The six largest accountancy firms in the country bolstered their labor force by 17 percent in 2006 to a total of 4,646 employees, according to the Duns 100 accountancy firm index published by Dun & Bradstreet Israel on Sunday. "The growth within the large firms is a result of the growing need of providing related services such as value estimates, public issues and adjustment to the Sarbanes-Oxley regulations," said Reuven Schiff, President of the Chamber of Accountants in Israel. The number of accountants employed at the firms in 2006 rose by 6% to a total number of 1,676. At the same time the number of trainees grew by 12.8%. Topping the list of accountancy firms in terms of number of accountants and in terms of general staff was Ernst & Young Israel - Kost Forer Gabbay & Kasierer, with 1,400 employees comprised of some 470 accountants. Ernst & Young Israel added 200 employees to its work force in 2006. BDO Ziv Haft was ranked in second place with 820 employees, after recruiting 230 people in 2006, but in terms of number of accountants, it was ranked only in fifth place with 231 accountants. KPMG Somekh Chaikin came in second place in terms of number of accountants (331) and in third place in terms of the number of employees (776). Separately, research group D&B said there was a 12% rise in the number of professional jobs and a 8% increase in general employment available at the five largest engineering firms in Israel in 2006 compared with the previous year. The top five companies had revenues of $500m. last year, D&B said, showing an increase of 30% year on year. Economists at D&B Israel added that the growth in activity at the engineering firms was also due to the repercussions of the second war in the Lebanon. The biggest engineering firm, as in the previous year, was the Baran Group, which employed 1,400 professional engineers, adding 150 employees in 2006, with $210m. in revenue. In second place, Ludan Engineering employed 492 engineers, followed by the Tahal Group with 441 workers.