Ernst & Young Profile

Ernst & Young: Finance experts across the globe

BY :  Maryalene LaPonsie | November 05, 2013

With perhaps one of the most recognizable names in the industry, Ernst & Young is in an elite category. It holds the distinction of being one of the world's four largest public accounting firms, otherwise known as the Big Four.

The company employed approximately 167,000 workers worldwide in 2012 and provides audit and non-audit services to 80 percent of the Fortune Global 500 companies. Serving industries as diverse as the public sector, health care, oil and gas and life sciences, Ernst & Young not only offers a wide range of employment opportunities for experienced professionals but also maintains learning and development programs for accounting students.

History of Ernst & Young

Ernst & Young was not always the global powerhouse it is today. Its humble origins can be traced back to 1849 when the firm that would eventually become Ernst & Young was founded.

In that year, Harding and Pullein was formed in England. The company would add partners and change names during the next 75 years until 1924 when it allied itself with Ernst & Ernst, an accounting firm founded in Cleveland in 1903.

Meanwhile, Arthur Young was busy making a name for himself in Chicago. He started his first firm in 1894 and would go on to create Arthur Young & Company in 1903.

Ernst & Whinney and Arthur Young & Co - the names given to each company at the time - operated separately until 1989. In that year, the two merged to create the company now known as Ernst & Young.

Although the company carries a storied reputation, Ernst & Young has not been without controversy. During the savings and loan scandal of the early 1990s, improprieties were discovered in some of the audits Ernst & Young performed for 23 of the institutions. The company paid millions in fines but has since recovered from the scandal.

Ernst & Young areas of expertise

Currently, the accounting firm provides services in five areas:

  • Advisory
  • Assurance
  • Tax
  • Transactions
  • Strategic growth

In addition, Ernst & Young provides specialty services in China, France and Japan. It is also involved in climate change and sustainability services.

According to its Global Review 2012, the company's advisory business saw the most growth in that year and increased by 16.2 percent. Assurance, tax and transaction revenues also increased. In 2012, Ernst & Young had combined global revenues of $24.4 billion, a 6.7 percent increase from 2011.

The firm notes its strongest-performing sectors are automotive, mining and metals, oil and gas and life sciences. All experienced double digit growth in 2012.

Opportunities for students at Ernst & Young

For those earning accounting degrees, Ernst & Young offers training opportunities that give students access to one of the world's most respected firms.

Students can apply to work in advisory, assurance, tax or transaction services and may participate in either short-term leadership programs or longer, more intensive internships. Ernst & Young also offers a Global Student Experience Program for those who are interested in working internationally.

Those interested in student programs must go through a rigorous application and interview process. While Ernst & Young has high standards, it also indicates it is interested in promoting diversity within its workforce. For example, in 2012, one quarter of the company's new partners were women.

As a leader in finance, Ernst & Young may be an excellent career path for those who want the opportunity to pursue employment in a variety of work environments. The company operates in virtually every region of the world and maintains approximately 600 offices, with 100 of those located in the United States.

Ernst & Young has its global headquarters in London while U.S. operations are based in New York City.


  • A timeline of our history, Ernst & Young, October 31, 2013 -- %20-Key-Facts-and-Figures%20 -- %20-History%20 -- %20-Timeline
  • Facts and Figures, Global review 2012, Ernst & Young, October 31, 2013 -- %20-Facts-and-figures#1
  • Careers and Students, Ernst & Young, October 31, 2013
  • Ernst & Young History, Funding Universe, October 31, 2013