IPA Launches The 21st Annual Ranking Of The Top 100

INSIDE Public Accounting (IPA) is pleased to present the 21st annual report on the nation’s Top 100 accounting firms. IPA’s independent rankings are among the longest-running, most accurate and up-to-date of the nation’s largest accounting firms.

The full report will be available next week!

Highlights included in the August 2011 issue of IPA…

IPA Top 100 Comings And Goings

Double-Digit Growth Is Still A Reality For A Select Few

Managing Partner Compensation… New in 2011

The Ten Fastest-Growing Top 100 Firms

Economic Recovery Shows Flickers Of Hope

One In Six Top 100 Report Staff Turnover Above 20%

Charge Hours: Organic Growth Emerging On The Coasts; Interior Of The Country Still Feeling Recessionary Effects

25 Percent Of Top 100 Report Terminating Equity Partners

Three In Four Top 100 Experience Partner Retirement In ’10 And ’11

The Top 100 Data By Region  

Partner Compensation; What’s The Right Ratio Of High To Low?

Firms With Owners Earning $900,000 Pay Attention To The Bottom Line


Top-line growth continues to be a challenge for the Top 100 firms. Although fine-tuning their inner workings gave them stability and a bigger bottom line, half of the Top 100 firms that reported no merger/acquisition, saw a decline in charge hours, compounding the decreases of 2009. Firms that specialize in government contract work were among the few that saw opportunities to add to the charge hour workload.

Firms clearly took more control over bottom-line management, with two-thirds increasing net fees collected per charge hour, and 56% increasing margins over last year. Net income for the group was up 3.0%, but net income per equity partner continued a downward slide – a full 17% off the peak of 2008.

A gap exists between those who are doing well in this economy and those who are struggling to right the ship. Firms in the top quartile of net income per equity partner (NIPP) saw that metric grow by 18% over the previous year, while those in the bottom quartile saw NIPP decline by 3%. Leverage in top quartile firms is up slightly – 58% are hiring to take advantage of opportunities, and 40% reported reducing the number of equity partners. Leverage in the bottom quartile has decreased 4%. Average staff for the top quartile firms was up 1%, while the bottom quartile experienced a 1% decline.

Forty percent of the Top 100 reduced the number of equity partners during the reporting period, either due to retirement or firing under-performing partners. Among the 33 non-national firms reporting a reduction in partners, 159 partners to be exact, 27% terminated an equity partner(s), and 55% had one or more partners retire during the reporting year. Net fees for the Top 100 represent more than $40 billion, with the non-Big 4 representing $11.7 billion. For the 70 firms that reported net income figures, more than $1.6 billion in income is shared by more than 2,900 owners and close to 25,000 staff.

More to come.