Accounting giants dominate market despite pandemic

By Zoya Malik May 4, 2021


ig Four giants continued to dominate the global accounting market with over 74% market share and combined revenues of over $157bn in 2020.

The IAB surveyed 52 organisations, comprising of 30 international accounting networks and 22 associations, earning a combined $241.4bn in fee income – up slightly from $234.5bn the previous year.

Average growth amongst networks in 2020 was 3%. The Big Four firms combined revenue increased by 1.5%, down from 4% in 2019, while the mid-tier networks combined revenues increased by 6% year-on-year. For associations the growth was only 2% in 2020, which is down from 14% in 2019.

IAB data indicates that while market value has grown steadily with more organisation perusing a global presence, growth has been sluggish since the global financial crisis of 2008. The financial crash appears to have put a stop to double digit growth in the market, which was the norm in the years prior.

With Big Four, traditional audit and accounting services continue to represent less and less of their fee income. The largest of the Big Four firms, Deloitte, with total fee income of $47.6bn in 2020 only had 21% of that revenue come from audit and accounting. Deloitte’s largest business unit was advisory, which amounted to 61% of its overall fee income or $29.3bn, up 5% year-on-year.

Overall, fee income increased by 4% for networks in advisory to $76.6bn, and 8% for associations to $5.4bn in 2020.