How much do partners in the Big 4 really make?

ladder money referralsEveryone knows that the Big 4 partner salary is something which will make you a very rich man or woman. However, the web is full of articles estimating what that figure may be!

For example, Going Concern estimates what you can expect to make in the Big 4 US firm over a 15 year period.  Having read the article, it ESTIMATES. Yes, it ESTIMATES what they think a partner makes and then bases its analysis on this estimate. This doesn’t work for me! Big 4 bound, a US site, has an article on how much do partners really make. Once again, this web site doesn’t tell you what partners actually earn, and guesses… However, it does give you an idea of what affects a partner’s salary.

Big 4 Partner Salary

In our post on how much do Big 4 partners earn in the UK we identified from publicly available information that the average partner drawings for a big 4 partner in the UK is going to be over £500k.

However, before you mentally start salivating over that level of salary or drawings (as it is), remember:

This is the average figure.

Which means for every partner who earns over £500k, there will be a partner who earns under £500k. The partners in the top two quartiles for their average earnings will normally be:

  • senior equity partners who have built up a hefty client portfolio and network of introducers
  • in an advisory rather than assurance or compliance based function

From the information contained in Accountancy Age’s top 50+50 2013 survey, the average client portfolio per partner was significantly over £2 million.

What do partners in the Big 4 in the UK actually earn?

The annual reports of two of the Big 4 have now been published. Scores on the doors… (drum roll please)

  • PWC declared £705k of distributable profit per partner (i.e. the bit of their profits which they did share with partners) for 2012/2013 which is up 4% on last year
  • Deloitte’s distributable profit per partner was down just slightly on 2012 to £772k

KPMG and EY now declare their UK with their European firm results.

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