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TypeMembers have different legal structures; both UK and US firms are actually limited liability partnerships
IndustryProfessional services
(Price Waterhouse)
(Coopers & Lybrand)[1]
HeadquartersLondon, England, UK[2]
Area served
Key people
Robert Moritz (Chairman)[3]
Tax Advisory
Tax Controversy
Strategy Consulting
Data & Analytics
Management Consulting
Financial Advisory
RevenueIncrease US$43.0 billion (2020)[4]
Number of employees
276,000 (2019)[5]

PricewaterhouseCoopers is a multinational professional services network of firms, operating as partnerships under the PwC brand. PwC ranks as the second-largest professional services network in the world[6] and is considered one of the Big Four accounting firms, along with Deloitte, EY and KPMG.[7]

PwC firms operate in 157 countries, 742 locations, with 276,000 people. As of 2019, 26% of the workforce worked in the Americas, 26% in Asia, 32% in Western Europe and 5% in Middle East and Africa.[8] The company's global revenues were $42.4 billion in FY 2019, of which $17.4 billion was generated by its Assurance practice, $10.7 billion by its Tax and Legal practice and $14.4 billion by its Advisory practice.[9]

The firm in its present form was created in 1998 by a merger between two accounting firms; Coopers & Lybrand, and Price Waterhouse. Both firms had histories dating back to the 19th century. The trading name was shortened to PwC (on-logo writing pwc) in September 2010 as part of a rebranding effort.[10]

PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited, based in London, England,[11] is a co-ordinating entity for the global network of firms. It manages the global brand, and develops policies and initiatives, to create a common and coordinated approach in areas such as risk, quality, and strategy. It does not provide services to clients.[12]

As of 2020, PwC is the fifth-largest privately owned company in the United States.[13]


The firm was created in 1998 when Coopers & Lybrand merged with Price Waterhouse.

Coopers & Lybrand[edit]

In 1854, William Cooper founded an accountancy practice in London, England. It became Cooper Brothers seven years later when his three brothers joined.

In 1898, Robert H. Montgomery, William M. Lybrand, Adam A. Ross Jr. and his brother T. Edward Ross formed Lybrand, Ross Brothers and Montgomery in the United States.

In 1957, Cooper Brothers, along with Lybrand, Ross Bros & Montgomery and a Canadian firm (McDonald, Currie and Co.), agreed to adopt the name Coopers & Lybrand in international practice. In 1973, the three member firms in the UK, US and Canada changed their names to Coopers & Lybrand.[14] Then in 1980, Coopers & Lybrand expanded its expertise in insolvency substantially by acquiring Cork Gully, a leading firm in that field in the UK.[15] In 1990, in certain countries, including the UK, Coopers & Lybrand merged with Deloitte, Haskins & Sells to become Coopers & Lybrand Deloitte; in 1992 they reverted to Coopers & Lybrand.[16]

Price Waterhouse[edit]

In 1849, Samuel Lowell Price, an accountant, founded an accountancy practice in London, England.[17] In 1865, Price went into partnership with William Hopkins Holyland and Edwin Waterhouse.[17] Holyland left shortly afterwards to work alone in accountancy and the firm was known from 1874 as Price, Waterhouse & Co.[17] The original partnership agreement, signed by Price, Holyland, and Waterhouse could be found in Southwark Towers.[18]

By the late 19th century, Price Waterhouse had gained recognition as an accounting firm. As a result of growing trade between the United Kingdom and the United States, Price Waterhouse opened an office in New York in 1890, and the American firm expanded. The original British firm opened an office in Liverpool in 1904 and then elsewhere in the United Kingdom and worldwide, each time establishing a separate partnership in each country: the worldwide practice of PW was, therefore, a federation of collaborating firms that had grown organically rather than being the result of an international merger.[17]

In a further effort to take advantage of economies of scale, PW and Arthur Andersen discussed a merger in 1989[19] but the negotiations failed, mainly because of conflicts of interest such as Andersen's strong commercial links with IBM and PW's audit of IBM, as well as the radically different cultures of the two firms. It was said by those involved with the failed merger that at the end of the discussion, the partners at the table realized they had different views of business, and the potential merger was scrapped.[20]

1998 to present[edit]

In 1998, Price Waterhouse merged with Coopers & Lybrand to form PricewaterhouseCoopers (written with a lowercase "w" and a camelcase "C").[21]

After the merger, the firm had a large professional consulting branch, as did other major accountancy firms, generating much of its fees. The major cause for growth in the 1990s was the implementation of complex integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems for multi-national companies. PwC came under increasing pressure to avoid conflicts of interest by not providing some consulting services, particularly financial systems design and implementation, to its audit clients. Since it audited a large proportion of the world's largest companies, this was beginning to limit its consulting market. These conflicts increased as additional services including outsourcing of IT and back-office operations were developed. For these reasons, in 2000, Ernst & Young was the first of the Big Four to sell its consulting services, to Capgemini.[22][23]

The fallout from the Enron, Worldcom and other financial auditing scandals led to the passage of the Sarbanes–Oxley Act (2002), severely limiting interaction between management consulting and auditing (assurance) services. PwC Consulting began to conduct business under its own name rather than as the MCS division of PricewaterhouseCoopers. PwC, therefore, planned to capitalize on MCS's rapid growth through its sale to Hewlett Packard (for a reported $17 billion) but negotiations broke down in 2000.[24]

In 2000, PwC acquired Canada's largest SAP consulting partner, Omnilogic Systems.[25]

In March 2002, Arthur Andersen, LLP affiliates in Hong Kong and China completed talks to join PricewaterhouseCoopers, China.[26]

PwC announced in May 2002 that its consulting activities would be spun off as an independent entity and hired an outside CEO to run the global firm. An outside consultancy, Wolff Olins, was hired to create a brand image for the new entity, called "Monday".[27] The firm's CEO, Greg Brenneman described the unusual name as "a real word, concise, recognizable, global and the right fit for a company that works hard to deliver results."[28] These plans were soon revised, however. In October 2002, PwC sold the entire consultancy business to IBM for approximately $3.5 billion in cash and stock. PwC's consultancy business was absorbed into IBM Global Business Services, increasing the size and capabilities of IBM's growing consulting practice.[29]

PwC began rebuilding its consulting practice with acquisitions such as Paragon Consulting Group and the commercial services business of BearingPoint in 2009.[30] The firm continued this process by acquiring Diamond Management & Technology Consultants in November 2010[31] and PRTM in August 2011.[32] In 2012, the firm acquired Logan Tod & Co, a digital analytics and optimisation consultancy,[33] and Ant's Eye View, a social media strategy development and consulting firm to build upon PwC's growing Management Consulting customer impact and customer engagement capabilities.[34]

On 30 October 2013, the firm announced that it would acquire Booz & Company, including the company's name and its 300 partners, after a December vote by Booz & Company partners authorized the deal. On 3 April 2014,[35] Booz & Company combined with PwC to form Strategy&.[36][37]

On 4 November 2013, the firm acquired BGT Partners, a 17-year-old digital consultancy.[38]

In October 2016, PwC and InvestCloud, LLC, the world's largest Digital App Platform announced that they entered into a non-exclusive joint business relationship, designed to accelerate adoption and implementation of the InvestCloud Digital App Platform. PwC will be a preferred implementation and strategic partner of InvestCloud focused on enterprise delivery and innovative development of new financial app capabilities.[39]

In November 2016, PwC acquired technology/consulting firm NSI DMCC, Salesforce's largest implementation partner in the Middle East.[40]

In January 2017, PwC announced a five-year agreement with GE to provide managed tax services to GE on a global basis, transferring more than 600 of GE's in-house global tax team to PwC. In addition, PwC would acquire GE's tax technologies and provide managed services not only to GE but also to other PwC clients as well.[41]

In November 2017, PwC accepted bitcoin as payment for advisory services, the first time the company, or any of the Big Four accounting firms, accepted virtual currency as payment.[42]

Veritas Capital acquired PwC's US public sector business in 2018, and branded the new company as Guidehouse.[43][44]

In February 2020, PwC announced a new collaboration with technology firm ThoughtRiver to launch AI-driven LawTech products aimed at standardizing PwC's service of UK law clients.[45]


PwC's operations are global, with Europe accounting for 36% of the total, and the Americas 44%, as of 2016.[46][47] PwC's largest growth in FY18 was in Asia where revenues were up 15%, followed by 12% revenue growth from the Middle East and Africa.[48]

Service lines[edit]

PwC is organized into the following three service lines (the 2017 revenue shares are listed in parentheses):[49]

  • Assurance (41%) – Assurance services are those typically associated with financial audits
  • Advisory (33%) – Advisory services offered by PwC include two actuarial consultancy departments; Actuarial and Insurance Management Solutions (AIMS) and a sub branch of "Human Resource Services" (HRS). Actuarial covers mainly 5 areas: pensions, life insurance, non-life insurance, health, and investments. AIMS deals with life and non-life insurance and investments, while HRS deals mainly with pensions and group health.[50] PwC has also expanded into the digital media and advertising space.[51]
  • Tax (25%) – International tax planning and compliance with local tax laws, customs, human resource consulting, legal services and transfer pricing

Data analysis[edit]

Due to its size, PwC is able to contribute data analysis to a wide range of areas.

  • Calculation of the drone market size: PwC published a 2016 report stating that the world drone market would reach close to $127 billion by 2020, with Poland at the forefront of legislation for the commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles.[52][53]
  • PwC coined the term E7 to describe the seven emerging economies which the company is predicting will take over today's G7 nations by the year 2050. Those seven emerging nations are China, Russia, India, Mexico, Indonesia, Turkey and Brazil.[54]
  • PwC assesses a country's risk premium, an important factor in analyzing the valuation of an entity.[55][56]
  • The company analyzes pay parity, the comparative salaries for men versus women. In early 2017 PwC found in its Women in Work Index study that it could take the UK 24 years, until 2041, to close its gender pay gap.[57]
  • PwC publishes the Low Carbon Economy Index, which tracks the extent to which the G20 countries are reducing carbon emissions.[58][59][60][61]
  • The Economy of the Sea is a long-term analysis project of PwC Portugal. It is part of the HELM project, launched in 2006 to create an integrated approach to successful and sustainable maritime practices. It analyses best practices around the world and compiles data from industries that rely or work on the sea and the nations that use it.[62][63]
  • PwC developed the Total Impact Measurement and Management (TIMM) framework, designed to assist companies in carrying out impact studies which will help them put a value on all of a company's activities, products or services.[64][65]


PwC has partners in approximately 800 offices across 157 countries with 200,000 employees.[66][67]

Notable offices: Seaport office tower in Boston;[68] and Magwa Crescent Waterfall City tower in Midrand, South Africa.[69]

Legal structure[edit]

PwC refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity due to local legislative requirements.[70] Much like other professional services firms, each member firm is financially and legally independent. PwC is co-ordinated by a private company limited by guarantee under English law, called PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited.[71] In addition, PwC is registered as a multidisciplinary entity which also provides legal services.[72]


The PricewaterhouseCoopers name was formed by the combination of the names of Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand, following their merger in 1998. On 20 September 2010, PricewaterhouseCoopers rebranded as PwC, although the legal name of the firm remained PricewaterhouseCoopers.[10]


The following are the several logos the company has used through the years. The current PwC logo was introduced in September 2010, when the company changed its trading name from PricewaterhouseCoopers to PwC. It was designed by Wolff Olins.[73][74][75]

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences[edit]

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has utilized the services of PwC to tally the votes for the Academy Awards since 1935.[76] In addition, the company oversees AMPAS elections, prepares its financial documents, and is responsible for the group's tax filings.[77]

Best Picture announcement error[edit]

At the 89th Academy Awards in 2017 La La Land was incorrectly announced as the winner of Best Picture after PwC partner Brian Cullinan gave presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway the wrong envelope. PwC was responsible for tabulating the results, preparing the envelopes, and handing them to presenters.[78] It was called "as bad a mess-up as you could imagine."[79] The firm took "full responsibility" for handing the presenters the wrong envelope and apologized for the error,[80] acknowledging that Cullinan and PwC partner Martha Ruiz did not follow protocols for correcting the error quickly. In March 2017, the board of governors for the Academy voted to retain the services of accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, despite the mix-up, saying “new protocols have been established including greater oversight from PwC's U.S. chairman Tim Ryan.”[81]



PwC sponsors the Canadian Football League’s Weekly Insights online magazine.[82]

Since 2011 PwC has been sponsoring the Royal Belgian Football Association and the national team, the Red Devils.[83]

The firm sponsored nine Canadian athletes in 2011: cyclist Ryder Hesjedal; Olympic gold medalist speed skaters Charles and François Hamelin; wrestler Carol Huynh; para-alpine skier Matt Hallatt; and four additional athletes.[84]

PwC has sponsored the Dutch national soccer team, since 1992.[85]

In 2012 PwC extended its sponsorship of the Players Championship of the Professional Golfer’s Association (PGA) through 2017. The company was one of only two sponsors of the annual PGA Tour event which is held every year at TPC Sawgrass.[86]

In May 2016 PwC agreed to renew their sponsorship of the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) for four more years. The sponsorship includes PwC continuing to be the official sponsor of the Ireland U20, Ireland U19, and Ireland U18 teams.[87]


PwC sponsors Canada's CFO of the year award.[88]

PwC created “The Building Public Trust in Corporate Reporting Awards” (BPTA) in 2002 which now covers the FTSE 100, FTSE 250, private, public and charity sectors for a total of 18 awards.[89]


In 2010 Startupbootcamp Copenhagen announced that PwC Denmark signed a sponsorship agreement with them, making PwC its first signed sponsor.[90]

In 2010 PwC began sponsoring the international non-profit organization Slush which organizes events that match entrepreneurs and technology talent with major corporations and investors.[91]

PwC sponsors Fast Growth Icons, a conference which highlights insights from the builders of successful businesses; a group of attendees who are founders of companies with rapid revenue growth; and offering tips and hands-on learning in founder-to-founder sessions.[92]

The PwC Social Entrepreneurs Club sponsors members through community partners including the School for Social Entrepreneurs and Social Enterprise UK.[93]


In February 2011 PwC was the sponsor of the televised debate “The Future of Employment: The West Isn't Working,” filmed at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting.[94] The company has been a strategic partner with the WEF since the 1980s.[95]

PwC sponsors a Charitable Foundation, founded in 1949, whose mission it is to “make contributions to the people of the firm in times of financial hardship through the people who care fund, and to nonprofit organizations that support and promote education and humanitarianism.[96]

In 2016 PwC was a sponsor of the APEC CEO Summit held in Peru.[97][98]

The company is a sponsor of the Mobile World Congress,[99] and the World Economic Forum.[100]

PwC sponsors PwC Pantomime, a theater group in the UK that produces a full scale pantomime show whose aim is to bring joy to children from inner-city schools and charities.[101] In 2017 their production of Hansel and Gretel was its 31st pantomime production as part of its community Affairs Program that supports the local community.[102]

The firm is partners with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of the Netherlands.[103]

PwC sponsors the Buy Social Campaign, the flagship campaign of Social Enterprise UK, which builds markets for social enterprises in the public and private sectors. The Buy Social Corporate Challenge is co-sponsored by PwC, Social Enterprise UK, and the Cabinet Office to bring high-profile businesses together to commit to spending £1 billion with social enterprises by 2020.[104]

The firm supports London’s Old Vic Theater.[105]

Wellbeing of Women is a non-profit organization that works to improve the health of women and babies, supported by PwC.[106]

PwC sponsors the yearly UK Private Business Awards.[107][108]

Corporate affairs and culture[edit]

The company employs large numbers of young workers, with 80% of their workforce millennials as of 2017.[109] According to PwC, the company uses education to bridge the culture gap between generations.[109] The firm also implements a three-step “Connect-Embed-Improve" plan to promote employee engagement.[110] The company requires senior-level staff to continue to train and learn; PwC also created a social collaboration platform called Spark to enable employees to access course materials and assignments, complete prerequisites and access reinforcement materials.[111]

In 2016, Tim Ryan, PwC's chairman, helped launch the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion coalition, the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace.[112][113][114]

Employees at PwC can choose their own working hours, unless senior management deems the arrangement impossible.[115][116]

In 2002 PwC published the accounting profession's first global “Code of Conduct”.[117][118]

Strategy& and PwC publish Strategy+Business, a print and online business magazine focusing on management issues and corporate strategy.[119]


In 2014 Google announced its partnership with PwC to drive cloud adoption among businesses.[120] Partnering with Google is part of PwC's decision to begin to move its own business to the cloud.[121][122] PwC is one of three million business customers using paid services through G Suite, previously known as Apps for Work.[123]

PwC partners with the United Nations to help keep the international organization's monitoring systems up to date.[124] PwC is also one of the founding partners with the UN Women HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 Initiative, launched in 2015 to advance gender equality.[125] The initiative created an online course which aims to increase awareness of unconscious gender bias in corporate life.[126]

In May 2016, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, PwC was, along with Microsoft, one of the principal sponsors of the inaugural ID2020 Summit.[127] The summit brought together over 400 people to discuss how to provide digital identity to all, a defined Sustainable Development Goal including to 1.5bn people living without any form of recognized identification.[128] Experts in blockchain and other cryptographic technology joined with representatives of technical standards bodies to identify how technology and other private sector expertise could achieve the goal.[127][129]

In 2016 PwC joined with Microsoft in India to bring the services of both companies to the business community in India.[130]

In 2016 the company, in partnership with Coursera, launched an on-line five-course educational platform called “Data Analysis and Presentation Skills.”[131]

In January 2017 Oracle and PwC announced their international collaboration to offer accounting software which complied with International Financial Reporting Standard 9 (IFRS 9).[132]


As of 2020, PwC has over 250,000 employees around the world.[133] The largest percentage of workers are employed in Western Europe, Asia and the Americas.[133] In 2019 the 900 equity partners in the firm received average pay of £765,000.[134]

The following is a chart of the number of employees in each region of the world as of FY 2019.[133]

Region Number of Employees
Asia 73,856
Australia, Pacific Islands and New Zealand 10,444
Central and Eastern Europe 13,695
Middle East and Africa 16,145
Americas 73,801
Western Europe 88,064


In 2010, Gartner recognized PwC with a Top Rating for Financial Consulting.[135]

In 2012, CartaCapital magazine ranked PwC Brazil No. 1 in the Audit segment in its list of Brazil's Most Admired Companies.[136]

PwC's Public Sector practice was awarded the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 2014.[137]

The company was recognized by the European Diversity Awards as the ‘Most Inclusive Employer of the Year’ in 2015.[138]

PwC received the full five stars on the Business in the Community (BITC) Corporate Responsibility Index for several years, and achieved it again in 2016 with a score of 99%. They were one of only four professional services companies to do so.[139]

Advertising Age named PwC Digital Services Experience Center one of the four best places to work in advertising and media in 2016.[140]

International Accounting Bulletin awarded PwC the “Audit Innovation of the Year” award for 2016.[141]

PwC Singapore won the Best Practice Award in 2016 from the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants.[142]

In 2016, Brand Finance named PwC as the strongest business to business brand, and one of the world's 10 most powerful brands in their annual index.[143]

PwC ranked No. 3 in DiversityInc's Top 12 Companies for Global Diversity in 2016.[144]

PwC India won the 2016 Association of Management Consulting Firms' Global Spotlight Award in the growth strategies category.[145]

PwC was voted by a poll of recently employed graduates as number one on The Times list of Top 100 Graduate Employers for 2016, for the 13th consecutive year.[146][147]

The Australian Financial Review Client Choice Awards recognized PwC with the Market Leader Australia award for 2016 and 2017.[148][149]

Brand Finance ranked PwC among the world's 500 most valuable brands in 2017.[150]

As of 2020, PwC is ranked #5 on Forbes' America's Largest Private Companies list, #68 on their World's Most Valuable Brands, and #85 on their Best Employers for Diversity; it is also on their list of America's Top Recommended Tax and Accounting Firms.[151]

As of 2020, PwC US has been on Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For in the US for 16 years.[152]


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