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by Vault Careers | April 15, 2024


Today, we're excited to release the 2025 Vault Accounting 25, a ranking of the best accounting firms to work for. The ranking is based on a survey of more than 13,000 accounting professionals, who were asked to rate their firms in several workplace categories, including compensation, culture, diversity, hours, training, work/life balance, wellness, and more. They were also asked to rate firms other than their own in terms of prestige.
Here are the top 10 firms in the Vault Accounting 25 based on our annual Accounting Survey:
1. PwC
3. EY
5. Plante Moran
6. CohnReznick
7. Baker Tilly
9. Schellman
10. Moss Adams

No. 1 PwC Is “The Gold Standard of Audit”

This year, PwC again ranks No. 1 in the Accounting 25, while also taking the No. 1 spot in our Prestige Rankings. In addition, PwC ranks No. 1 in all three Practice Area Rankings (Audit & Assurance, Tax, and Forensic Accounting). Accountants at peer firms tell us that PwC is “the gold standard of audit and puts the other audit firms to shame.” They also say PwC has a “great national reputation” and “strong integrity,” and “seems to be doing things right” and “kicks butt in the market.” Meanwhile, PwC staff members tell us the firm has an “amazing culture” and “incredible, supportive, intelligent, caring, thoughtful, helpful coworkers,” while raving about the “work/life balance outside of busy season” and “great exposure to executives and challenging problems early in our careers.”

No. 2 KPMG Has “Great People” and a “High-Performing Culture”

KPMG jumps one spot to rank No. 2 in the Accounting 25, while holding onto its No. 4 ranking in Prestige. This year, peer accountants tell us that KPMG is a “global,” “respectable,” “elite” firm with “strong name recognition.” Meanwhile, KPMG insiders rave about the firm’s “great people” and “high-performing culture.” They also appreciate the many “development and learning opportunities” and “flexibility to work from home.”

No. 3 EY Has a “Hardworking, Intelligent, Fun, Supportive Team”

Accountants at peer firms tell us that EY—which ranks No. 3 in the Accounting 25, No. 3 in Prestige, and No. 3 in all three Practice Areas—is “competitive,” “aggressive,” “solid,” and “top tier.” Meanwhile, EY staff members rave about the firm’s “outstanding team,” saying “you won’t find such hardworking, intelligent, growth-minded, supportive, fun people like this anywhere else.” Insiders also laud the “continuous growth opportunities” and “ability to work remotely.”

Schellman Ranks No. 1 for Benefits, Compensation, Culture, Hours, Overall Diversity, Satisfaction, Wellness, and Work/Life Balance

The big winner in our Quality of Life Rankings this year is Tampa-based Schellman, which ranks No. 9 in the Vault Accounting 25 and No. 1 in all 18 Quality of Life Rankings: Benefits, Business Outlook, Client Interaction, Compensation, Culture, ESG Initiatives, Firm Leadership, Formal Training, Hiring Process, Hours, Informal Training, Internal Mobility, Promotion Policies, Relationships with Supervisors, Satisfaction, Vacation Policies, Wellness, and Work/Life Balance. Schellman also sweeps our Diversity Rankings, ranking No. 1 in Diversity for Women, LGBTQ+ Diversity, Racial & Ethnic Diversity, and Overall Diversity.

Schellman insiders rave about the firm’s “caring culture,” “great people,” “best-in-class benefits,” and “diverse leadership.” According to one Schellman insider, “The majority of our executive leadership are women. We have a very active and prominent ESG service line that’s growing rapidly. We have annual shutdowns for company-wide ‘days of giving’ where we serve the community. There is also a very large and active LGBTQ+ group at Schellman called PRISM that fosters awareness and inclusivity.”

Accountants Respond to the Changing Labor Market

Four years after the onset of the pandemic and nearly three years after the Great Resignation, thousands of accounting professionals tell us about the effects these events and others are having on their work hours, work/life balance, wellness, and overall satisfaction, as well as on their firms’ business outlooks. Our new accounting firm profiles include direct quotes from professionals about how their satisfaction with their roles is changing, and how their firms are responding to macro events affecting the public accounting industry.

Many accounting professionals at the top firms continue to tell us there’s an industry-wide talent shortage in accounting and the lack of students entering the industry is causing strain on seasoned accountants. The busy tax seasons, historically a pain point for accounting professionals, seem to be getting busier—in part due to the industry-wide staff shortages. In addition, regional firms have been growing quickly, many through acquisitions, and several firms have experienced changes in leadership. These trends are resulting in growing pains, including those affecting workplace culture and employee morale.

Below are representative quotes from professionals at three different firms who took our survey:

“The firm is hyper-focused on growth, which means we’re experiencing growing pains operationally, but our enterprise value continues to increase. Our current weaknesses are in recruiting talent and crippling ourselves with new processes implemented as a result of our fast-paced growth.”

“We’re in a period of vast change, some of it badly needed. However, the communication of vision and the execution of things like the Workday transition are lacking. I’m hopeful we’ll learn from these issues and senior leadership will do a better job of communicating and engaging with the team to help protect the outstanding culture I’ve historically enjoyed here.”

“Due to the shrinking entry-level accountant pool, there are not enough good accountants to fill all positions. As a result, all levels of our firm need to do the work of lower-ranking professionals. Partners work more hours than they have in years past.”

All of our new accounting firm profiles include direct quotes like these from professionals about how their satisfaction with their roles is changing, about their firms’ responses to the various macroeconomic events affecting the public accounting industry, and more.

Accounting 25 Methodology

This past winter, Vault asked more than 13,000 accounting professionals to rate their own firms in various Quality of Life Categories (such as Culture, Hours, Compensation, and Work/Life Balance). They were also asked to rate their peer firms in terms of Prestige (accountants couldn’t rate their own firms and were asked to only rate those firms with which they were familiar). The Accounting 25 is compiled using a weighted formula based on the following: 35 percent Prestige, 20 percent Culture, 10 percent Satisfaction, 10 percent Compensation, 10 percent Work/Life Balance, 5 percent Business Outlook, 5 percent Formal Training, and 5 percent Informal Training.

View the entire 2025 Vault Accounting Rankings.