The firm formerly known as Andersen Consulting is getting rid of its annual performance reviews. Well, most of it anyway: Accenture CEO Pierre Nanterme told The Washington Post that the professional services firm, which employs hundreds of thousands of workers in cities around the globe, has been quietly preparing for this “massive revolution” in its […]
Another day, another ranking. Today's list comes courtesy The Times. For the sixteenth time, the Times has whipped up a list of the Top 100 Graduate Employers. By asking 18,336 graduates who left UK university in 2014"Which employer do you think offers the best opportunities for graduates?" the paper has awarded PwC with the top […]
We’ll roll out the particulars of Consulting Mag’s lists first and give you Vault’s results later today.
Consulting Mag has several different lists but we’ll stick to the most relevant for the Big 4 . We’ll start off with the overall ranking:
1. Bain & Company
2. The Boston Consulting Group
3. North Highland
4. Point B
5. McKinsey & Company
6. Deloitte Consulting
7. Booz Allen Hamilton
10. Slalom Consulting
12. Booz & Company
13. A.T. Kearney
So the Big 4 really makes two appearances here with Deloitte and PwC. You could throw Accenture in there for old time’s sake. Back when we covered Barry Salzberg’s little merger chat in the Journal, two names that were thrown at him were Booz and A.T. Kearney. While this list is certainly no indication, you’ll see that based on the rankings, Deloitte ranks above both those firms despite commenters suggestion that Booz and A.T. are superior brands.
The list dominated by the Big 4 was the Business Advisory Services:
2. Alvarez & Marsal
3. Ernst & Young
You don’t see Deloitte and Accenture on this list since they fall on the “Multi-Service” list at #1 and #2 respectively and Capgemini (purchased E&Y Consulting in 2000) is numero uno on the Information Technology list.
Deloitte Consulting and PwC get dropped on a few more lists that include: Career Development, Work/Life Balance and Culture while KPMG and E&Y are nowhere to be found. A list of “Best Places to Start a Career” listed Deloitte at #3 and KPMG at #6 with PwC and E&Y MIA.
Naturally there is room for bellyaching and there are vaguely familiar frustrations in the feedback portion:
You have to manage your career with little help from management. Here’s the rope, climb the mountain or hang yourself…
The concept of a work life balance is talked about, but only as an afterthought.
Your work will double, but salary may not.
Those aren’t specific to any one firm but something tells us you could find someone in any of the Big 4 consulting/advisory groups griping about these issues. OH! And as far as scoring for morale goes, the Big 4 are shutout of the top ten.
So a bit of a mixed bag on this particular list but you’ll likely see a rash of press releases in the coming days and weeks along with emails and whatnot from your leadership.
So feel free to debunk the latest seemingly arbitrary rankings. We certainly expect the consulting purists of the bunch to be disgusted with the Big 4 sullying these particular grounds.
The Best Firms to Work For, 2010 [Consulting Magazine]
PricewaterhouseCoopers Named Among the Top 10 Best Firms to Work For by Consulting Magazine [PR Newswire]
Accenture has done big projects for the IRS in the past but that doesn’t mean they’re any less excited about this particular project:
“The RPR program is really a win-win-win situation in which the IRS will gain the ability to identify and regulate paid tax preparers, tax payers will have better information about tax preparers before selecting one, and tax return professionals will be able to differentiate themselves in this competitive market,” said Lisa M. Mascolo, managing director of Accenture’s U.S. Federal client service group.
If you assume that Accenture is going to make out all right on this deal, then it’s actually a win-win-win-win situation. That would be a quad-win for those of you scoring clichés at home.
Having digested Accenture’s POV on the sitch, we’ll remind you that there are plenty of losers in the IRS’ RPR, as Joe Kristan told us back in January:
When there are winners, there are losers. These include:
Small tax prep shops – A solo practitioner will have to manage the new bureaucracy alone, while his giant competitors will have full-time fixers. When a little guy’s competency exam gets lost by the IRS bureaucracy, he might lose a season’s worth of business; fixers and lobbyists will make sure nothing like that happens to the big boys. And of course the inevitable capture of the IRS bureaucracy by the big players will continue to squeeze the little guys.
Enrolled Agents – Now that the IRS will be creating a new lesser level of licensing, these professionals will have a harder time distinguishing their much higher standards to a confused public.
Consumers – The most obvious result will be an increase in prices, both to pay for the new compliance costs and because the rules will run smaller preparers out of the market. Supporters of the regulations will say that it will be worth it because the new standards will improve quality. That’s a pipe dream. A bozo test and a few hours of CPE won’t turn a quack into a brain surgeon.
Low income consumers will, of course, not have to pay for the fancy “licensed” preparers. There will still be plenty of folks with pirated copies of Turbotax preparing unsigned returns in their cars and apartments, and the higher prices of the licensed competitors will send them more business. Other consumers will either struggle through their own returns without benefit of CPE or drop out of the tax system entirely.
Obviously there has to be some losers. A win-win-win-win-win-win-win-win (an octo-win) situation would be ridiculous.
As CEO of Avidan Strategies, an agency search firm, we constantly conduct reviews for clients who wish to switch ad agencies. The reasons for conducting a search cover the span of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sometimes clients resort to spurious explanations for a review. Sometimes, the arrival of a new chief marketing officer is enough to precipitate a review, as its ties to the CMO’s predecessor taint the incumbent agency.
Yet, the Accenture agency search, as reported in this story by Advertising Age, is appropriate and well timed. Until the wee hours of last Thanksgiving, when Tiger woods slammed his SUV into a tree, Accenture had a solid ad campaign. Using Tiger as spokesman and symbol of the consultancy dedication to excellence was effective. Although not exactly relevant to Accenture’s offerings, Tiger was magic. He was the ultimate professional, an athlete that not only transcended his sport, but one that transcended all sports. Tiger was a rock star.
To its credit, Accenture reacted fast to the unfolding scandal. Within weeks it dropped Tiger as a spokesman and launched a new campaign, featuring animals in unusual situations to illustrate aspects of its service. For example, a surfing elephant to depict nimbleness. The marketer is trying to downplay speculation that the animal campaign was a “hail Mary” pass, and suggests that it’s agency, Y&R, had pulled it out of a drawer. I doubt it. When you sign up Tiger Woods to be your spokesperson, you don’t need a Plan B. You know that this is the horse that you are going to ride.
That said, Accenture is smart to call a review. The animal campaign was a good stop gap measure, but now it is time to look beyond the horizon and come up with the next big campaign idea that can last 7,8,9 years. Y&R has been Accenture’s agency since Accenture was formed in the mid-90s. While longevity is not necessarily a bad thing, relationships can get stale. So it’s smart of Accenture to cast a wider net. As a matter of fact, more and more companies now conduct mandatory periodic reviews, previously conducted only by governmental agencies, to insure that services provided are best in class.
I hope that the winning idea will not be apologetic. Tiger’s mess has nothing to do with Accenture, and unlike Nike, they acted ethically and wisely by dumping him swiftly. The new agency should focus on Accenture leadership equity, it’s commitment to research and it’s ability to manage complicated systems. As we are coming out of the recession, glitz is being replaced by authenticity. Businessmen, Accenture’s target, are under tremendous pressure in a tough bottom-line environment. The animals campaign is funny and warm, but perhaps too cartoonish for our time. A more straightforward campaign, with Accenture traditional warmth and humanity, is more appropriate.
Avi Dan is President & CEO of Avidan Strategies, a New York based consultancy specialized in advising professional service companies on marketing and business development. Mr. Dan was previously a board member with two leading advertising agencies and managed another.
After taking a stab at making the Tiger image still work and then realizing that the Andersen treatment was the only way to go, Accenture has rolled out their new advertising campaign.
Rather than take your suggestion that an ultimate fighter — with an accounting degree no less — would be the best route, Accenture has decided that sticking with the animal mantra was the best way to go.
The Journal spent 1,100 words telling us about the new Earth shattering idea:
After nearly a month of focus-group testing and production work, Accenture is rolling out the new global marketing campaign this week. The creatures, which include an elephant, a chameleon and some frogs and fish, will star in a series of TV, print and online spots.
One of the posters shows an elephant balancing precariously on a surfboard. The text reads, “Who says you can’t be big and nimble?” Another ad shows a frog leaping over three others, with the tagline, “Play quantum leapfrog.”
So the marketing team is sitting around, drinking bottled water, drumming on the conference table and suddenly, someone blurts out “You know, Tiger is man but it’s also an animal.”
Everyone stares at this fool that just said the stupidest thing they’d ever heard, “And?” one team member snaps back.
“Well, since everyone is used to Tiger, which is also an animal, we’ll just replace the man with animals that aren’t tigers. That way, people will still think ‘animals = Accenture is good’ but not ‘the guy named after an animal is a cheating bastard.’ Get it?”
The light bulb finally clicks on for everyone else. “You’re right. We’ll just put animals that aren’t tigers in the ads. No one cares if animals cheat on their spouses. Brilliant!”
Prior to this revelation, Accenture apparently considered jugglers and jump ropers. We understand this was five alarm blaze for the company but elephants on surfboards and leap frog was the solution? Maybe they’re just had the whole animal thing on the brain and couldn’t shake it.
But hey, what do we know? We’re sure it’ll be a huge success. Can’t wait for the Super Bowl commercials. Get those frogs to drink beer and then you’ll have a winner for sure.
After Ditching Tiger, Accenture Tries New Game [WSJ]
You’ve got to hand it to Accenture, if you’re not the ‘metaphor of high performance’ any more (i.e. a married man with two kids screwing everything that moves), they will make Enron audit workpapers out of you.
After the hammer came down on Sunday, the marketing crew — who spent the last six years making T. Dubs’ mug the mug of Accenture — has some work to do:
By Monday afternoon, Accenture staffers had swept through the company’s New York office and removed any visible Tiger posters. The next day, marketing and communications employees around the world were asked to turn in any remaining Tiger-emblazoned posters and other materials.
Considering the fact that Accenture is one of the remaining derivatives of Arthur Andersen, destroying all this stuff should be a piece of cake (shredder sure but we’re guessing they’ve got an incinerator chute). The best part for them is, they aren’t obstructing justice, they’re maintaining their sterling (?) reputation.
Maybe easier said than done since they spent “$50 million on advertising in the United States last year, and Mr. Woods appeared in 83 percent of the company’s ads.”
They really just need to get someone (anyone!) else in there ASAP to make us sorta forget (but not really) that T Dubs was shilling for them for six years.
Accenture, as if Tiger Woods Were Never There [NYT]
• H.R. 4173, Summary of Accounting and Audit Related Provisions – Lots to digest here but it’s all important, including a possible GASP name change for the PCAOB. [FEI Financial Reporting Blog]
• Invitation to a Conversation: If the Auditors Were Missing from the Financial Crisis — Let’s Ask Why – Jim Peterson doesn’t mince words: “The simple if depressing reason is that their core product has long since been judged irrelevant. The standard auditor’s report is an anachronism — having lost any value it may once have had, except for legally-required compliance.” [Re: Balance/Jim Peterson]
• Accenture Makes Right Decision, Drops Tiger Sponsorship – The awkward inappropriateness of the whole situation is now hitting T. Dubs in the wallet, as Accenture jumps into the “your services are no longer needed” camp. He won’t starve. [The Big Four Blog]
• Open Letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (Part 5): Issuer Retaliation Complaint Against Overstock.com – Patrick Byrne’s attempt to develop his own Richard Nixon-esque enemies list has been met with fierce resistance. [Sam Antar/White Collar Fraud]
• CPA firms face pricing pinch – “After years of gains since the government started keeping track in December 2003, overall prices for CPA firm services plummeted with the onset of recession in December 2007.” [CPA Trendlines]
• Citigroup to Repay $20 Billion of Government Bailout – $25 bil to go. Get on it. [Bloomberg]
• Tiger Woods Dilemma for Accenture – Cloud or Cancer? – There’s no dilemma from where we stand. [The Big Four Blog]
• Year-end Planning: Make Sure You Have Enough Basis to Deduct Your S Corporation Losses – Despite the Biblical weather in Iowa, Joe Kristan continues with the year-end tax planning series. [Tax Update Blog]
• Unleash the auditors? – We mentioned the Fed. How the hell has FASB managed to dodge the SCOTUS? [CFOZone]
• Tighter controls on wireless data usage coming for iPhones and other devices, AT&T exec warns – Abuse the new toys while you can, Deloitte grasshoppers. [CT]
Since Andersen went the way of the dodo almost ten years ago, Accenture has been moseying along just doing whatever it is they do. They’ve done a pretty decent job of getting people to forget that they were once part of the Big
Since we’re pretty sure there are plenty of you out there that have friends, former colleagues, sworn enemies, and booty calls at Accenture we thought we’d pass along that they are rumored to be getting into the pay freezing spirit.
Get some details, after the jump
Apparently an email went out today stating that “Most individuals will not receive an increase in base pay.” But if you’re one of the lucky few getting a promotion you’ve got a shred of hope, “People being promoted will receive an increase in base pay only if they are below the minimum salary range for their new career level.” Awesome.
This seems very curious because at least Accenture’s super star golfer sponsoree is playing well while someone else is screwing the pooch and risking a RIF.
So if you know some Accenturites pass this along and see if they know just WTF is going on in the Haunted House of Andersen. If you ARE an Accenturite, get us the info on this whole sitch at firstname.lastname@example.org. Their PR has apparently checked out for the weekend already and we’re not probably going to hear anything until Monday but we’ll update accordingly.