Introduction to the World Survey 2020

Dear readers,

Welcome to the free summary of the International Accounting Bulletin 2020 World Survey.

The IAB has an established reputation, built up over decades, for ranking and providing insight on the work of global accounting networks and associations.

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Key findings World Survey 2020

The IAB surveyed 51 organisations this year, 29 networks and 22 associations, earning a combined $234.4bn in fee income.

Average growth amongst networks in 2019 was 4%, Big Four average growth was 4% and 5% for the mid-tier networks. For associations the average growth rate was 14% driven by some organisations’ extensive recruitment effort for new member firms.

Deloitte, the largest global professional services network, cemented its advantage from its close competitor PwC, even further this year with 7% growth to $46.2bn, mainly driven on the back of advisory growth.

The gap between third ranked EY and fourth KPMG also widened with the gap now standing at just over $6.6bn with EY making 36.3bn in fee income for the year ending 30 Jun 2019, up by 8%.

In the top 10 networks ranking, RSM edged over Grant Thornton by making $19.3m more in fee income, reporting $5.73bn in fee income and taking the spot of the sixth largest network globally. RSM fee income does though include $1.3bn from alliance member firms.

In the association ranking the three new additions bring minor changes to the overall ranking.

A notable merger between the network MGI Worldwide and association CPA Associates International also brings the newly created MGI Worldwide with CPAAI to the spot of the 11th largest associations with combined fee income of $914.9m.

Total revenue vs growth: 2003-2019

Revenue $bn


Notes: Growth = the average growth of networks and associations surveyed.

Source: International Accounting Bulletin

Advisory, extensive recruitment and consolidaton driving growth

For larger players advisory is clearly the name of the game with market leader Deloitte making 60% of its fee income of $46.2bn from advisory services in the year to 31 May 2019.

Similarly many attribute growth rate to their non-audit services that continue to be under less fee pressure and offer organisations the opportunity to develop services most suited to their clients.

For the rest of the pack, growth was often linked to recruiting new member firms by networks and associations as well as another merger taking place between network MGI Worldwide and association CPA Associates International.