'Big 4' salaries, revealed: How much Deloitte, KPMG, EY, and PwC accountants and consultants make, from entry level to executive roles

  • In 2019, the so called "Big Four" accounting firms — PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), KPMG, Ernst & Young (EY), and Deloitte — employed well over a million people. 
  • These firms are known for paying employees six-figure salaries right out of business school. 
  • To figure out how much accountants and consultants make at these firms, Business Insider analyzed the US Office of Foreign Labor Certification's 2020 disclosure data for permanent and temporary foreign workers.
  • For example, some analysts and auditors made more than $120,000 at Ernst & Young (EY), principals were given up to $950,000 in compensation at KPMG, and managers at PwC made $123,019 or more. 
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. 

The so called "Big Four" accounting firms — PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), KPMG, Ernst & Young (EY), and Deloitte — are known for paying their staff high salaries. 

In 2019, the four firms combined employed well over a million people worldwide. New hires typically earn six-figure salaries from the get-go. An entry-level consultant who just graduated from business school can make more than $200,000 a year at the four firms when you include base salary, bonuses, and relocation expenses. 

The Big Four firms are planning to hire in 2021. A spokeswoman at PwC previously told Insider that the firm typically brings in 13,000 entry-level and experienced employees on a yearly basis, and its hiring volume for interns and full-time workers will be similar this year. Deloitte and EY are both planning to expand their workforces in India.

Insider analyzed the US Office of Foreign Labor Certification's 2020 disclosure data for permanent and temporary foreign workers to find out what PwC, KPMG, EY, and Deloitte paid employees for jobs ranging from entry-level to executive roles. The salary data analyzed were based across the US. 

We looked through entries specifically for roles related to management consulting and accounting. Performance bonuses, signing bonuses, and compensation other than base salaries are not reflected in this data.

Here's how much PwC, KPMG, EY, and Deloitte paid their hires last year. 

Deloitte paid consultants as much as $122,100, and senior managers $187,253.

Deloitte is organized into three main service areas that offer different salaries. These areas include the human capital division, the strategy and operations division, and the technology division. Deloitte had the greatest number of employees, topping 312,028 in 2019, according to research platform Statista.

It also applied for the greatest number of visas compared to other leading consultancies. The company applied for 7,444 visas in the last half of 2019 and the first half of 2020. Deloitte did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the salary data. 

Deloitte delayed many of its full-time hires' start dates, shortened internship programs for students, and laid off 5,000 US workers and 200 people in Canada in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Here are the salary ranges for consulting and accounting roles: 

  • Analyst: $58,261 to $116,500 (includes analysts specialized in business, human capital, project delivery, and solutions) 
  • Consultant: $91,000 to $122,100 
  • Senior consultant: $81,167 to $118,384
  • Manager: $107,640 to $160,480 
  • Senior manager: $187,253
  • Consulting managing director: $191,300 
  • Audit and assurance assistant: $58,822 
  • Tax consultant: $47,570 to $55,195
  • Tax senior manager: $124,909

Advisory principals at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) made up to $804,751.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a global professional services firm with more than $42 billion in revenue, is still hiring during the coronavirus pandemic. The company not only welcomed 3,500 students for a virtual internship this summer, but it also extended full-time offers to the upcoming undergraduate intern class for 2021. 

In 2019, PwC applied for 804 visas. Here are the salary ranges for both consulting and accounting roles. PwC declined to comment on the salary data. 

  • Associate: $70,041 to $137,255 (includes advisory and tax)
  • Senior associate: $103,500 to $183,000 (includes advisory and assurance)
  • Manager: $123,019 to $265,167 (includes advisory, tax, and assurance) 
  • Senior manager: $136,227 to $280,591 (includes advisory and assurance) 
  • Director: $191,500 to $388,750 (includes advisory, tax and assurance) 
  • Advisory principal: $804,751

KPMG offered senior business analysts a salary of $119,000.

KPMG has more than 219,000 employees worldwide working out of over 650 offices. The firm applied for 434 visas last year. A company spokesman previously shared that the firm had planned to bring in 2,300 virtual interns during the pandemic, and these students would receive full-time job offers for 2021. 

KPMG declined to comment on the salary data. 

Here are the salary ranges for consultants, accountants, and leadership at KPMG. 

  • Associate: $64,608 to $77,963
  • Senior associate: $86,714 to $109,594 
  • Senior business analyst: $119,000
  • Lead specialist: $133,755 to $166,100
  • Senior specialist: $99,679 to $132,778
  • Manager: $120,024 to $155,997
  • Senior manager: $123,556 to $189,345 
  • Associate director: $155,098 to $169,050
  • Director: $170,000 to $260,000 
  • Managing director: $237,202 to $388,600 
  • Executive director: $197,142 to $408,700 
  • Principal: $420,000 to $950,000

Analysts at Ernst & Young (EY) made salaries ranging from $77,500 to $167,782.

EY is letting its its 284,000 global employees get an online MBA for free during the pandemic. 

The professional-services firm reportedly deferred promotions and bonuses amid the global economic slowdown caused by the pandemic. It also pressed pause on hiring in April, according to LinkedIn. 

In 2019, EY applied for 6,761 visas. The firm did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the salary data. Here are the salary ranges for consultants, accountants, auditors, and chief executives at the firm: 

  • Accountants and auditors: $80,851 to $122,900 
  • Analyst: $77,500 to $167,782 (This salary range includes analysts specialized in management, market research, operation research, logistics, finance, information security, customer systems, computer systems, business intelligence, and climate change.)
  • Actuaries: $135,801
  • Economist: $110,817
  • Risk management specialist: $108,218
  • Financial specialist: $98,949
  • Financial manager: $114,763
  • Statistician: $113,062
  • Chief executive: $775,000

Read more: 

  • Chief innovation officers from PwC, Deloitte, KPMG, and EY share the best pivot and growth strategies they've learned over the past 4 months coaching billion-dollar businesses
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  • 23 books management consultants from firms like McKinsey and Bain recommend for anyone who wants to make smarter business decisions
  • A top EY executive who built the 'Big 4' firm's $10 billion global consulting practice is living with dyslexia. Here's how he's overcome his diagnosis and what you can learn from his personal strategies.

If you have a tip about a management consulting firm you'd like to share with Business Insider please email Weng Cheong at [email protected] 

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