The Big Four

An empire is rising, but these stereotypical villains are dull, largely due to how the profession has been viewed in everyday life. When much of the modern economy relies on the work of accountants, those who verify a company’s financial records, the need for these auditors increases; to which the current system relies on nearly four, or the so called “big four” accounting firms: E&Y (Ernst and Young), Deliotte (Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited), PWC (PricewaterhouseCoopers), and KPMG (Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler). Institutions big enough to audit multinational corporations, and whose markets all share means.

These branded accounting firms entrenched the audit market for decades… until now. Accountancy is no longer their sole profession because they have transitioned to “consultancy”. Suffice to say, the Big Four are moving beyond their tax-related activities and expanding to a range of legal practices that include: private equity, employment, international arbitration, cybersecurity, data privacy, and even immigration.

Unfortunately, their new market continues to consume smaller firms, and from what has been observed from their auditing services, they’re not willing to share in the competition. This schemed foray into the global legal-market will strike fear into all independent firms within the medium-sized markets. As for smaller markets, local firms face the worst threat, including members of “non-branded” international networks, like TerraLex, Lex Mundi, and Meritas. These firms will find themselves competing against the Big Four when considering recruiting talent and clientele.

However, there lies a conflict of interest. Well, multiple. The first is that the Big Four is going to sell billions of dollars’ worth of business advice to the same companies they independently audit; and the second is that governments today have shown to rely on these reports to back up their policy decisions. So, it is blatant to see that the Big Four are mounting an incursion on the economic and business world today; but as we know from stories, any assault will be met with resistance.

(Photo by Saksham Gangwar on Unsplash)