The Big Five Arthur Andersen, Deloitte 26 Touche, Ernst 26 Young, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers. Arthur Andersen fell from the ranking of the Big 5 accounting firms in 2002 after being found guilty of obstructing justice in the Enron scandal. The conviction was later overturned, but the damage had already been done. Arthur Andersen was also famous for the growth of his consulting business.
The consulting firm eventually spun off and was renamed Accenture. Ernst and Young was formed through a merger in 1989 between Arthur Young and Ernst and Whinney. PwC was formed in 1998 from the merger between Pricewaterhouse and Coopers %26 Lybrand. KPMG was formed in 1987 as a result of the merger between Peat Marwick International and Klynveld Main Goerdeler.
Therefore, the full form of KPMG is Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler. Deloitte was founded in 1989 when Deloitte Haskins and Sells merged with Touche Ross to become Deloitte %26 Touche. All of the other largest accounting firms in the world can largely qualify as regional firms. They have no desire to grow outside of the respective market they serve.
The reason for this is that they earn considerable revenues simply by providing services to regional companies. What sets the big four companies apart is that they want to consistently provide services to the world's largest companies. That's why the big four have grown internationally. They know that their customers need local help in the countries in which they operate.
That's why the top 5 accounting firms were created and, later, they became the top 4 accounting firms. The big five accounting firms are Deloitte, EY, KPMG, PwC and, of course, Arthur Andersen. Every year, aspiring accounting students from Yeshiva University submit their applications and eagerly await an offer from one of these five giants of the accounting industry. Students sleep easy knowing that it is enough for one of these five major firms to agree to their candidacy to start their professional career in the glorious Big Five.