Accounting firms make adjustments for a post-COVID age – Crain’s Chicago Business


Many of Chicago’s largest accounting firms are embracing work-from-home policies, judging from the responses in our annual survey sent to the region’s leading accounting firms. Half of the 30 firms on this year’s full digital list answered pandemic-related questions. Of these respondents, 73.3% will allow employees to work remotely at least part time as the pandemic recedes; 40% will permit employees to work remotely full time.

The most common factor driving organizations’ work-from-home decisions is to meet their employees’ preferences for a flexible work environment. Despite firms’ efforts to establish a hybrid or fully remote environment, 46% of respondents have no plans to change their use of office space. Nearly 38.5% of firms are discussing whether to reduce office space in the future but haven’t reached a decision.

COVID concerns aside, the order of this year’s list—which is ranked by local professional staff as of June 30—hasn’t changed much from previous years. The first 15 companies on our top 25 maintain the same rankings from last year. Deloitte, Ernst & Young and PwC hold their recurrent No. 1, 2 and 3 spots, respectively. Ernst & Young also reported the most local CPAs, a total of 1,006.

Despite a repeat in most companies’ rankings, this year’s list saw an increase in full-time local professional staff. This year’s top 25 companies employed a total of 22,911 local professionals, a nearly 5.7% increase from last year’s top 25.

Marcum saw the largest increase in local professional staff. The firm bumped its way up from last year’s No. 21 to this year’s No. 16 with a 19% increase. Marcum employed 175 professionals in the Chicago area.

BKD fell from last year’s No. 17 to this year’s No. 20 with the largest decrease in local professionals. It saw an 11.8% decrease and employed 150 professionals in the Chicago area as June 30.

There are 30 firms in the full Excel version of the list, which includes more executives and more data. Visit the Crain’s Data Center to see what details are included in the Excel version, which is available exclusively to Crain’s Data Members.

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