Ernst & Young is the fourth largest public accounting firm in the world. The firm was formed in 1989 when the third largest accounting firm at the time, Ernst & Whinney (based in Cleveland, Ohio), merged with the sixth largest firm, Arthur Young (headquartered in New York), forming what, at the time, was the world's largest accounting firm. As of 1999 Ernst & Young stood as one of the "Big Five" accounting firms that dominated the accounting business. A private partnership, Ernst & Young was owned by its senior partners. Ernst & Young provided auditing services primarily to the world's largest corporations. In addition, it specialized in tax advice for multinational firms. In recent years, the firm increasingly moved into the business of management consulting, providing guidance to clients in such areas as risk management, mergers and acquisitions, and recent trends in worker-management relations. Other service areas included consulting on information technology and legal services.

Ernst & Young experienced substantial growth in 1997, despite being hit by a $4 billion lawsuit alleging the firm mishandled the restructuring of Merry-Go-Round Enterprises in 1993. Overall revenues rose from $7.8 billion in 1996 to $9.1 billion in 1997. A substantial amount of this growth was fueled by a 30 percent surge in tax advice revenues and an 18 percent increase in worldwide tax revenues, an area in which Ernst & Young led the Big Six. The firm also boosted its efficiency in 1997, raising its revenue per employee ten percent that year, to $238,360. Revenues continued to rise spectacularly in 1998, reaching $10.9 billion, a jump of almost 20 percent.

The Big Five, as they were called with the completion of the Price Waterhouse-Coopers & Lybrand merger in 1998, continued to diversify their services in the late 1990s. Revenues from consulting on tax issues, personnel, management, property, and personal finance swamped revenues from auditing for Ernst & Young. In 1999 the firm had plans to add a worldwide law practice to its stable of services. Ernst & Young already had associated law practices in several countries by the end of the century and planned to build a global staff of 4,000 by the year 2005.


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  • 21 October 2021 1:51 am local time

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