Careers at Accenture
Accenture’s mission is to help its clients create their future.
Accenture is a provider of professional services in the areas of strategy, consulting, digital, technology, and operations. The company operates five reportable business segments:
- Communications, Media, & Technology – Helps clients accelerate and deliver digital transformation, enhance business results through industry-specific solutions, and seize opportunities made possible by the convergence of communications, content, and computing. Focuses on the communications, high tech, electronics, media, and entertainment industries. Accounted for 20% of revenues in 2015.
- Financial Services – Works with clients to address cost/growth/profitability pressures, regulatory changes, industry consolidation, and the need to adapt to new, digital technologies. Focuses on the banking, insurance, and capital markets industries. Accounted for 21% of revenues in 2015.
- Health & Public Service – Helps clients deliver better social, economic, and health outcomes to the people they serve. Focuses on the health and public service (government, nonprofits, etc.) industries. Accounted for 18% of revenues in 2015.
- Products – Helps clients transform their organizations and increase their relevance in the digital world. Focuses on the consumer goods, retail, travel, industrial, and life sciences industries. Accounted for 25% of revenues in 2015.
- Resources – Works with clients to develop and execute innovative strategies, manage complex change initiatives, improve operations, and integrate digital technologies designed to help them differentiate themselves in the marketplace. Focuses on the energy, chemicals, forest products, utilities, metals and mining, and related industries. Accounted for 16% of revenues in 2015.
After Arthur Edward Andersen graduated from college in 1908, he became the youngest certified public accountant in Illinois. He then went on to hold a number of prominent jobs, including Senior Accountant for Price Waterhouse, Comptroller for Uihlein, and Chairperson of Northwestern University's accounting department. However, he eventually desired to strike out on his own.
In 1913 he co-founded an accounting firm in Chicago with Clarence Delany, called Andersen, DeLany & Company. It grew rapidly, owing to increased demand for accounting services following the introduction of the Federal Reserve and federal income tax. While it primarily served utilities companies, it accrued prominent clients across industries, such as Colgate-Palmolive.
The next few decades saw several milestones. In 1918 Delany left the firm and it was renamed Arthur Andersen & Company. The firm expanded throughout the 1920s, opening six offices nationwide. It also began offering financial investigation services, and proudly touted its role as a watchdog of procedures in the accounting industry. Andersen also launched several branches internationally.
By the 1970s, the accounting industry was reaching a stage of maturity and slowing down in growth. Andersen responded by introducing consulting services, focusing on the areas of strategy and technology. It thrived, and in the 1980s leadership gave the division more operating control, to the dismay of the accounting faction. This would not be the last of the conflict between the two sides.
By 1988, consulting fees were responsible for 40% of firm revenues, making Andersen the biggest consulting firm in the world. Consulting partners demanded to be paid as much as accountants. Executives decided it would be best to divide the firm into two entities, auditing/tax firm Arthur Andersen & Co. and Andersen Consulting – both subsidiaries of Andersen Worldwide.
In 1997, following a failed struggle to get one of its employees to replace the retiring CEO, Andersen Consulting sought complete independence. In 2000 it got its wish through arbitration, and went on its way, being renamed Accenture. It continued to be a dominant player in its industry, while Arthur Andersen & Co. would eventually be shut down due to the Enron accounting scandal.
Benefits at Accenture
Business model of Accenture
Accenture has a mass market business model, with little differentiation between customer segments. The company targets its offerings at all types of organizations in need of management consulting services, including mid-size firms, large enterprises, and government agencies.
Accenture offers four primary value propositions: accessibility, customization, innovation, and brand/status.
The company creates accessibility by offering a wide range of options. It has invested as much as $2.5 billion in emerging technologies and acquisitions, enabling it to add many new capabilities to its service menu. For example, in 2015 it acquired Javelin Group, enhancing its retail expertise.
The company offers customization through its knowledge and service specificity. It has offices in over 120 countries, and provides local execution and market relevance in each one. Furthermore, it operates across more than 40 sectors, with over 50% of its staff having certified industry skills or being aligned with a specific market. This enables it to provide highly tailored guidance.
The company places a strong emphasis on innovation. It maintains a research and development organization called Accenture Technology Labs that locates and develops new technologies. It also operates the Accenture Institute for High Performance, a program focused on creating cutting-edge, market-ready insights and solutions for customers.
The company has established a powerful brand as a result of its success. It is the world’s largest consulting firm in terms of revenues, and has over 375,000 employees serving customers in over 200 cities in 120 countries. It bills itself as the largest independent technology services provider, with prominent clients such as Microsoft, HP, Oracle, and SAP.
Overall, its clients include 80% of the Global 500 and 94 members of the Fortune 100. It has maintained strong customer loyalty, with 97 of its top 100 clients having used its services for at least 10 years.
Lastly, it has won many honors, including recognition as the world’s “Most Admired Information Technology Services Company“ by Fortune for three straight years (2014-2016), one of Interbrand’s “Best Global Brands“ for 14 consecutive years (2012-2015), and one of Ethisphere’s “Most Ethical Companies” (2016).
Accenture’s main channel for acquiring clients is through the personal relationships of its partners. The company promotes its offerings through its social media pages, advertising, sponsorships of athletes, and participation in conferences.
Accenture’s customer relationship is primarily of a dedicated personal assistance nature. Customers work in-person with employees as part of consulting engagements.
That said, there is a self-service component. The company’s website includes self-help resources such as reports and infographics.
Accenture’s business model entails designing and producing problem-solving services for its clients.
Accenture maintains alliances with other firms through which it merges its expertise and capabilities with their products and services.
The goals of these partnerships are to deliver new technologies, enhance its existing service offerings, and extend its solutions to new geographies. Most of these alliances are non-exclusive.
Specific partners include Adobe Systems, Amazon Web Services, BMC Software, Dell, EMC, General Electric, Google, Hortonworks, IBM, NetSuite, and Salesforce.
Accenture’s main resources are its human resources, who include employees that are both industry experts and capability specialists. In 2015 alone it hired 100,000 people, including PhDs, web developers, data scientists, digital marketers, and big data specialists.
The company places a high priority on intellectual property, with more than 1,150 issued U.S. and 1,450 issued foreign patents, and over 2,400 pending patent applications worldwide as of August 2015.
Accenture has a value-driven cost structure, aiming to provide a premium proposition through significant personal service and frequent service enhancements.
Its biggest cost driver is cost of services, a variable expense that mostly consists of compensation and subcontractor costs. Other major drivers are in the areas of sales/marketing and administration, both fixed costs.
Accenture has two revenue streams:
Consulting Revenues – Revenues generated from management and technology consulting and systems integration services.
Outsourcing Revenues – Revenues generated from capabilities and services provided to transition or manage the operations of business functions or client systems.
info: Pierre earned an M.S. in Management from ESSEC Business School. He previously held several leadership roles at Accenture, including Chief Leadership Officer, Managing Director for France, and Group Chief Executive of its Financial Services operating group.
info: Jo earned a degree in Business Administration and Information Management from KU Leuven in Belgium. He previously held numerous roles at Accenture, including COO of its global outsourcing business and head of its BPO centers.
info: David earned a B.S. in Management from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He previously held various positions at Accenture, including Senior VP of Finance and Finance Director for Communications & High Tech and Products.
info: Omar earned a Bachelor‘s degree in Electronic Engineering from Cambridge University and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from INSEAD. He previously served as Senior Managing Director of Growth & Strategy for the Resources group.
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