With companies relying more on artificial intelligence and cloud-based technology, there’s been a trending doomsday buzz about the stability of the accounting profession heading into the next decade. But put down those Morpheus blinders for just a minute and take a deep breath. We’ve got some good news for you flesh-and-blood number-crunchers: Now more than […]
Vault today released its 2019 ranking of the top 50 consulting firms to work for in North America, and the top 10 spots are dotted with the Big 4. Well, most of the Big 4. For the fourth year in a row, Deloitte Consulting LLP was ranked No. 4 on Vault’s list. According to employee […]
Deloitte employees are circulating a petition saying they have “moral objections” to the Big 4 firm providing consulting for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and are asking management to sever ties with the immigration agency, the New York Times reported on July 12. According to the petition and internal emails obtained by the New York Times, […]
The rise of non-audit services offered by accounting firms could threaten the quality and integrity of independent audits, said Steven Harris, a key member of the government’s watchdog agency. Although the Securities and Exchange Commission has limits on the kinds of consulting and advisory work audit firms can perform for their clients, that line may […]
Remember, kids, to check your independence at the door: Logitech International (LOGI) (SIX: LOGN) (Nasdaq: LOGI) today announced a delay in the filing of its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2014. As previously disclosed, Logitechs Audit Committee, with the assistance of independent advisors, conducted an independent investigation of certain […]
Just saw this beauty pop up on the ole Twitter timeline: Audit plays critical role in building trust in public + capital markets – is a cornerstone of Deloitte’s work http://t.co/ZGzzwc1BKn — Deloitte (@Deloitte) September 26, 2014 Funny you say that, guys, because when we looked at your big, pretty revenue announcement earlier this […]
From The Wall Street Journal June 9, 2002: PwC Consulting became the latest consultancy to flee headlong from the tarnish on the once-sterling accounting profession, announcing it will change its name to Monday when it completes its separation from accounting company PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. PwC Consulting, a management-consulting and technology-services business, announced in March that it […]
Did you wake up this morning and think "gee, I really would love to know how much Big 4 firms make from consulting as share of overall revenue!" Boy, are you in luck. A recent report called Cheques and the City by the non-partisan but totally hater-y High Pay Centre looks at the top accounting […]
They say those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. For accounting firms, it's more like condemned only if the regulators catch on. As we all know, the trend toward combining audit, tax, and consulting services was totes kosher up until the E-word happened, when consultauditors went scattering like cockroaches in the […]
As we all know, the period of time circa 2001-2002 were not the best of times for the ol' auditing firms. Accounting scandals were aplenty, Arthur Andersen went down for the dirt nap and Heineken even got a holiday commercial out of it. And of course, we got Sarbanes-Oxley. A big sticking point from those […]
Sometimes I feel like I don't know. Sometimes I feel like checkin' out. I want to get it wrong. Can't always be strong. And love it won't be long… call us Ultraviolet, we're here to light your way. If you have a career question, life question, ethics question and/or dumb question for us, go ahead […]
I am willing to bet those of us who recall the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster as experienced through the eyes of Punky Brewster barely even remember our SAT scores. I can tell you my grandparents let me go to Madison that weekend to stay with friends before the test and I ended up staying up […]
“I lie every second of the day. My whole life is a sham.” – George Costanza Make sure to catch up on part 1 of this series if you haven’t already because we are diving right into each of these poor bastards’ unique, yet perhaps, all too familiar situations and you need to keep up. […]
In this week’s accounting conundrum, a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed accounting student is mustering up the courage to click “accept” on one of two offers: Big 4 Business Valuation vs. Big 4 Supply Chain Consulting: Hey guys, I just started reading your website and it has so much helpful information about the big 4. I'm in […]
Ed. note: there's another new kid in town and his name is Kai. We originally met him through a career issue of his own years ago and kept in touch all this time, so we thought he'd be a fun addition to our rag tag group of accounting dropouts and class clowns given his consulting […]
The news, in case you missed it this morning: PricewaterhouseCoopers said on Wednesday that it had agreed to buy the consulting firm Booz & Company, bolstering its advisory business. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, though Booz & Company is expected to be PricewaterhouseCoopers’s biggest acquisition in several years. Still, the union of […]
Last week, Deloitte announced that its most recent fiscal year was pret-tay, pret-tay, pret-tay good. $31.3 billion is nothing to sneeze at and the consulting and financial advisory businesses are leading the charge, as the Economist notes: In fiscal 2012 Deloitte increased its revenues from consulting by 13.5% and from financial advisory by 15%—compared with just […]
On Wednesday when all anyone could talk about was a little earthquake, we shared with you Vault’s Consulting 50. All of the Big 4 managed to make this year’s list after last year’s only featured Deloitte and P. Dubs, so everyone’s happy.
One list that the Big 4 always seem to do well is the ranking of prestigious firms. Granted, this is the consulting list and the likes of McKinsey, Bain, and Boston, per usual, dominate the top spots but the usual accounting suspects held their own. This list is far less interesting than the Vault 50, which saw a lot of jumping around by various firms but this is all about the prestige and closer your firm is to the top, apparently the less your shit stinks. Here’s the top with previous year’s ranking in parenthesis:
1 (1) McKinsey & Co.
2 (2) Boston Consulting
3 (3) Bain & Co.
4 (4) Booz & Co.
5 (5) Deloitte Consulting
6 (8) PwC
7 (7) Monitor Group
8 (9) Ernst & Young
9 (6) Mercer LLC
10 (12) Accenture
And some notables:
14 (13) KPMG
16 (22) Capgemini
18 (19) Navigant Consulting
21 (26) Roland Berger
25 (27) Huron Consulting
26 (28) Grant Thornton
28 (23) FTI Consulting
33 (30) PRTM
45 (48) BDO
The gang at Vault let us know that we can expect the accounting rankings in a couple-ish weeks, so stay tuned.
Back with more lists that include your favorite accounting firm. Today’s edition is the Vault Consulting 50. Mostly this list consists of firms that you wish you could work for but you can’t because you either have no pedigree or are dumber than a sack of hammers. That said, all the Big 4 are represented with Deloitte Consulting breaking into the top 5 (2011 ranking in parenthesis):
1 (1) Bain & Co.
2 (3) McKinsey
3 (2) Boston Consulting Group
4 (6) Deloitte Consulting
5 (25) Monitor Group
6 (8) A.T. Kearney
7 (7) Oliver Wyman
8 (5) The Cambridge Group
9 (4) Analysis Group, Inc.
10 (16) Booz & Company
This is a pretty fun list mostly because there was a lot of jumping around by the firms (*ahem* Monitor Group, where did you come from?). Other notables that you’re probably curious about include:
11 (32) Accenture
12 (13) PwC
21 (19) PRTM (who PwC just purchased)
36 (44) Navigant Consulting
42 (45) Capgemini
45 (42) FTI Consulting
47 (NR) Ernst & Young
50 (NR) KPMG
Vault Consulting 50 [Vault]
Last year’s coverage:
Big 4 Have Big Presence on Vault’s Prestige List, Less So in Top 50
To the Klynveldians, it was a pretty decent pay day just to state the obvious: that the city of Toronto could save a few bucks (make that a few loonies) by not putting fluoride in its water supply and a few other cost-saving measures. We find KPMG’s tagline of “cutting through complexity” to be extra appropriately hilarious in this particular context and there is no mention in the report of potential cost savings that could be realized were Toronto never to pay for Big 4 consulting services ever again.
Krupo has the entire story over at A Counting School but here’s the short version for those of you with legitimate ADHD problems: eliminating or reducing some non-core services provided by the Public Works and Infrastructure department could save the city $10 – 15 million (CAD).
KPMG states that ending the forced medication of Toronto’s public water supply by cutting the fluoride could have detrimental effects on the dental well-being of Torontonians, though obviously they haven’t been reading up on their tin foil hat, anti-fluoride research, which clearly shows a higher incidence of tooth decay in areas which use the fertilizer-production byproduct (which is considered toxic waste as long as it isn’t dumped in the water supply). Cut it! (If you think I’m insane, check out this “chemical spill” that burned through the concrete in Illinois. Those guys in Hazmat suits? Cleaning up Hydrofluorosilicic acid, the toxic industry slurry that becomes fluoride)
Anyway, back to the subject at hand. KPMG also advises Toronto that holding itself to a lower level standard could help save some cash. “Over half of the services that report through the Public Works Committee are provided ‘at standard’, which is generally the level required by provincial legislation or the level generally provided by other municipalities,” says the report. “30% of services are provided at slightly above standard offering some opportunities for cost reduction by lowering the service level provided. 17% of services are delivered slightly below or below standard.”
One such “higher standard” service to which KPMG refers in this report is the Toxic Taxi (no, that’s not what you call a bar crawl through Denver with Caleb after yoga and two red bean burritos), a free service that picks up your hazardous household waste like expired medications and batteries if you cannot drop them off at an authorized location yourself. We wonder how much went in to make the high quality “advertisement” of bootleg Canadian Mexicans Chuck and Vince trying to get you to turn in your used paint and batteries.
As Torontoist so astutely pointed out, the report didn’t actually look at how the horribly mismanaged Toronto city government could run more efficiently but instead simply analyzed which services could be cut. “KPMG did not assess the effectiveness or efficiency of City services,” the report states. “Assessment of how services are delivered is envisioned to be conducted through separate efficiency reviews. KPMG did not conduct financial analyses of programs and services to identify potential savings.”
I guess efficiency suggestions are extra.
Ed. note: Have a question for the career advice brain trust? Email us at email@example.com.
Going Concern received not one but two emails from a contributor in recent weeks. Aptly named Enginerd, P.E., this fine gentleman had hopes of joying a Big 4 firm with Enginerd’s background is as follows:
I come from a technical background, 8-10yrs of consulting in engineering and regulatory roles, and am being courted by a B4 to join up with a technically minded advisory/consulting group. You may not know, but engineers are a forgotten bunch earning far less than many of our other professionally degreed brothers. I’m anticipating a very healthy offer, but I don’t have much to base it on; Bologna is better than SPAM, but that isn’t saying much.
For the doubters out there – yes, the Big 4 occasionally hires engineering experts in niche markets when expanding their advisory practices. These experts may work with Transaction Services teams in markets heavy with M&A activity (think technology, energy, environment, etc.). Even at that, they don’t hire C.A.D. experts but rather individuals with previous consulting experience, like Enginerd.
Admittedly, Enginerd’s original email sat unanswered in the advice box [Ed. note: you should see the backlog!]. He recently followed up with positive news:
No response from y’all, but I did get a response from B4. They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.
So the last questions still hold, Any thoughts on breaking into B4 consulting (done), not getting lost when you get there, and behaviors which will help make my stay a long and profitable one? I’m listed at about 85% billable, which isn’t bad, but is still a lot of hours. Short of rereading How to Win Friends and Influence Others, what is my Modus operandi?
Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of direct advice for you as I do not work regularly with employees in your position. That said, I suggest continuing to do what made you successful up to this point:
1. Network every day of your early career. Meet with the group leaders not only in your office, but in other offices as well (as it applies). Have a regional/national meeting coming up? Make plans to connect with your peers in other offices. Connecting faces with email addresses is extremely important as your responsibilities inevitably expand.
2. Find a mentor. Chances are you are not the only person in your group/office that has a background similar to your own. Feel the group out over the first few months, evaluating who you feel stands above the rest. Find someone with a background similar to yours (and senior to you in ranking) that has a strong future with the firm, and build a professional relationship with them. You shouldn’t hesitate in asking him/her to be a mentor for you. Generally speaking, people are flattered by such a request and can become excellent resources for you down the road.
3. Read advice from the Going Concern peanut gallery. I’m sure there are people with similar backgrounds to yours that are regular readers here on the site. With that said, I open it up to the group – what advice do you have for Enginerd as he joins the Big 4 consulting circus?
Last week we mentioned that Deloitte and Munich-based Roland Berger were talking about getting cozy with both firms sounding pret-tay excited about the future. Turns out, no one had asked the Roland Berger partners how they felt about the whole situation.
Plans to merge Roland Berger Strategy Consultants with Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu have fallen through after the Munich-based firm rejected the advances.
The two had been in advanced talks but directors at Berger overwhelmingly voted to remain independent.
Talks between the two firms had progressed so far it is believed they had already decided upon a new chief executive and were examining possible regulatory hurdles.
Over at the Financial Times, Adam Jones reminds us that this is a big wrench in Deloitte’s McKinsey-slaying plans, “[Roland Berger’s] decision to continue to go it alone is a blow to Deloitte’s ambition of eclipsing McKinsey in the market for strategic managerial advice.”
It’s a strange turn of events to be sure after last week’s PR lovefest but the FT reports that the Roland Berger was willing to put up his own cash to keep the green ink out of his firm:
Roland Berger said the vote to remain independent had been carried with a majority of “close to 100 per cent” on Saturday.
It added that partners in the firm – including Roland Berger, its founder – had agreed to put in more money to support the renewed go-it-alone plan.
People close to the deal talks suggested Mr Berger had agreed to invest about €50m ($68.5m) to help fund its expansion as a standalone business.
That’s not so much of a “No.” as it is a “Hell no.”
Namely, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants based out of Munich.
Supposedly the two will have their minds made up sometime next month but by the sounds of it, the two companies are flippin’ stoked about the possibilities:
“A merger opens up a unique opportunity for growth for both firms,” [Deloitte Germany Chief Executive] Plendl said.
Roland Berger confirmed the talks.
“Discussions with Deloitte are taking place to open new and fascinating growth prospects for our company,” Roland Berger Strategy Consultants said in an e-mailed statement today.
While that’s what is going in the foreground, Adam Jones over at the Financial Times was so bold to suggest that this just another step in Deloitte’s quest to “overtake McKinsey as the market leader in strategic advice for managers.”
Now we hadn’t heard about this McKinsey-slaying goal prior to today and it seems a little credulous to think that Deloitte is jockeying with McK, especially when you consider the domination of McKinsey in the eyes of those who work in the industry.
However, on paper Deloitte derives $7.5 billion from its consulting business which is nothing to sneeze at. Considering that and the fact that they haven’t exactly made their desire for mergers a secret, Deloitte this very well could be a step in earning another #1 notch in their belt (with matching suspenders).
For those of you that love all-things-lists, Vault unleashed a few more rankings yesterday for the consulting folks, breaking it down to practice area. We’ll dispel with the pleasantries and get right to where the Big 4 (and their spin-offs) crash-landed on various lists.
2. Ernst & Young
10. KPMG and PwC (tie)
Pharmaceutical and Health Care
8. Ernst & Young
Oh, and because you’re wondering, McKinsey & Co. finished #1 in all but three of the practice areas. Carry on.
Deloitte CEO Barry Salzberg did a little sit down with the Journal and made it perfectly clear that he’s shopping for another acquisition. The BearingPoint transition seems to have gone as well as Dr. Phil could have asked for and now he’s ready to move on to the next one.
Mr. Salzberg declined to name specific future targets, but said he sees opportunities to build scale in areas including environmental and technology consulting.
“I would be very willing to make another and very willing to position ourselves properly for the right kind of acquisition or a combination in the market.”
The Journal article mentions the recent rumors around Booz & Co. merging with A.T. Kearney but BS wasn’t that hot on the idea (even though D could take
both either of them no prob) saying that they aren’t, “‘as high a priority for me’ as other opportunities.”
Plus, Salz is hoping that he can offering something tangible for a change rather than just billing all your hours out, “He cited a newsletter, or ‘information services,’ as an example of something that isn’t as labor-intensive as consulting but provides a complementary service to clients. Such a business ‘isn’t as dependent on the hourly production of people,’ he said.”
No target is too big or too small, according to Salzberg but like we mentioned, he’s not naming names. So let’s try and read his mind a little bit, throwing caution to the wind – McKinsey? DiversityInc Magazine? The Hair Club for Men?
Suggestions, sincere wishes and wild-ass guesses are welcome.