked at one or more firms during their careers. Further, recent firm consolidations (the Big Eight prior to 1987; Big Six from 1989 to 1998; Big Five from 1998 to 2002; and Big Four from 2002 to present) has also led to professionals working for more than one firm as their parent firm merged with another.

While this question is often asked, it remains typicallly unanswered, as this data is not readily available. A recent survey conducted by Big4.com within the Big Four Professionals and Alumni Group in LinkedIn in January 2012 and February 2012 of a target audience that is generally composed of such professionals generated good response and interesting comments. While the survey structure was not rigorously designed, the results nonetheless were quite insightful.

Respondents were asked to select the number of firms that they had worked in their careers. The survey poll gathered a substantial 1,652 responses.

64% or 1,064 respondents indicated that they had worked only for one firm during their careers.

27% or 455 respondents indicated that they had worked only for two firms during their careers.

8% or 133 respondents indicated that they had worked for three or more firms during their careers.

A robust set of comments provided additional insights into the specific firms, countries and offices where the respondents worked. Many had worked at the Big Eight or Big Five firms, and several had worked at the same firm, though it changed its name through the years.

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Kristy Short
Big4.com
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