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Revenues Sink 2% at Top 100 Firms

(The Accounting Today Top 100 Firms, 2011 edition)

So, when’s the rebound?

The revenue decline is the second in a row for the profession’s largest firms, prompting Accounting Today managing editor Daniel Hood to liken the conditions to a “deep freeze.”

Although the top-line shrinkage is slowing, firms continue to cut back partners and staff. Forty-four firms report flat or declining revenue in the 2011 Top 100, up from 34 in the 2010 Top 100;  and 62 report flat or declining staff numbers, against 53 the previous year.

“Staring down the often lethal combination of a rough economy and increased competition, many in the 2011 class of the T100 struggled to at least maintain flat revenues over the prior year — with mixed success,” editor-in-chief Bill Carlino says in his introduction to the 32-page special report.

The bigger the firm, the tougher the year:

  • Only Deloitte, No. 1 in the rankings with $10.9 billion in revenue, could boast of revenue gains — up 2%.
  • You need to go to the 14th spot on the list to find the next firm with positive results — Marcum, up 7% to $251 million. And then skip a few rungs to LarsonAllen at 18th, Reznick at 21st, and Eide Bailly at 24th.
  • In all, 43 of the the top 100 suffered revenue declines; 19 of them were among the top 25.
  • 37 firms cut partners; 16 of them were among the top 25 firms.
  • 54 firms cut professionals; 19 in the top 25.

The biggest losers:

  1. UHY Advisors, down 13%, to $205 million.
  2. Mohler, Nixon & Williams, -10%, $33 million.
  3. Anchin, Block & Anchin, -8%, $89 million.
  4. Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, -8%, $238 million.
  5. Ernst & Young, -7%, $7.1 billion
  6. Aronson, -7%, $57 million.
  7. SVA, -7%, $45 million.
  8. Holtz Rubinstein & Reminick, -7%, $33 million.
  9. Joseph Decosimo & Co., -6%, $38 million.
  10. Kaufman Rossin & Co., -6%, $44 million.

Overall, the top 100 firms garnered $42.6 billion in revenue, down 2% from the year before; and total employment sank about 1%, to 184,429 partners and professionals.