Growth slows at the province’s top accounting firms

Average B.C. employment grew 3.2% in 2021 compared with 9.4% in 2020

B.C.’s top accounting firms reported better growth during the height of the pandemic than they did the following year as the province began returning to normal, according to data collected for Business in Vancouver’s Biggest Accounting Firms in B.C. list (page 12).

Over the past year, average B.C. employment grew 3.2% to 412.6 employees in 2021 from 400 in 2020. However, during the previous year, local staff and accountants at the top firms grew 9.3% from 365.7 in 2019.

No. 8 Baker Tilly recorded the largest growth on the list, increasing its number of B.C. employees 17.6% to 287 in 2021 from 244 in 2020.

Accounting employment 2021 b

The growth in the median number of B.C. employees was significantly more than the average over both a one-year and five-year period. Over the past five years, the median number of local accountants and B.C. staff grew 67.4%, to 241 in 2021 from 144 in 2017, more than double the rate of average growth for the same period. Over the past year the median number of employees at the top accounting firms in B.C. grew 5.5% from 228.5 in 2020. This suggests that smaller firms lower on the list are growing at a greater rate than bigger companies higher on the list.

While all of the top five firms, with the exception of No. 5 PwC Canada, have posted employment growth in B.C. since 2017, the past year was more of a mixed bag. Two companies showed declines in staff numbers; the largest accounting firm in the province, No. 1 KPMG, did not increase its employee numbers while the second and third largest firms, MNP and Deloitte respectively, each added staff.