Ernst & Young passes KPMG in accountancy firm rankings

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Ernst & Young has leapfrogged KPMG, the firm with which it is planning to merge, to become the world's second-largest accountancy firm, with total fees for the past year of $9.1bn (pounds 5.6bn), according to figures just published.

The firm, headed in the UK by Nick Land, reached the runner-up position through recording a rise in fee income of 16.7 per cent. This was the only increase in revenues that approached the 19 per cent posted by Andersen Worldwide, the global number one, says International Accounting Bulletin.

The journal, which published its annual accountancy firm ranking yesterday, points out that, although Andersen faces losing its top spot if the E&Y/KPMG merger goes ahead, it continues to grow faster than any of its main rivals. Last year, the combined revenues of the two business units - Arthur Andersen and Andersen Consulting - totalled $11.3bn. KPMG saw revenues rise 11.1 per cent to $9bn.

Coopers & Lybrand, in fourth place, saw fees rise 10.7 per cent, to $7.5bn, while sixth-placed Price Waterhouse, the firm it is planning to merge with, recorded a 12 per cent rise to $5.6bn. Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu was in fifth place with fees of $7.4bn.