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Accounting networks and associations

Accounting networks and associations are professional services networks whose principal purpose is to provide members resources to assist the clients around the world and hence reduce the uncertainty by bringing together a greater number of resources to work on a problem.The networks and associations operate independently of the independent members. The largest accounting networks are known as the Big Four.

The Big Four

The Big Four are the four largest international professional services networks, offering audit, assurance, tax, consulting, advisory, actuarial, corporate finance, and legal services. They handle the vast majority of audits for publicly traded companies as well as many private companies, creating an oligopoly in auditing large companies. It is reported that the Big Four audit 99% of the companies in the FTSE 100, and 96% of the companies in the FTSE 250 Index, an index of the leading mid-cap listing companies.[1] The Big Four firms are shown below, with their latest publicly available data. None of the Big Four firms is a single firm; rather, they are professional services networks. Each is a network of firms, owned and managed independently, which have entered into agreements with other member firms in the network to share a common name, brand and quality standards. Each network has established an entity to co-ordinate the activities of the network. In one case (KPMG), the co-ordinating entity is Swiss, and in three cases (Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young) the co-ordinating entity is a UK limited company. Those entities do not themselves perform external professional services, and do not own or control the member firms. They are similar to law firm networks found in the legal profession. In many cases each member firm practises in a single country, and is structured to comply with the regulatory environment in that country. In 2007 KPMG announced a merger of four member firms (in the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland and Liechtenstein) to form a single firm. Ernst & Young also includes separate legal entities which manage three of its four areas: Americas, EMEIA (Europe, The Middle East, India and Africa), and Asia-Pacific. (Note: the Japan area does not have a separate area management entity). These firms coordinate services performed by local firms within their respective areas but do not perform services or hold ownership in the local entities.[2] This group was once known as the "Big Eight", and was reduced to the "Big Six" and then "Big Five" by a series of mergers. The Big Five became the Big Four after the demise of Arthur Andersen in 2002, following its involvement in the Enron scandal.

Firm Revenues Employees Revenue per Employee Fiscal Year Headquarters Source
Deloitte $36.8bn 244,400 $150,573 2016 United States [3]
PricewaterhouseCoopers $35.9bn 223,468 $160,649 2016 United Kingdom [4]
Ernst & Young $29.6bn 230,800 $128,362 2016 United Kingdom [5]
KPMG $25.4bn 188,982 $134,510 2016 Netherlands [6]
History of accounting networks and associations

Accounting networks were created to meet a specific need. “The accounting profession in the U.S. was built upon a state-established monopoly for audits of financial statements.”[7] Accounting networks arose out of the necessity for public American companies to have audited financial statements for the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC).[8] For over 70 years, the SEC has continually sought for greater coordination and consistent quality in audits everywhere in the world. Networks were the logical model to address these requirements. They expanded outside of the United States since financial results had to be audited wherever a company conducted business. In the US, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board's (PCAOB) regulations provide for inspection of non-United States firms. Without a network with common standards and internal means of communications, conducting the required audits would not be possible.

There were other profession-based factors which favored the growth of accounting networks. As a result of competition for the audit work, consolidation was inevitable. These include the fact that a network can establish a brand. A brand establishes the credibility of the network and allows the individual members to charge more. Creating a brand is very difficult when all of the members of a network are providing essentially the same services.

Being a network member establishes that the firm is part of a large group. Additionally, the larger the firm, the more likely it will be invited to render auditing engagements. A large organized network allows for spreading the costs to price competitively. Ultimately, size is the only real means of differentiation that is readily available on accounting firms to assure clients that they can do international work.[9]

Networks also reflect the clients’ needs for seamless worldwide services because they are more efficient and cost-effective.,[10] From the perspective of the accounting firm, a global regulated organization with consistently applied standards significantly reduced the risk. However, increasing the size of the networks can enhance legal liability risks and quality control issues that have not been resolved.

With these factors in play, some networks continued to grow; others remained in a stasis position. Individual members of networks began to offer other services related to accounting. These services included forensic accounting, business appraisals, employee benefits planning, strategic planning, and almost anything associated with financial parts of the client’s business. The network’s structure easily accommodated these services and their geographical expansion.[11]

As the Big 8 consolidated to become Big 6, the Big 5 and then the Big 4, new networks naturally developed to emulate them. BDO and Grant Thornton were the earliest followers. Networks were then developed to serve mid-market companies and private businesses. New networks also sprang up as an extension of a single accounting firm in the same way the Big 8 were formed. New structures were created to further extend the networks.

The largest accounting networks adopted trade names that each member used. The names of the original firms that became part of the networks were lost and replaced with trade names. For example, PriceWaterhouseCoopers became PWC. The perception was created that these networks were more than networks, but single entities rather than completely independent firms. This was never the case. The result was that the Big 8 concept was established which separated the eight firms from all other accounting firms.

Another factor in the development of networks in accounting was the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants(AICPA)’s prohibition of advertising. While the largest firms indirectly advertised their services, the small firms complied with the rules and believed advertising to be unprofessional. Additionally, midsize firms were de facto restricted from advertising simply because of limited budgets. They could not create a brand that was able to compete with the one established by the Big 8. The advertising restriction was lifted in the 1970s by the Federal Trade Commission.[12]

Multidisciplinary expansion

In the 1990s, the large accounting firms reached another ceiling in the services they made available to their clients. Having reached their natural limit on growth with more than 90% of auditing for public companies, the Big 6 branched out to become multidisciplinary in legal, technology, and employment services. Since the essential infrastructure was in place, it was thought to be relatively simple to incorporate other services into the existing network. As a network, it was natural to create independent entities in these other professions which themselves could be part of the network. The method and structures varied from firm to firm.

When the Big 6 began its expansion to the legal profession, it was met with fierce opposition from law firms and bar associations. Commissions, panels and committees were established by legal and accounting firms to argue their positions. Government agencies were enlisted. For more than five years the debate escalated. This movement ended abruptly with the fall of Arthur Andersen as a result of its association with Enron. Sarbanes Oxley followed, which effectively ended this trend. Some international associations of independent firms, such as Alliott Group, now include law firms within the membership.

Vicarious liability

Accounting networks are now facing a new challenge that go to the heart of the image that the firms wish to project to clients. The perception has been that the Big 4, Grant Thornton and BDO are single entities that perform services around the world for clients of this single entity. As a result of court cases this has introduced significant vicarious liability issues requiring the networks to distance themselves from the perception of being a single entity. The Parmalat case is the best illustration of the issues.

While the firms have lost a number of cases, the facts and circumstance, or procedural elements have reduced their actual liability.

Networks versus associations

The vicarious liability issues carry over into operations. Regulations in the EU have been imposed that require the “networks” to define whether they are "associations" of independent firm or are more integrated networks operationally and financially.[13] Additional standards have been passed by IFAC, an independent associations of accountants, on distinguishing networks from associations. The objectives of each are to provide the clients a level of understanding about the degree of integration with each other. Examples of international associations of accounting firms include Alliott Group, Geneva Group International and Leading Edge Alliance.

Conflicts of interest

Self-definition as a network or associations may determine if there is a conflict of interest.[14] If the group is perceived as a network, it may be foreclosed from representation of clients because they cannot represent a competitor. Association members would not be foreclosed from representation because the firms are perceived as independent by clients.

Big 4 dominance of public company audits

Accounting scandals have again focused on the fact that the Big 4 has a near monopoly on audits of public companies.[15] Networks are demanding regulations on auditing to require that auditors rotate and include the smaller networks in this rotation.[16] The demands also request that mid-market firms be able to participate to break up the monopoly of the Big 4.

List of Accounting Networks and Associations
See also
  1. Mario Christodoulou (2011-03-30). "U.K. Auditors Criticized on Bank Crisis". Wall Street Journal.
  2. "Legal statement". Ernst & Young.
  3. "Deloitte". Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  4. "PwC Global Annual Review 2016" (PDF). PwC.
  5. "EY Global Review 2016 - Facts & Figures". Ernst & Young.
  6. "International Annual Review 2016 KPMG" (PDF). KPMG.
  7. Olson, W. E., “The Accounting Profession in the 20th Century”, The CPA Journal, (July 1999)
  8. For the history of accounting networks see: Stevens, The Big Six (1991); Zeff, S. A, “How the U.S. Accounting Profession Got Where jkui iujiui nit is today: Part 1” Accounting Horizons Volume 17, 189–205 (September 2003). Zeff, S. A, “How the U.S. Accounting Profession Got Where it is today: Part II” Accounting Horizons (September 2003)
  9. Baskerville, Hat, Globalization of professional accounting: The Big 8 entering New Zealand (June 2007) citing Greenwood, Cooper, Hinings, and Brown, “Biggest is best? Strategic assumptions and actions in the Canadian audit industry” Revue Canadienne des Sciences de l’Administration 10(4) 308–322 (1993)
  10. Freidheim, Cyrus, The Trillion Dollar Corporation (1999)
  11. Aharoni “Internationalization of Professional Services: Implications for the Accounting Profession” in Brock, Powell and Hindings, Restructuring the Professional Organization (1999).
  12. American Inst. of Certified Public Accountants, 113 F.T.C. 698 (1990)
  13. Networks Survey: global risk, Accountancy Age Smith, Phil November, 2008 Code of Ethics 290 revised the determination. It should be “made in light of whether a reasonable and informed third party would be likely to conclude that a network exists. A referral network is not a network by this definition. The shared costs must be significant. Common quality system and business strategies are important considerations.”
  14. OECD Report: Conflicts of Interest in Accounting and Auditing
  15. Karen Kroll, Get This: Accounting Firms are backing more regulation, CFO World Newsletter February 15, 2011
  16. Plans Grow for European Audit Cop, Wall Street Journal October 12, 2010
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Accounting networks and associations


Accounting networks and associations are professional services networks whose principal purpose is to provide members resources to assist the clients around the world and hence reduce the uncertainty by bringing together a greater number of resources to work on a problem.The networks and associations operate independently of the independent members. The largest accounting networks are known as the Big Four. The Big Four The Big Four are the four largest international professional services networks, offering audit, assurance, tax, consulting, advisory, actuarial, corporate finance, and legal services. They handle the vast majority of audits for publicly traded companies as well as many private companies, creating an oligopoly in auditing large companies. It is reported that the Big Four audit 99% of the companies in the FTSE 100, and 96% of the companies in the FTSE 250 Index, an index of the leading mid-cap listing companies. The Big Four firms are shown below, with their latest publicly available data. No ...more...

Professional services networks


Table of largest professional services networks based upon the number of partners from survey conducted in 2011 of 200 legal and accounting networks from sources above. The table does not reflect the level of development of the network. Accounting networks are far more developed. Professional services networks are networks of independent firms who come together to cost-effectively provide services to clients through an organized framework. They are principally found in law and accounting. They may also be found in investment banking, insurance, real estate and architectural services. Any profession that operates locally, but has clients in multiple locations, are potential members of a network. This entry focuses on accounting, legal, multidisciplinary and specialty practice networks. Today members of these networks employ more than one million professionals and staff and have cumulative annual revenues that exceed $200 billion. The accounting networks and associations developed first to meet the r ...more...



Accounting or accountancy is the measurement, processing, and communication of financial information about economic entities such as businesses and corporations . The modern field was established by the Italian mathematician Luca Pacioli in 1494. Accounting, which has been called the "language of business", measures the results of an organization's economic activities and conveys this information to a variety of users, including investors , creditors , management , and regulators . Practitioners of accounting are known as accountants . The terms "accounting" and "financial reporting" are often used as synonyms. Accounting can be divided into several fields including financial accounting , management accounting , external auditing , tax accounting and cost accounting . Accounting information systems are designed to support accounting functions and related activities. Financial accounting focuses on the reporting of an organization's financial information, including the preparation of financial statements , ...more...

Multidisciplinary professional services networks


Multidisciplinary professional services networks are organizations formed by law, accounting and other professional services firms to offer clients new multidisciplinary approaches solving increasingly complex issues. They are a type of professional services network which operates to provide services to their members. They operate in the same way as accounting firm networks and associations and law firm networks. They do not practice a profession such as law or accounting but provide services to members so they can serve clients needs.Aim is to provide members involved in doing business internationally with access to experienced, tried and tested, reliable, and responsive professional advisers who know their local jurisdiction intimately as well as the intricacies of cross border business. There are 10 multidisciplinary networks. The largest are: Alliott Group, MSI Global Alliance, Morison International, Geneva Group, International Practice Group, WSG - World Services Group and Russell Bedford Internati ...more...

Law firm network


A law firm network (law firm association or legal network) is a membership organisation consisting of independent law firms. These networks are one type of professional services networks similar to networks found in the accounting profession. The common purpose is to expand the resources available to each member for providing services to their clients. Prominent primarily law firm networks include Alliott Group, Lex Mundi, WSG - World Services Group (multidisciplinary), TerraLex, Meritas (law), Multilaw , The Network of Trial Law Firms, Inc., the State Capital Group, and Pacific Rim Advisory Council. The largest networks have more than 10,000 attorneys located in hundreds of offices worldwide. Table of largest law and multidisciplinary networks in July 2011 based upon a review of network websites. The firms who are part of the networks may be formally or informally linked to one another depending upon the purpose of the network. History of law firm networks Growth of networks based upon published ...more...



INPACT Global is an international group of accounting firms that provide audit, accountancy, tax, business restructuring and insolvency, corporate finance and consulting services. The alliance was established in 1989 and INPACT International together with sister alliances INPACT Americas and INPACT Asia Pacific, forms the INPACT Global. Together the alliances comprise over 160 member firms in some 250 locations in more than 70 countries. INPACT Global's legal status as an association is in accordance with the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) audit code. INPACT Global is also ranked by the International Accounting Bulletin as the 18th largest association of accounting firms in the world. At the end of 2015, the aggregated revenues of all INPACT Global member firms totalled approximately USD268 million. INPACT Global is one of 24 members of the European Group of International Accounting Networks & Associations (EGIAN) In March 2013, at the International Accounting Bulletin (IAB) Awards, the I ...more...

Chartered Institute of Management Accountants


The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants ( CIMA ) is a UK based professional body offering training and qualification in management accountancy and related subjects. It is focused on accountants working in industry, and provides ongoing support and training for members. CIMA is one of the professional associations for accountants in the UK and Ireland. Its particular emphasis is on developing the management accounting profession. CIMA is the largest management accounting body in the world with 106,095 members in 2016. CIMA is also a member of the International Federation of Accountants . History CIMA was founded in 1919 as "The Institute of Cost and Works Accountants" (ICWA). It specialised in the development of accounting techniques for use in the internal control of manufacturing, service and public sector operations. It developed a position as the leading professional body in the areas of product costing, budgeting, management accounting, investment appraisal and business decision making. In Octo ...more...



Accenture PLC is a global management consulting and professional services firm that provides strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations services. A Fortune Global 500 company, it has been incorporated in Dublin, Ireland, since 1 September 2009. In 2017, the company reported net revenues of $34.9 billion, with more than 425,000 employees serving clients in more than 200 cities in 120 countries. In 2015, the company had about 130,000 employees in India, about 48,000 in the US, and about 50,000 in the Philippines. Accenture's current clients include 95 of the Fortune Global 100 and more than three-quarters of the Fortune Global 500. Accenture common equity is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, under the symbol ACN, and was added to the S&P 500 index on 5 July 2011. History Formation and early years Accenture began as the business and technology consulting division of accounting firm Arthur Andersen in the early 1950s when it conducted a feasibility study for General Electric to inst ...more...

Professional services


Professional services are occupations in the tertiary sector of the economy requiring special training in the arts or sciences. Some professional services require holding professional licenses such as architects, auditors, engineers, doctors and lawyers. Other professional services involve providing specialist business support to businesses of all sizes and in all sectors; this can include tax advice, supporting a company with accounting, IT services or providing management advice. Definition Many industry groupings have been used for academic research when looking at professional services firms, making a clear definition hard to attain. Some work has been directed at better defining professional service firms (PSF). In particular, Von Nordenflycht generated a taxonomy of professional service firms, defining four types: Classic PSFs (e.g. law and accounting firms): characterised by a high knowledge intensity, a professionalised workforce, and low capital intensity Professional campuses (e.g. hospitals): ...more...

Alliott Group


Alliott Group is an international association of accounting firms and law firms that provide audit, accountancy, tax, corporate finance, commercial law and private client legal services. It ranks as one of more than 200 professional services networks worldwide. The association was established in 1979 and comprises over 170 member firms in some 70 countries. Member firms are independent, mid-market professional practices. At the end of 2015, Alliott Group was ranked by Accountancy Age as the 12th largest international association of accounting firms with aggregated revenues of approximately USD646 million. Alliott Group is one of 23 members of the European Group of International Accounting Networks & Associations (EGIAN) In October 2016, at the International Accounting Bulletin (IAB) Awards, Alliott Group was presented with the "2016 Rising Star International Association of Accounting Firms of the Year" award. Through its member firms, the association offers services to Small and medium-sized enterprises ...more...

CPA Canada


Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) is the national organization representing the Canadian accounting profession through the unification of the three largest accounting organizations: the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA), the Society of Management Accountants of Canada (CMA Canada) and Certified General Accountants of Canada (CGA-Canada), as well as the 40 national and provincial accounting bodies. It is one of the largest organizations of its type in the world, with over 210,000 Chartered Professional Accountants in Canada and around the world. CPA Canada conducts research on business issues, supports the setting of accounting, auditing and assurance standards for business, non-profits and government, issues guidance and leadership connected to accounting, auditing, assurance and financial literacy, and generally supports the profession of accounting in Canada. History Historically, Canada had three nationally recognized accounting classifications until 2013: Cha ...more...

Computer Sciences Corporation


CSC's branch office in El Segundo, California, USA Computer Sciences Corporation ( CSC ) was an American multinational corporation that provided information technology (IT) services and professional services. On April 3, 2017, it merged with the Enterprise Services line of business of HP Enterprise to create DXC Technology . History CSC was founded in April 1959 in Los Angeles, California, by Roy Nutt and Fletcher Jones . CSC initially provided programming tools such as assembler and compiler software. In the 1960s, CSC provided software programming services to major computer manufacturers like IBM and Honeywell and secured their first contracts for the U.S. public sector with NASA (among others). By 1963, CSC became the largest software company in the United States and the first software company to be listed on the American Stock Exchange . By the end of 1968, CSC was listed on the New York Stock Exchange and had operations in Canada, India, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Italy, Brazil, and the Nether ...more...

Supply chain management


Supply chain management field of operations: complex and dynamic supply- and demand-networks. (cf. Wieland/Wallenburg, 2011) In commerce, supply chain management (SCM), the management of the flow of goods and services, involves the movement and storage of raw materials, of work-in-process inventory, and of finished goods from point of origin to point of consumption. Interconnected or interlinked networks, channels and node businesses combine in the provision of products and services required by end customers in a supply chain. Supply-chain management has been defined as the "design, planning, execution, control, and monitoring of supply chain activities with the objective of creating net value, building a competitive infrastructure, leveraging worldwide logistics, synchronizing supply with demand and measuring performance globally." SCM practice draws heavily from the areas of industrial engineering, systems engineering, operations management, logistics, procurement, information technology, and marketi ...more...

Arthur Andersen


Arthur Andersen LLP, based in Chicago, is an American holding company. Formerly one of the "Big Five" accounting firms (along with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Ernst & Young, and KPMG), the firm had provided auditing, tax, and consulting services to large corporations. By 2001 it had become one of the world's largest multinational companies. In 2002, the firm voluntarily surrendered its licenses to practice as Certified Public Accountants in the United States after being found guilty of criminal charges relating to the firm's auditing of Enron, an energy corporation based in Texas, which filed for bankruptcy in 2001. In 2005, the Supreme Court of the United States unanimously reversed Arthur Andersen's conviction due to serious errors in the trial judge's instructions to the jury that convicted the firm. The former consultancy and outsourcing practice of the firm separated from the firm's accountancy practice in 1987, split from Andersen Worldwide in 2000, and renamed itself Acce ...more...

Institute of Management Accountants


The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) is a professional membership organization headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, United States. The organization also has offices in Zurich, Switzerland; Dubai, UAE; Shanghai and Beijing, China, and Singapore. IMA members work in business, with job responsibilities distinct from those in public accounting. IMA raises awareness of management accounting, which includes jobs in decision support, planning and control positions. With a network of more than 90,000 professionals, IMA provides certification, the Certified Management Accountant (CMA), for internal financial management responsibilities, including planning, budgeting, business reporting, decision analysis and risk management. Members can achieve career development through access to one of IMA's 200 local chapters, online professional communities, continuing education, information and resources. The Institute of Certified Management Accountants (ICMA), the certification division of IMA, awards the Certif ...more...

McKinsey & Company


McKinsey & Company is a worldwide management consulting firm. It conducts qualitative and quantitative analysis to evaluate management decisions across the public and private sectors. McKinsey publishes the McKinsey Quarterly since 1964, funds the McKinsey Global Institute research organization, publishes reports on management topics, and has authored many influential books on management. Its practices of confidentiality, influence on business practices, and corporate culture have experienced a polarizing reception. McKinsey was founded in 1926 by James O. McKinsey in order to apply accounting principles to management. McKinsey died in 1937, and the firm was restructured several times, with the modern-day McKinsey & Company emerging in 1939. Marvin Bower is credited with establishing McKinsey's culture and practices in the 1930s based on the principles he experienced as a lawyer. The firm developed an "up or out" policy, where consultants who are not promoted are asked to leave. McKinsey was the fir ...more...

BDO Global


For other uses, see BDO (disambiguation) . BDO or Binder Dijker Otte is an international network of public accounting , tax, consulting and business advisory firms which perform professional services under the name of BDO. As of 2017 BDO has member firms in 162 countries, employs around 74,000 partners and staff in over 1,500 offices throughout the world, and is the fifth largest professional services network globally. Global Fee income of all BDO Member Firms for the year ended 30 September 2017 totalled US$8.1 billion. In October 2015, BDO was announced as the winner of the Network of the Year award at the International Accounting Bulletin (IAB) Awards 2015. Each BDO member firm is an independent legal entity in its own country. The network, originally formed in 1963 as Binder Seidman International by firms from Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, UK and US, is coordinated by BDO Global Coordination B.V. , with an office in Zaventem, Belgium . The name BDO, first devised in 1973, is an abbreviation for Binder ...more...

International Accounting Bulletin


International Accounting Bulletin is a monthly accountancy trade magazine that covers the global accounting business. It is also known under the acronym IAB. History International Accounting Bulletin was first launched in 1983 as a newsletter by Michael Lafferty of the UK publisher Lafferty Group. In 2004 the newsletter was sold to UK media company VRL Knowledgebank in a deal that also included sister publication The Accountant. In 2012 VRL Financial News was bought by Progressive Digital Media. Today, the magazine is produced by an editorial team of four people in London, with correspondents in Singapore, India, Canada, Mexico and Brussels. Coverage Targeted at accounting firms, networks and associations, IAB provides data, news and analysis on mergers and acquisitions, leadership changes, network additions, strategy, financial results, lawsuits, regulation and compliance issues. International Accounting Bulletin is read by C-Level executives, in particular accounting firm leaders and strategists. ...more...

RSM International


RSM International, branded RSM, is a multi-national network of accounting firms, forming the sixth largest accountancy professional services network in the world. The member firms of RSM are independent accounting and advisory firms each of which practices in its own right, and is unified as part of the network. The network is not a separate legal entity of any description in any jurisdiction, and does not provide services. The largest member firms are RSM US, formerly known as McGladrey, the fifth largest accounting firm in the United States; RSM UK, formerly Baker Tilly LLP, the seventh largest accounting firm in the United Kingdom; and RSM China, formerly Ruihua Certified Public Accountants, the third largest accounting firm in China. Together, the North American, European, and Asia Pacific regions accounted for $4.87 billion of revenues in 2016. On October 26, 2015, all member firms of the network were rebranded as RSM. History RSM International has been in continuous existence since 1964, when it b ...more...

Accounts payable


Accounts payable (AP) is money owed by a business to its suppliers shown as a liability on a company's balance sheet. It is distinct from notes payable liabilities, which are debts created by formal legal instrument documents. An accounts payable is recorded in the Account Payable sub-ledger at the time an invoice is vouched for payment. Vouchered, or vouched, means that an invoice is approved for payment and has been recorded in the General Ledger or AP subledger as an outstanding, or open, liability because it has not been paid. Payables are often categorized as Trade Payables, payables for the purchase of physical goods that are recorded in Inventory, and Expense Payables, payables for the purchase of goods or services that are expensed. Common examples of Expense Payables are advertising, travel, entertainment, office supplies and utilities. AP is a form of credit that suppliers offer to their customers by allowing them to pay for a product or service after it has already been received. Suppliers offer ...more...

Management consulting


Management consulting is the practice of helping organizations to improve their performance, operating primarily through the analysis of existing organizational problems and the development of plans for improvement. Organizations may draw upon the services of management consultants for a number of reasons, including gaining external (and presumably objective) advice and access to the consultants' specialized expertise. As a result of their exposure to, and relationships with numerous organizations, consulting firms are typically aware of industry "best practices." However, the specific nature of situations under consideration may limit the ability to transfer such practices from one organization to another. Consultancies may also provide organizational change management assistance, development of coaching skills, process analysis, technology implementation, strategy development, or operational improvement services. Management consultants often bring their own proprietary methodologies or frameworks to guide ...more...

LEA Global


LEA Global (also known as the Leading Edge Alliance) is an international association of independent accounting firms that provide a range financial and business advisory services. Founded in 1999, LEA Global is ranked as the second largest accounting association in the world by the International Accounting Bulletin and as one of the top international associations by AccountingAge. At the end of 2013, aggregate revenues from LEA Global member firms was in excess of 2.9 billion US$. Membership LEA Global does not have a policy of open membership, but requires rigorous due diligence process before inducting new members. LEA Global firms are majority independently owned and maintain individual liability for their clients. LEA Global currently has 215 member firms, with 586 offices in more than 100 countries including 2,056 partners and 23,090 staff members. External links Official website Accounting Age International Accounting Bulletin References LEA Global "Arch ...more...

Forensic accounting


Forensic accounting , forensic accountancy or financial forensics is the specialty practice area of accounting that describes engagements that result from actual or anticipated disputes or litigation . " Forensic " means "suitable for use in a court of law", and it is to that standard and potential outcome that forensic accountants generally have to work. Forensic accountants, also referred to as forensic auditors or investigative auditors, often have to give expert evidence at the eventual trial. All of the larger accounting firms, as well as many medium-sized and boutique firms and various police and government agencies have specialist forensic accounting departments. Within these groups, there may be further sub-specializations: some forensic accountants may, for example, just specialize in insurance claims , personal injury claims, fraud , anti-money-laundering , construction , or royalty audits . Financial forensic engagements may fall into several categories. For example: Economic damages calculations ...more...

Management information system


Management information system (MIS) refers to the processing of information through computers and other intelligent devices to manage and support managerial decisions within an organization. The concept include systems termed transaction processing system, decision support system, expert system, or executive information system. The term is often used in the academic study of businesses and has connections with other areas, such as information systems, information technology, informatics, e-commerce and computer science; as a result, the term is used interchangeably with some of these fresh cut areas. Management information systems (plural) as an academic discipline studies people, technology, organizations, and the relationships among them. This definition relates to "MIS" as a course of study in business schools. Many business schools (or colleges of business administration within universities) have an MIS department, alongside departments of accounting, finance, management, marketing, and many award degre ...more...

Ernst & Young


EY (formerly Ernst & Young ) is a multinational professional services firm headquartered in London , England . EY is one of the largest professional services firms in the world and is one of the " Big Four " accounting firms. EY operates as a network of member firms which are separate legal entities in individual countries. It has 231,000 employees in over 700 offices around 150 countries in the world. It provides assurance (including financial audit ), tax , consulting and advisory services to companies. The firm dates back to 1849 with the founding of Harding & Pullein in England. The current firm was formed by a merger of Ernst & Whinney and Arthur Young & Co. in 1989. It was known as Ernst & Young until 2013, when it underwent a rebranding to EY. The acronym "EY" was already an informal name for the firm prior to its official adoption. In 2017, Fortune magazine ranked EY 29th on the 100 Best Companies to Work For list. In 2016, EY was the 11th largest privately owned organizatio ...more...



The Capital Markets Company N.V. , referred to as Capco , is a global business and technology consultancy based in London, UK with offices in financial centers across North America, South America, Europe and Asia. Capco works only in the financial services and energy industries, unlike the Big Four professional services firms. As of the October 1, 2017, Capco has more than 4,000 employees internationally, and 25 offices. Capco specializes in seven financial services sectors plus energy: banking ; capital markets ; finance, risk and compliance ; insurance ; technology ; digital and wealth and investment management . The company claims its current and past clients include about 75% of the world’s global financial services institutions. History Capco was founded in 1998 as The Capital Markets Company NV by Belgian entrepreneur Rob Heyvaert , with offices in Antwerp, London, New York, and Frankfurt. In 1999, Capco opened an office in Paris, France. In 2000, a round of strategic investment led by Thomas Weisel ...more...

Accounting scandals


Accounting scandals are business scandals which arise from intentional manipulation of financial statements with the disclosure of financial misdeeds by trusted executives of corporations or governments. Such misdeeds typically involve complex methods for misusing or misdirecting funds, overstating revenues, understating expenses, overstating the value of corporate assets or underreporting the existence of liabilities. It involves an employee, account or corporation itself and is misleading to investor and shareholders. This type of "creative accounting" can amount to fraud, and investigations are typically launched by government oversight agencies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the United States. Employees who commit accounting fraud at the request of their employers are subject to personal criminal prosecution. Two types of fraud Misappropriation of assets Misappropriation of assets, often called defalcation or employee fraud, occurs when an employee steals company's asset, w ...more...

Computer network


A computer network, or data network, is a digital telecommunications network which allows nodes to share resources. In computer networks, computing devices exchange data with each other using connections between nodes (data links.) These data links are established over cable media such as wires or optic cables, or wireless media such as WiFi. Network computer devices that originate, route and terminate the data are called network nodes. Nodes can include hosts such as personal computers, phones, servers as well as networking hardware. Two such devices can be said to be networked together when one device is able to exchange information with the other device, whether or not they have a direct connection to each other. In most cases, application-specific communications protocols are layered (i.e. carried as payload) over other more general communications protocols. This formidable collection of information technology requires skilled network management to keep it all running reliably. Computer networks suppo ...more...



A consultant (from Latin: consultare "to deliberate") is a professional who provides expert advice in a particular area such as security (electronic or physical), management, education, accountancy, law, human resources, marketing (and public relations), finance, engineering, science or any of many other specialized fields. A consultant is usually an expert or an experienced professional in a specific field and has a wide knowledge of the subject matter. The role of consultant outside the medical sphere (where the term is used specifically for a grade of doctor) can fall under one of two general categories: Internal consultant: someone who operates within an organization but is available to be consulted on areas of their specialization by other departments or individuals (acting as clients); or External consultant: someone who is employed externally to the client (either by a consulting firm or some other agency) whose expertise is provided on a temporary basis, usually for a fee. Consulting firms range in ...more...

Grant Thornton International


Grant Thornton office building Grant Thornton is the world's sixth largest professional services network of independent accounting and consulting member firms which provide assurance, tax and advisory services to privately held businesses, public interest entities, and public sector entities. Grant Thornton International Ltd is a not-for-profit, non-practising, international umbrella membership entity organised as a private company limited by guarantee. Grant Thornton International Ltd is incorporated in London, United Kingdom, and has no share capital. According to Grant Thornton International Ltd, member firms within the global organisation operate in over 130 countries. Combined global revenues from member firms in 2015 were US$4.6 billion. There are over 2,500 member firm partners and total member firm personnel of over 42,000. Early history The earliest origins of the name date back to 1904, when the UK firm of Thornton, Webb & Co was formed. Through a series of name changes this firm mer ...more...

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants


ACCA advertising on a Hong Kong tram Founded in 1904, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is the global professional accounting body offering the Chartered Certified Accountant qualification (ACCA or FCCA). From Dec 2017, ACCA recorded that it has 200,000 members and 486,000 students in 180 countries. ACCA's headquarters are in London with principal administrative office in Glasgow. ACCA works through a network of over 100 offices and centres and more than 7,200 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide employee development. The term 'Chartered' in ACCA qualification refers to the Royal Charter granted in 1974. Chartered Certified Accountant is a legally protected term. Individuals who describe themselves as Chartered Certified Accountants must be members of ACCA and if they carry out public practice engagements, must comply with additional regulations such as holding a practising certificate, carrying liability insurance and submitting to inspections. The Association of Authori ...more...

Information technology consulting


In management, information technology consulting (also called IT consulting, computer consultancy, business and technology services, computing consultancy, technology consulting, and IT advisory) as a field of activity focuses on advising organizations on how best to use information technology (IT) in achieving their business objectives. In addition to providing advice, IT consultancies often estimate, manage, implement, deploy, and administer IT systems on behalf of their client organizations - a practice known as "outsourcing". Overview The IT consulting industry can be viewed as a Four-tier system: Professional services firms which maintain large professional workforces and command high bill rates. Staffing firms, which place technologists with businesses on a temporary basis, typically in response to employee absences, temporary skill shortages and technical projects. Independent consultants, who are self-employed or who function as employees of staffing firms (for US tax purposes, employed on Form ...more...

Internet exchange point


An Internet exchange point ( IX or IXP ) is a physical infrastructure through which Internet service providers (ISPs) and content delivery networks (CDNs) exchange Internet traffic between their networks ( autonomous systems ). IXPs reduce the portion of an ISP's traffic which must be delivered via their upstream transit providers, thereby reducing the average per-bit delivery cost of their service. Furthermore, the increased number of paths available through the IXP improves routing efficiency and fault-tolerance . In addition to that, IXPs exhibit the characteristics of what economists call the network effect . Function The main building of the London Internet Exchange (LINX) The primary purpose of an IXP is to allow networks to interconnect directly, via the exchange, rather than through one or more third-party networks. The advantages of the direct interconnection are numerous, but the primary reasons are cost, latency, and bandwidth. Traffic passing through an exchange is typically not billed by any part ...more...

Institute of Certified Management Accountants


The Institute of Certified Management Accountants (ICMA) is an Australian organisation focused on management accounting, it differs from other Australian Accounting societies: CPA Australia, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia, Institute of Public Accountants due to this focus. The Institute has offices and members outside of Australia, in Asia, India, Lebanon, UK, UAE, Africa and Cyprus. Worldwide distribution of network education program, including China, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Dubai, Singapore, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Canada and the European Union. (Note that some countries have established CMA-equivalent organisations such as CMA Canada now CPA Canada (Chartered Professional Accountants) , ICWAI India and CMA Sri Lanka). The proposed merger of CMA Australia with IMA (USA) abandoned in 2006. Some discussion of becoming an IFAC member. There are four grades of membership (designations) within the Association: · Certified Management Accountant (CMA) - Require ...more...

Social accounting


Social accounting (also known as social accounting and auditing, social accountability, social and environmental accounting, corporate social reporting, corporate social responsibility reporting, non-financial reporting or accounting) is the process of communicating the social and environmental effects of organizations' economic actions to particular interest groups within society and to society at large. Social accounting is commonly used in the context of business, or corporate social responsibility (CSR), although any organisation, including NGOs, charities, and government agencies may engage in social accounting. Social Accounting can also be used in conjunction with community-based monitoring (CBM). Social accounting emphasises the notion of corporate accountability. D. Crowther defines social accounting in this sense as "an approach to reporting a firm’s activities which stresses the need for the identification of socially relevant behaviour, the determination of those to whom the company is accountab ...more...

American Payroll Association


The American Payroll Association ( APA ) is a professional association for individuals responsible for processing company payrolls. The Association conducts payroll training courses and seminars yearly and publishes a library of payroll resource texts and newsletters. The APA has approximately 21,000 members, 166 APA-affiliated local chapters, and registered lobbyists based in Washington, D.C. The APA was founded in 1982 and is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas with additional offices in New York, Las Vegas and Washington, D.C. In addition, the APA owns and operates two learning centers, the San Antonio Learning Center and MEET Las Vegas. Both Learning Centers offer payroll training utilizing the latest technology and computer networking capabilities. Education The biggest of APA’s educational offerings is its annual Congress . The event has more than 100 payroll and AP related workshops, guest speakers including government officials and industry experts, and a payroll and AP exhibit hall. The Association ...more...

Enterprise resource planning


Diagram showing some typical ERP modules Enterprise resource planning ( ERP ) is the integrated management of core business processes, often in real-time and mediated by software and technology. ERP is usually referred to as a category of business- management software — typically a suite of integrated applications —that an organization can use to collect, store, manage and interpret data from these many business activities. ERP provides an integrated and continuously updated view of core business processes using common databases maintained by a database management system . ERP systems track business resources—cash, raw materials , production capacity —and the status of business commitments: orders, purchase orders , and payroll . The applications that make up the system share data across various departments (manufacturing, purchasing, sales, accounting , etc.) that provide the data. ERP facilitates information flow between all business functions and manages connections to outside stakeholders . Enterprise sy ...more...

Project management


Project management is the discipline of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria at the specified time. A project is a temporary endeavor designed to produce a unique product, service or result with a defined beginning and end (usually time-constrained, and often constrained by funding or staffing) undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives, typically to bring about beneficial change or added value. The temporary nature of projects stands in contrast with business as usual (or operations) , which are repetitive, permanent, or semi-permanent functional activities to produce products or services. In practice, the management of such distinct production approaches requires the development of distinct technical skills and management strategies. The primary challenge of project management is to achieve all of the project goals within the given constraints. This information is usually described in project documen ...more...

Florida Institute of CPAs


The Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants (FICPA) is a professional membership organization headquartered in Tallahassee. The FICPA represents approximately 18,500 CPAs and accounting professionals in Florida and beyond. Deborah Curry, CPA, CGMA, is the FICPA's President/CEO and Joey Epstein, CPA, is the Institute's 2016-2017 Chair of the Board. The FICPA provides opportunities for professional development, knowledge sharing, networking, community involvement, leadership and camaraderie while lobbying the Florida Legislature on issues that affect CPAs and promoting the CPA designation. The FICPA also works closely with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation to warn the public from using unlicensed CPAs. It is also one of the 11 nonprofit members of the Federation of Schools of Accountancy. In December 2014, Forbes listed FICPA number 19 on The 100 Must-Follow Tax Twitter Feeds. History The FICPA was founded in 1905. Walter Mucklow, T.G. Hutchinson and two other Flori ...more...

World Services Group


WSG, also branded as World Services Group, is a multidisciplinary professional services network of independent law, accounting and investment banking firms. It ranks as one of the largest among the more than 200 professional services networks in the world. WSG members are independent law, accounting and investment banking firms. According to the organization's website as of 2016, WSG was formed in 2002 as a multidisciplinary network with the objective of bringing together professionals in a professional services network that creates business opportunities and relationships to better service their clients globally. Its members have more than 19,000 professionals in more than 115 countries in almost 400 offices. Its global headquarters are located in the Houston, Texas, History Multidisciplinary professional services networks were an important phenomenon in the late 1990s and early part of 2000. The Big 4 accounting firms were creating their own multidisciplinary networks by acquiring legal departments. Th ...more...

Accounting in Malaysia


The accountancy profession in Malaysia is regulated by the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) through the powers conferred by the Accountants Act, 1967. The MIA is an agency under the Ministry of Finance and reports directly to the Accountant General Office. As at 4 February 2016, MIA has 32,618 members of which 68% are involved in commerce and industry, 22% in public practice and 10% in government and academia. Selangor and the Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur]] Federal Territory have the largest concentration of MIA membership with 13,125 and 7,351 members respectively. MIA sets the By-Laws (On Professional conduct & Ethics) and auditing standards for the accountancy profession in Malaysia, which are in line with the standards issued by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB). Other Accountancy Bodies in Malaysia The Malaysian Institute of Certified Public Ac ...more...



Mazars is a global audit , accounting and consulting group employing more than 18,000 professionals in 79 countries through member firms. With head offices in France , Mazars has a network of correspondent partners and joint ventures in a further 21 countries and is a founding member of the Praxity alliance, a network of independent firms. Worldwide turnover for the integrated partnership for the fiscal year ending August 2014 was 1.081 billion euro. Mazars operates as a single entity as a fully integrated partnership. Mazars publicizes its consolidated financial accounts, a move it claims is unusual for private audit and advisory firms. History The original Mazars firm was formed in Rouen , Normandy in France in 1940, by Robert Mazars. Mazars stayed a local firm until the 1980s when former CEO Patrick de Cambourg started to internationalize the firm growing the business from 33 employees in 1977 to the global firm of today. France Mazars merged with accounting firm Guérard Viala to form Mazars & Guéra ...more...

Sustainability accounting


Sustainability accounting (also known as social accounting , social and environmental accounting , corporate social reporting , corporate social responsibility reporting , or non-financial reporting ) was originated about 20 years ago and is considered a subcategory of financial accounting that focus on the disclosure of non-financial information about a firm's performance to external parties such as capital holders, mainly to stakeholders, creditors and other authorities. These represent the activities that have a direct impact on society, environment, and economic performance of an organisation. Sustainability accounting in managerial accounting contrasts with financial accounting in that managerial accounting is used for internal decision making and the creation of new policies that will have an effect on the organisation's performance at economic, ecological, and social (known as the triple bottom line or Triple-P's; People, Planet, Profit ) level. The topic is fairly new and being led in Europe. Sustain ...more...

Automated Clearing House


Automated Clearing House (ACH) is an electronic network for financial transactions in the United States. ACH processes large volumes of credit and debit transactions in batches. ACH credit transfers include direct deposit, payroll and vendor payments. ACH direct debit transfers include consumer payments on insurance premiums, mortgage loans, and other kinds of bills. Debit transfers also include new applications such as the point-of-purchase (POP) check conversion pilot program sponsored by the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA). Both the government and the commercial sectors use ACH payments. Businesses increasingly use ACH online to have customers pay, rather than via credit or debit cards. ACH is a computer-based clearing and settlement facility established to process the exchange of electronic transactions between participating depository institutions. Rules and regulations that govern the ACH network are established by NACHA and the Federal Reserve. In 2015, this network processed ...more...

Data analysis techniques for fraud detection


Fraud is a billion-dollar business and it is increasing every year. The PwC global economic crime survey of 2016 suggests that more than one in three (36%) of organizations experienced economic crime. Fraud possibilities co-evolve with technology, esp. Information technology Business reengineering, reorganization or downsizing may weaken or eliminate control, while new information systems may present additional opportunities to commit fraud. Traditional methods of data analysis have long been used to detect fraud. They require complex and time-consuming investigations that deal with different domains of knowledge like financial, economics, business practices and law. Fraud often consists of many instances or incidents involving repeated transgressions using the same method. Fraud instances can be similar in content and appearance but usually are not identical. The first industries to use data analysis techniques to prevent fraud were the telephone companies, the insurance companies and the banks (Decker 1 ...more...

Association of Accounting Technicians of Sri Lanka


The Association of Accounting Technicians of Sri Lanka, or AATSL, is a Sri Lankan qualification and professional body for vocational accountants which was launched as an initiative that came through the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka). AAT is a technician level qualification offering higher apprenticeships which entitles those who have completed the exams and obtained relevant supervised work experience to become an accountant. History The need for accounting technicians were emphasized in the master plan for Accountancy Education in Sri Lanka prepared by the Asian Development Bank Inception Mission in 1986 and following that AATSL was established in Dec. 1987 on the model of the Association of Accounting Technicians (UK) and subsequently AAT Ireland (called Institute of Accounting Technicians Ireland) was formed in April 1983. Professional Recognition AAT Sri Lanka is registered under the Companies Act No 17 of 1982 and re-registered under the Companies Act No 7 of 2007, ...more...

FTI Consulting


FTI Consulting is a business advisory firm headquartered in Washington, DC. The company specializes in the fields of corporate finance and restructuring, economic consulting, forensic and litigation consulting, strategic communications and technology. Founded as Forensic Technologies International Ltd in 1982, FTI Consulting employs more than 4,600 staff in 28 countries. The firm was involved in the Lehman Brothers and General Motors bankruptcies, the investigation into the Bernard Madoff fraud, Bush v. Gore, and the Major League Baseball steroid investigation. As of September 2011, FTI Consulting had the largest restructuring business in the U.S. In 2009, FTI Consulting was listed by Fortune as one of the 100 fastest growing U.S. companies. History and Acquisitions Forensic Technologies International was founded in 1982 by two engineers, Joseph Reynolds and Daniel Luczak, to provide expert witnesses for litigation and provide visual presentations to demonstrate complex technical issues for juries. Lucza ...more...

Big Four accounting firms


The Big Four are the four largest professional services networks in the world, offering audit, assurance services, taxation, management consulting, advisory, actuarial, corporate finance and legal services. They handle the vast majority of audits for public companies as well as many private companies. It is reported that the Big Four audit 99% of the companies in the FTSE 100, and 96% of the companies in the FTSE 250 Index, an index of the leading mid-cap listing companies. The Big Four firms are shown below, with their latest publicly available data. Firm Revenues Employees Revenue per employee Fiscal year Headquarters Source Deloitte $38.8 bn 263,900 $147,025 2017 United Kingdom PwC $37.7 bn 236,235 $159,586 2017 United Kingdom EY $31.4 bn 247,570 $126,833 2017 United Kingdom KPMG $26.4 bn 197,263 $133,830 2017 Netherlands This group was once known as the "Big Eight", and was reduced to the "Big Six" and then "Big Five" by a series of mergers. The Big Five became the Big Four after the fall of Arth ...more...

CPA Australia


CPA Australia (Certified Practising Accountant) is a professional accounting body in Australia , with over 150,000 members. Founded in 1886, CPA Australia is one of the world’s largest accounting bodies, with more than 150,000 members across 121 countries. Core services to members include education, training, knowledge exchange, technical support, networking and advocacy. CPA Australia was an early entrant into the Asian market, where their involvement began in the early 1950s and was aimed at developing and strengthening the accounting profession in the region. Today almost one-quarter of CPA Australia’s members now reside outside of Australia, with over 35,000 in Asia. CPA Australia currently has 19 staffed offices across Australia, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, New Zealand and the UK. History The current form of CPA Australia dates from 1952, when the Commonwealth Institute and Federal Institute merged to create the Australian Society of Accountants. In July 1990 the name chang ...more...

Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants


The Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA), formerly the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore, is the national professional body for accountants in Singapore . It sets out to develop, support and enhance the integrity, status and interests of the accountancy profession in Singapore. Membership Base Established in 1963, the professional body now has over 28,000 members. Requirement for registration as a practising public accountant Currently, the Singapore Public Accountants Oversight Committee (PAOC) of the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority , established under the Accountants Act to determine, prescribe and review the requirements to be satisfied by people seeking to be registered as public accountants in Singapore, will not register any person as a public accountant unless the person is a member of ISCA. Working with Government and Stakeholders to Transform Singapore into a Global Accountancy Hub The Singapore Government has plans to develop Singapore into a global ...more...

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