Demand for accountants grows

The adoption of international financial reporting standards was cited by analysts as a reason for the rise.

The number of accountants in the 15 largest firms in Israel rose by 13 percent in 2007, while the number of interns at those firms grew by 14%, according to the latest Dun & Bradstreet 100 ranking for 2008 of the country's top accounting firms. Strong capital market activity and the adoption of international financial reporting standards were cited by analysts as reasons for the rise. "Last year we saw very vivid economic and financial activity by local companies raising money on the capital markets that attributed to the growth in demand for accounting services, while at the same time, Israeli companies had to conform to the IFRS accounting regulations," Dani Margalit, of the BDO Ziv Haft accounting and consulting firm, told The Jerusalem Post Tuesday. "Looking ahead to the remainder of this year, there is uncertainty over whether this wave is set to continue, because of the crisis on global financial markets, which is bound to affect the local market." The number of accountants in the 15 largest firms rose to 2,305 in 2007, while 1,826, or 17%, worked in the five largest accounting firms, Dun & Bradstreet said in a report released Tuesday. The number of partners in the biggest accounting firms rose by 15%, while the number of general staff in the surveyed accounting firms increased by 16%, it said. Ernst & Young Kost Forer Gabbay & Kasierer was ranked Israel's leading accounting firm in terms of the number of accountants and workers. It had 474 accountants and 81 partners among its 1,662 workers, after hiring 262 employees in 2007. KPMG Somekh Chaikin came in second with 454 accountants and 39 partners among its 918 employees. Deloitte Brightman Almagor was No. 3 with 314 accountants and 60 partners among its 820 workers. BDO Ziv Haft moved up from No. 5 in the previous ranking to No. 4 with 308 accountants and 43 partners. BDO Ziv Haft had the second-most employees, with 985, after hiring 165 in 2007. PWC Kesselman & Kesselman was No. 5, with 276 accountants among its 833 employees.