Top accounting firms tally fastest growth in five years

Largest companies grew 9.6%, which is more than twice the 2016 rate

The province’s largest accounting firms had their fastest growth rate in five years according to data on Business in Vancouver’s Biggest Accounting Firms in B.C. list.

Over the past year, the average B.C. employee count at the largest accounting firms grew 9.6% to 365.7 in 2019 from 333.6 in 2018. The previous high was 2016’s 4.1% one-year employee growth rate, less than half the recent peak.

The head count at the five largest accounting firms in the province grew by 5.5% from 2018 to 2019, a lower rate when compared with the remainder of the list. However, the most recent growth was higher than the 4.1% one-year employee growth rate experienced by the top five in 2018.

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The growth in employee numbers in 2018 from 2017 was less than half of the 8.5% revenue growth the top five experienced during the same period.

Not all of the top five accounting firms increased their local employee base over the past five years. Between 2014 and 2018, PwC’s local employee base declined 15% to 760 in 2018 from 894 in 2014. Some of these losses have been recovered with a 3.9% increase in local employment in 2019.

BDO Canada LLP had the largest five-year growth, with employee numbers rising 74.6% to 824 in 2018, up from 472 in 2014. This growth continued into 2019 with local employment increasing by an additional 3.3%.

MNP LLP had the second-largest five-year employee growth at 63.4%, increasing to 923 employees in 2018 from 565 in 2014. Over the past year MNP’s growth continued with the addition of 84 employees or at 9.1%.

MNP’s revenue growth over the five-year period ending in 2018 almost mirrored the growth in its head count, increasing 68.8% to $852.5 million, up from $505 million in 2014. The company also boasted the largest one-year revenue growth at 12.2%.