| Since its commencement in 2003, CICPA has published an annual listing of the top 100 CPA firms in China. In July 2012, CICPA published the 2011 top 100 CAP firms.
CICPA evaluates a particular CPA firm in the following five categories:
(1) total revenues of the CPA firm;
(2) revenues of other entities that are commonly operated by the CPA firm;
(3) number of CPAs in the firm;
(4) overall auditing quality of the firm; and
(5) (negative) indicator of criminal punishment, civil punishment, or industry punishment.
The five categories can be disaggregated into 15 sub-categories including firm size, composition of revenues, high-end audit business, international business, internal governance, human resources, personnel training, information technology, quality control, branch office management, financial accounting, business ethics, Communist Party construction, innovation, and social responsibility. The ranking reflects an overall evaluation of the above categories.
The 2011 ranking shows that the top ten CPA firms are: PricewaterhouseCoopers Zhong Tian, Deloitte Hua Yong, Ernst & Young Hua Ming, KPMG Hua Zhen, BDO China, RSM China, Pan-China, Shinewing, Crowe Horwath, and Da Hua.
Not surprisingly, the Big 4 CPA firms rank as the top four. While the Big 4 earned around one third of the total revenues in 2011, they only owned around 10% of the market share in terms of number of clients.
A deeper look at the clients of Big 4 shows that in 2011, the Big 4 served around 150 firms (6.3% of the total listed firms in China) and some unlisted large-sized state owned enterprises.
The main purpose of publishing the ranking is to help the firms, especially the listed firms to gain a better understanding of the CPA industry so that they can choose a CPA firm that suits them best. The ranking also helps Ministry of Finance (MoF) to choose a CPA firm for the central government owned enterprises. The MoF requires that only top 100 CPA firms are allowed to audit central government owned enterprises. The MoF also commands that the audit tenure should be more than two years but less than five years. However, if the CPA firm ranks in the top 15, the audit tenure can be extended to a maximum of eight years.