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by Derek Loosvelt | September 28, 2011


For nearly a decade, Vault has been ranking accounting firms in terms of prestige. This year, in our annual Accounting Survey, conducted from April through June, over 2,300 accounting professionals were asked to assess their peer firms on a scale of 1 to 10 based on prestige—they were unable to rate their own firm, and were asked to rate only firms with which they were familiar. And for the third straight year, industry insiders named PricewaterhouseCoopers the most prestigious accounting firm in North America.

pwc academy awardsAccounting insiders called PwC a “market leader,” “very professional,” “top of the class,” “high-class, friendly, stable,” and “probably the most competent firm out there.” PwC was also commended for its “prestigious client base,” “good working environment,” and “exceptional expertise.” Of course, working at the firm also looks “good on resume.”

The No. 2 most prestigious accounting firm, Deloitte, is also a great name to have on your resume. The firm leaped one spot in the rankings from last year, and this year insiders called Deloitte a “quality firm,” a “powerhouse,” “one of the strongest of the Big Four,” which is “known to hire students with the best GPA,” and provide “good employee programs” and “great training opportunities.”

Ernst & Young, which slipped one spot to No. 3, was also called “great firm” with a “great reputation.”  Survey respondents added that the firm is “well regarded,” “respected,” and a “global leader.” As for its future, insiders say that Ernst & Young is an “outstanding firm with strong growth potential.”

Rounding out the top five were KPMG at No.4 (a “strong brand” with “intelligent employees” and “good opportunities”) and Grant Thornton at No. 5 (a “major player” and a “well positioned, growing firm.”)

To see who ranked No. 6 through No. 50, check out the complete 2012 Vault Accounting Prestige Rankings.

And check back tomorrow for Vault’s 2012 Accounting Quality of Life Rankings to see which firms ranked No. 1 in compensation, hours, culture, business outlook, diversity, and other categories.