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Which Big 4 Should I Choose – Ranked (By An Expert)

Deloitte, PwC, EY, and KPMG are the big guns in professional accounting services. However, the question of which Big 4 firm to choose to work for can be overwhelming. How can you really make a decision? Does it even matter?

While each is an industry leader, I have ranked the Big 4 companies considering the factors below for a better understanding: 

  • Workplace
  • Culture
  • Career growth
  • Reimbursements, salaries, and benefits

In this article, I will explore which Big 4 company you should choose to work for that will help you make an informed decision aligned with your career aspirations.

Boston skyline of corporate skyscrapers

1. PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers)

PwC, in my opinion, stands out as the top choice among the Big 4 accounting firms.


Because the company consistently earns high satisfaction ratings from employees and is regarded as the best place to work.


1. Workplace Culture

PwC is widely admired for its exceptional workplace culture, fostering an environment where you should thrive. The firm also offers flexible work arrangements and actively promotes a healthy personal and professional life balance, earning them well-deserved recognition.

The company also prioritizes diversity and inclusion, acknowledging the significant impact of these principles on creating a better workplace and achieving improved business outcomes.

PwC regularly tracks diversity metrics, including gender and sexual orientation, to ensure progress. ‘

According to a recent survey, 100% of females and 75% of workers from different ethnic backgrounds agree the company supports LGBTQ employees.


An employee at PwC states: “Great sharing and learning culture, amazing people, supportive of career and great work-life balance. It is a team of people helping each other to further personal skills and ideas while increasing company profit. Workers are often rewarded frequently and recognized for their contributions. Always new and interesting projects, no two days are the same if you like that which I love because it keeps me challenged and engaged.”


2. Growth and Professional Development Opportunities 

PwC is highly regarded for its focus on employee well-being and professional growth, offering ample opportunities for learning and development. 

PwC is firmly committed to helping you develop unmatched expertise that truly stands out in the market and aligns with your specific roles.

The company’s development approach is centered on three principles: 

  • 10% Formal learning 
  • 20 % Learning from others
  • 70% Learning by doing


While working at the company, you are also eligible for advisory scholarships, which provide financial assistance to cover tuition fees and other related educational expenses.

3. Benefits & Salary

As a member of the PwC team, you’ll enjoy a vast range of personalized benefits and rewards that adapt to your changing life and needs.

On average, audit associates employed at PwC typically earn an annual salary of $73,118, while audit managers receive approximately $140,943.


The table below summarizes the benefits you will receive as an employee at PwC:

Family SupportMother rooms, childcare discounts, nanny assistance, and family sick days.
Health and Well-beingHealth saving accounts and medical plans.
Student Loan Paydown Up to $1,200 per year.
Time Off15 paid holidays and up to one month of vacation.


2. Deloitte 

Deloitte boasts an impressive position as one of the giants among the Big 4 regarding size. However, in terms of employee ratings, it falls slightly behind PwC.

1. Workplace Culture

At Deloitte, you’ll experience a workplace that recognizes and values your hard work. The organizational culture thrives on trust, fostering an environment that promotes leadership growth and celebrates entrepreneurial spirit.

The company understands the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance by offering flexible schedules and generous time off, enabling you to effectively manage your professional responsibilities while still having considerable personal time for yourself.

Moreover, Deloitte is praised for its inclusive work culture and commitment to ensuring diversity.

The firm is committed to fostering an equitable environment where individuals from different backgrounds and perspectives can thrive.

Deloitte promotes diversity and inclusion in the organization by:

  • Working towards gender balance
  • Fostering racial and ethnic inclusion
  • Supporting people with disabilities
  • Striving for LGBTQ inclusion


An analyst working at Deloitte says on Indeed: “Very good culture and team bonding. Managers are very considerate about timings and are very flexible as well.”


2. Growth and Professional Development Opportunities

The company recognizes your unique skillset required in the professional services industry and the importance of continuous learning and growth. 

Deloitte offers formal learning programs, enabling you to enhance your knowledge through education. Moreover, experiential development roles and project-based activities provide valuable hands-on experience.

Employees are supported in various ways, including tuition reimbursement, to develop essential skills. Moreover, internal programs like “Up Your Game” allow you to reach new growth levels. 


3. Benefits

At Deloitte, the average salary for audit associates is $70,872, while audit managers earn around $136,403.

The company also offers a comprehensive range of benefits, ensuring its workforce is well cared for. 


If you decide to work at the firm, you may get entitled to:

  • Life insurance
  • Mental health services
  • Medical plans
  • Student loan refinancing 
  • Retirement plans
  • Sabbaticals
  • Before-tax transportation program


The Deloitte tower at twilight in downtown Los Angeles with an orange sky behind
The Deloitte tower in downtown Los Angeles

3. EY (Ernest & Young)

Ernst & Young (EY) ranks as the third largest accounting firm among the prestigious Big 4. While trailing behind PwC and Deloitte in employee ratings, the company maintains a strong reputation within the industry.

1. Workplace Culture

You can experience a company culture at EY that nurtures collaboration, innovation, and professional growth. The firm strongly emphasizes teamwork and building relationships.

EY also values diversity and inclusion by creating a professional platform where individuals from various backgrounds and ethnicities can play a role aligned with their unique perspectives. 

While EY acknowledges the significance of work-life balance and has implemented various initiatives such as flexible work arrangements and remote work options, many company workers have raised concerns about:

  • Demanding working hours
  • High workloads
  • Sight deadlines

The company also faces several challenges in maintaining a positive work environment, such as office politics and perceptions of preferential treatment among employees. 

A former EY employee at Glassdoor writes: “Partners have clear favorites, and if you aren’t one of them, you will get the worst clients and projects. Strong office politics means it doesn’t matter how good you are if you aren’t connected to the right people.”


2. Growth and Professional Development Opportunities

Professional development is highly valued at EY, with many opportunities for growth and learning, empowering you to improve your skills and accelerate your career.

These opportunities include: 

  • Training programs
  • Mentorship initiatives
  • Access to Udemy and goFluent
  • Professional networking
  • Counseling and coaching


3. Benefits

EY offers an average salary of $70,691 for audit associates, while audit managers receive approximately $134,784.


After joining EY, you’ll receive many benefits, showcasing the company’s genuine care for its staff.

Some of these benefits are:

  • 25 working days of vacation per year
  • Additional pay for sick leave
  • Medical insurance
  • Flexible work arrangements
  • Life and accident insurance
  • Excused leave
  • Parents’ hours

4. KPMG (Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler)

KPMG is a highly reputable accounting firm, but it ranks last when choosing among the Big 4 for career choice. 

1. Workplace Culture

KPMG’s work environment is a bit unique as compared to other Big 4.

To compensate for lower salaries, the company strongly emphasizes promoting work-life balance and provides its employees with numerous opportunities for training and development.

However, in recent years the pressure to meet performance targets and win new business has created a culture of competition, despite the firm’s attempt to foster collaboration and teamwork.

At KPMG, you will experience an inclusive and supportive environment that will help you to excel. The company believes diverse teams drive innovative thinking by bringing different viewpoints and well-rounded perspectives.


The table provides a breakdown of diversity at KPMG based on job level for new hires:

Job LevelStrength of Women %
Partner and Director23%
Senior Manager and Manager36%
Associate and Team Member50%


The firm is also committed to social responsibility and community involvement, with initiatives focused on sustainability, education, and volunteerism. 

This is a list of nonprofits KPMG has partnered with over the years:

  • American Cancer Society
  • American Heart Association
  • Big Brother Big Sisters of America
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of America
  • National Multiple Sclerosis Society


2. Growth and Professional Development Opportunities

If you decide to work at the company, you will find numerous opportunities for professional advancement. KPMG’s dedicated Leadership and Development department is committed to providing you with the necessary training and resources to tackle challenges at work.

The firm offers comprehensive support for your qualifications and accreditations, such as:

  • Financial assistance
  • Sponsorships
  • Exam leave entitlement
  • Mentoring

3. Benefits

Audit associates at KPMG receive an average salary of $67,598, while audit managers are compensated approximately $142,581.

While working at KPMG, you can receive several perks and benefits. Some of these include:


  • Car cash allowance
  • Pension options
  • Life insurance
  • Corporate mobile phone
  • Private medical insurance
  • 25 days annual holiday

KPMG also offers a student loan program, allowing individuals working at the firm to access financial assistance of up to £7,000 to support their educational expenses. 

Graduates who reach the manager level can also receive a student loan bonus payment, which serves as a reward for their hard work and dedication.



  • Will Bennett

    Will Bennett is a Cambridge graduate. He worked as a Consultant and Senior Consultant at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in London. Will is the Founder of The Cambridge Consultant.