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US accountancy services market dominated by the "Big Four"

Industry Sector

Finance and Banking


8 January 2013


Mike King

Type of News


Demand within the US accounting services market remained relatively steady during the recession, as demand from clients involved in bankruptcies or corporate restructuring offset losses.

The US accountancy market had total revenues of $129.1 billion in 2011, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.3% between 2007 and 2011.

As the economy slowly recovers, revenue from these countercyclical activities will wane. Nevertheless, operators will pursue growth opportunities in niche fields in order to benefit from the new economic environment.

During the 10 years to 2017, the Accounting Services industry's contribution to GDP, which is measured by industry value added (IVA), is expected to grow in line with the overall economy. Over that time, industry value added is expected to increase at an average rate of 2.1% annually, compared to GDP growth of about 1.8% during the same period.

The US accounting services industry includes about 100,000 firms with combined annual revenue of approximately $129 billion. Moderate growth is forecast for the next two years, with the market set to be driven by the increased outsourcing of accounting services and improved economic conditions that increase corporate growth and personal income.

Companies in this industry provide services such as auditing, bookkeeping, payroll processing, and tax return preparation. The US accounting services market is dominated by the "Big Four" accounting firms: Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG, and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Payroll services account for 25% of industry revenue, tax preparation for 20%, and auditing for 15%. Bookkeeping represents 10% of industry revenue, and tax consulting and general accounting, 5% each.

The audit segment was the US accountancy services markets most lucrative in 2011, with total revenues of $65.9 billion, equivalent to 51.1% of the market's overall value.

The performance of the market is forecast to accelerate, at an anticipated CAGR of 6.3% for the five-year period 2011 - 2016, which is expected to drive the market to a value of $175 billion by the end of 2016.

For more information on the US accountancy services market, see the latest research: US Accountancy Services Market

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