While about 100,000 firms with combined annual revenues of approximately $120 billion make up the accounting services industry, employment in accounting typically involves working for just one of three sizes of employers:
The Big Four accounting firms -- Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG and Ernst & Young -- that together offer about 650,000 accounting jobs and bill over $100 billion annually
Midsize US accounting firms, including Grant Thornton, McGladrey & Pullen and BDO Seidman
Smaller accounting and auditing firms that primarily serve specialized industries and local businesses
The accounting services market is fragmented: The 50 largest accounting companies hold just less than 50 percent of the market, according to Hoovers. Other jobs in accounting & finance can be found at financial services and accounting companies, including payroll services providers, tax preparers, investment firms, and other similar businesses.
Accounting Job Market
Accounting and finance job opportunities are plentiful in the US and expected to stay that way. In 2010, there were more than 1.2 million US accounting and auditing workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Auditing and accounting employment is expected to grow by 16 percent between 2010 and 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations, the BLS reports. Finance and business jobs are projected to increase by 9 percent in that timeframe. Most financial professionals and managers work in banks, for insurance companies, or for investment companies. Demand is also strong for tax professionals, especially those with international tax backgrounds.
Accounting Job Salary Information
Median annual accountant and auditor salaries were $62,850 in May 2011, according to the BLS. The middle half earned between $48,920 and $83,210. The top 10 percent earned nearly $110,000. Financial managers earn a median income of $109,740 annually, while other financial analysts make about $78,620 per year.