The Big Four accounting firms are one (more) scandal away from collapse

Mutually assured destruction at the heart of the economy.

Cory Doctorow
4 min readNov 29, 2022


One of the wildest features of the crypto wipeout is that all of these “multi-billion-dollar” firms never bothered with an independent audit, and they all turned out to be lying about their balance sheets.

Amidst this carnage, it’s easy to forget that the Big Four accounting firms are terrible enablers of fraud, and the fact that they sign off on your books is no guarantee that you’re not a giant scam waiting to implode.

This is just *wild* to consider. After all, independent auditors are the lifeblood of capitalism. Rich people *really* need to know that the people they trust with their money aren’t lying about their finances. Usually rich people get their way.

But not with accounting. Accountancy has dwindled to four massive, structurally important, terminally conflicted companies: EY, KPMG, PWC and Deloitte, and all four make more money selling “consulting” to companies than they do for signing off on their books.

That means that the Big Four routinely sign off on fraudulent books, because a failure to make nice with companies that…