Accounting Firm — Big Four
The biggest of the Big Four is Deloitte, the U.S. member firm of U.K.-based Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd., with domestic revenue of $16.1 billion in 2015. Just over half of that came from audit and enterprise risk, advisory, and tax services, while the consulting business is the fastest-growing segment. The giant firm employs more than 58,000 professionals in this country, staffing more than 100 offices in 91 cities. One of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For and winner of numerous awards, such as the International Accounting Bulletin’s “Audit Innovation of the Year” prize in 2015, Deloitte now adds CFO’s Readers’ Choice Award to the list.
Accounting Firm — Second-Tier National
Such is the scale of the Big Four that Grant Thornton — with 58 offices, 7,300 employees, 565 partners, and annual revenue of $1.45 billion in the U.S. — is regarded as a second-tier national accounting firm, albeit the largest. But like the Big Four, Grant Thornton is a full-service audit, tax, and advisory firm, with a significant presence abroad. Grant Thornton firm has won numerous awards for workplace excellence, recently placing number 3 on Vault.com’s Accounting 50, a ranking of accounting firms by quality of life and overall prestige.
Runners-Up: BDO USA and RSM US
Accounting Software — Large Companies
Accounting software for large companies commonly comes embedded in an enterprise resource planning system or financial management suite, so it’s no surprise that the winner of this category is known for its ERP software. Space doesn’t permit a listing here of SAP’s extensive menu of financial solutions; let’s just note that the Walldorf, Germany-based vendor delivers all the accounting basics — general ledger, fixed assets, inventory, accounts payable and receivable, contract accounting, and revenue and cost accounting, all supporting local and international reporting standards — providing a single source of truth that enables faster close cycles and real-time data analysis.
Accounting Software — Small Companies
The favorite accounting software of millions of accounting professionals over the past 20 years — and of CFO’s readers in 2016 — Intuit’s QuickBooks has built a commanding market share among small businesses, reportedly as high as 87%. But no market position is safe in the age of the cloud, and so Intuit offers a software-as-a-service called QuickBooks Online, which comes in a variety of versions. For example, for $79 a month, users can subscribe to a version of QuickBooks Online that adds inventory and payroll functionality to the basic financial management package. Intuit says subscribers to the SaaS offering grew to 1.26 million at the end of Q2 2016, up nearly 50% from a year ago.
Runners-Up: Microsoft and Sage
There’s more to Mercer than the name of this category indicates. How many readers know, for example, that the consultancy offers M&A advice and due diligence? Still, human capital advisory services are Mercer’s bread and butter, whether it’s designing or administering employee benefit, compensation, health, and pension plans, or advising on talent-management strategy. Mercer’s private health exchange, Mercer Marketplace, offers the largest range of benefits products and carrier options available on any such health exchange, according to the firm.
Runners-Up: Willis Towers Watson and Aon Hewitt
Budgeting & Planning Software
The contours of this category are blurring, as vendors incorporate budgeting and planning into enterprise performance management systems. Reader favorite SAP includes these functionalities and much more in its EPM product, but it also offers the simpler SAP Business Planning and Consolidation software, a budgeting, planning and forecasting solution that can be deployed on-premises or via the cloud. The cloud has become essential to SAP’s strategy: by 2018, the vendor says, its revenue from cloud subscriptions and support will exceed its software license revenue.
Runners-Up: Oracle and Adaptive Insights
Business Intelligence Software
Thanks in no small part to the large customer base for its SQL Server database and Excel spreadsheet, Microsoft is a popular choice for business intelligence software — and the top choice of CFO’s readers. In 2015, Gartner Group placed Microsoft as a leader in its Magic Quadrant for business intelligence platforms, citing its widely used SQL Server Analysis Services; the Power Query, Power Pivot, Power View and Power Map capabilities of Excel; and a relatively new software-as-a-service tool, Power BI, which features connections to prebuilt dashboards for third-party applications like Salesforce and Google Analytics, as well as Microsoft’s own software.
Runners-Up: SAP and Tableau
Cloud Service Provider
Amazon Web Services
Ten years after its founding as a data storage service, Amazon Web Services now offers more than 70 cloud computing services in a dozen geographic regions worldwide, from analytics and enterprise applications to mobile and the Internet of Things. Its more than 1 million customers run the gamut of size and industry. Netflix recently moved all of its applications to AWS, and other companies plan to follow. What began as a sideshow to Amazon’s retail business is rapidly becoming a main attraction: last year AWS generated nearly $10 billion in revenue, a pace of growth outstripping parent Amazon’s during its first 10 years.
Runners-Up: DropBox and Google (Cloud/Enterprise)
Wells Fargo is the third-largest bank in the U.S., with $1.8 trillion in assets and 6,200 domestic branches at year-end 2015. But in other respects it’s first among its peers: in the size of its loan portfolio ($917 billion), in market capitalization (it’s the world’s most valuable bank), in five-year total shareholder return (14.7%) — and in the opinions of CFO’s readers. The British magazine The Banker shares their assessment, rating Wells Fargo the best global and U.S. bank of 2015. Last year the bank extended $34.4 billion in middle-market loans and $18.8 billion in new loan commitments to small-business customers, generally companies with at least $5 million in sales.
Runners-Up: JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America
Customer Relationship Management Software
CRM software is a crowded field, one that includes the biggest names in enterprise software. But the leader is a comparative upstart: Salesforce. Its stunning growth since its 1999 founding illustrates the advantages of cloud computing, which can provide a wealth of functionality to customers with a dime’s worth of computer infrastructure. Salesforce’s software-as-a-service commanded 18.4% market share in 2014, according to Gartner, and its revenue from CRM products also led the category. The company passed $5 billion in sales in 2015, and its software is the favorite of CFO’s readers.
Runners-Up: Microsoft and SAP
Enterprise Performance Management Software
According to Gartner, an enterprise (or corporate) performance management suite typically encompasses such functionality as budgeting, planning, and forecasting; financial close and consolidation; financial and management reporting and disclosure; profitability modeling; and strategic planning and forecasting. Oracle’s EPM suite provides all this and more, in on-premises, software-as-a-service, and hybrid cloud versions. Oracle won top ranking in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for EPM vendors for both “completeness of vision” and “ability to execute,” and it won our readers’ nod, too.
Runners-Up: SAP and IBM
ERP System – Tier 1
Microsoft offers enterprise resource planning solutions to companies sized small, medium, and large via three Microsoft Dynamics products: GP, NAV, and AX. The latter, Microsoft Dynamics AX, competes with SAP, Oracle, and Infor in the Tier 1 ERP market, and is the winner of our Readers’ Choice Award. The software is cloud-enabled and offers specialized functionality for retail, manufacturing, service, distribution, and public-sector organizations. High flexibility and ease of customization and integration are among the software’s strengths, according to Panorama Consulting.
ERP System – Tier 2
For more evidence of how cloud computing has changed the software landscape, look no further than the winner of CFO’s Readers’ Choice Award for Tier 2 ERP systems. Founded in 1998 as a pure cloud company, NetSuite says its eponymous software is the most-deployed cloud-based ERP system in the world, with more than 30,000 organizations across more than 160 countries subscribing to the software-as-a-service. Last year, for the third year in a row, NetSuite was the fastest-growing vendor among the top 10 financial management system vendors on a global basis, both by revenues (40.3%) and market share (45%).
Runners-Up: Sage and Epicor
Expense Management Software
According to G2 Crowd, a business software review website, Concur is one of two leaders in this category, ranking first in terms of scale (market share, vendor size, and social impact) and fifth in customer satisfaction. It ranks first in satisfaction with CFO’s readers. Customers of the vendor, a unit of SAP, range from the smallest firms to the largest enterprises. Travelers can access cloud-based Concur Travel & Expense via desktop and smartphone, booking flights through Concur’s app. The system automatically captures itineraries and credit card charges, allows users to upload photos of receipts, and all but finishes expense reports before travelers return.
Runners-Up: Expensify and NetSuite
The runaway market share leader in terms of assets under administration ($1.4 trillion) and plan participants (17.6 million, numbers courtesy of The 401kWire), Fidelity is the heavyweight champion of 401(k) recordkeepers. Plan sponsors of the 23,000 defined contribution plans that use Fidelity’s services range in size from America’s largest enterprises to the smallest firms. In a recent survey of sponsors by Market Strategies, Fidelity ranked third in providing the best value for the money.
Runners-Up: Vanguard and Principal Financial Group
Governance, Risk, and Compliance Software
Products in this category aim to integrate and coordinate a company’s activities in the related and overlapping areas of governance, risk management, and compliance. The favorite GRC software of CFO’s readers comes from Thomson Reuters. Gartner places Thomson Reuters in the Leaders section of its Magic Quadrant for enterprise GRC platforms, while two of the vendor’s risk management applications recently won awards for technology innovation from analyst firm GRC 20/20.
Runners-Up: Wolters Kluwer Financial Services and IBM
Health Care Insurer
UnitedHealthcare, a segment of Minnetonka, Minn.-based UnitedHealth Group, provides individual and employer-sponsored health benefits plans for 27.5 million Americans in 50 states, as well as health benefits for 11.2 million Medicare beneficiaries and 5.4 million Medicaid and community programs. A June 2015 tally ranked UnitedHealth Group first among U.S. health insurers in total premiums written ($98.462 billion) and market share (11.94%), and third in market share among 388 metropolitan areas. Tops among CFO’s readers, UnitedHealth has been the sector leader on Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies list for six straight years.
Runners-Up: Anthem and Aetna
Management Consulting Firm
The largest management consulting firm in the world is Deloitte Consulting, according to Gartner and Consultancy.uk, with 11.7% of global market share in 2014. In the United States, Deloitte Consulting LLP generated revenue of $7.8 billion in 2015, or 48% of the U.S. parent’s income. Deloitte is the favorite of CFO’s readers, and their opinion is widely shared: recent surveys by Forbes of consultants and their clients ranked Deloitte as one of America’s best management consulting firms. The firm earned top five-star ratings in a number of industry sectors and functional areas, including, not surprisingly, finance and risk management.
Runners-Up: McKinsey and Ernst & Young
As a result of its recent acquisition by Zurich-based ACE, Chubb became the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurer. Selling policies in North America through 14,000 independent agents and brokers, Chubb wins high marks for service: it ranked first and second for primary casualty claims and property claims, respectively, in Advisen’s 2015 claims satisfaction survey. And for innovation: earlier this year Advisen, an industry news source, named Chubb its top New-Product Pacesetter for the fourth year in a row. A.M. Best gives the firm’s core operating insurance companies an A++ rating, and CFO’s readers give Chubb an A-OK.
Runners-Up: The Hartford and Liberty Mutual
Based on total direct written premiums, The Hartford Financial Services Group is the second-largest workers’ compensation insurer in the United States. A.M. Best gives Hartford Fire Insurance, the subsidiary that offers this coverage, an A+ rating for financial strength, while J.D. Power has recognized The Hartford’s small-business call centers for excellence four years in a row. The insurer’s own website recently listed more than 2,300 customer service reviews for workers’ comp insurance claims, and while a number of them were negative, 97% of customers said they would recommend The Hartford. CFO’s readers would, too.
Runners-Up: Liberty Mutual and Chubb