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The Big Four by Stuart Kells, Ian D. Gow

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3

TRANSPORTED

How the Big Four began in the dangerous world of nineteenth-century accountancy

Unsettled

Lombard Street in the City of London was named after the colloquial term for an Italian banker. By the nineteenth century, London had long supplanted Florence as the centre of global finance and the prime mover in financial innovation. All the Big Four trace their history directly to predecessor firms that began in nineteenth-century London, such as Deloitte & Greenwood, Cooper Brothers, W.B. Peat & Co. and Marwick, Mitchell & Co. The nineteenth century was a boom time for accounting. It was also the profession’s ‘wild west’ era, even more so than the 1980s. In 1811 the London trade directories listed twenty-four accounting firms. Seventy years ...

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