Five things you need to know about the 'Big Four'
With these companies employing thousands of people across the world and generating billions of dollars in revenues, here are five things worth knowing about them.
One: Originally there were eight
Originally the big four was known as "the big eight" (Arthur Andersen, Arthur Young, Coopers and Lybrand, Ernst & Whinney, Deloitte Hankins & Sells, Peat Marwick Mitchell – which became KPMG – Price Waterhouse, and Touche Ross).
However it was reduced the "big six" and then "the big five" following a series of mergers.
The "big five" became the "big four" following the Enron scandal in the US, which resulted in the closure of Arthur Andersen for a conviction relating to Enron that was later overturned.
Two: None are a single entity
None of the four companies are actually a single stand-alone entity, instead they are made up of networks of firms, each owned and managed independently in numerous countries around the world.
Three: UK headquarters
Three of the big four (Deloitte, PwC, and EY) have their headquarters in the UK. KPMG however is headquartered in the Netherlands.
Four: Graduate Programmes
Each of the four offer graduate programmes to third level graduates every year. PwC for example hire in excess of 600 graduates, interns and placement students across the firm each year in Ireland. Roles are offered across the areas of consulting, tax, assurance, risk assurance and deals.
In addition, the consulting firms may offer summer internships to students.
Five: Market standing
It has previously been reported by the Wall Street Journal that the "big four" audit 99pc of companies that are listed on the FTSE 100 – the share index of the top 100 companies on the London Stock Exchange as measured by market capitalisation.