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WTP Advisors vs. PricewaterhouseCoopers
WTP Advisors vs. PricewaterhouseCoopers
The challenge: Can a startup accounting firm compete against the Big Four by winning Fortune 500 clients?

What they did: WTP Advisors has retained 100% of its clients since four PwC veterans founded it in White Plains, N.Y., in 2005. Avoiding bureaucracy and high overhead, the 75-person tax and business-advisory service offers big companies easy access to partners and senior staff, delivers basic documents in hours instead of days, charges lower rates than the Big Four, and uses a toolbox of proprietary software for specialized tax computations. Also, unlike some firms that assign accountants to less desirable projects on an as-needed basis, WTP hires dedicated experts for such unglamorous work (like tax compliance). Co-founders Michael Minihan and Ian Boccaccio say sales grew from $6.8 million in 2009 to nearly $12 million in 2010.

By Elaine Pofeldt, contributor @FortuneMagazine - Last updated February 01 2012: 12:34 PM ET

Hiring is starting to pick up again at firms with fewer than 500 employees. If you have only big-company experience, here's how to sell yourself.