Careers at PwC
PricewaterhouseCoopers’ mission is to be the leading global professional services organization, solving complex business problems for top-tier clients in global, national, and local markets.
PricewaterhouseCoopers is a provider of professional services. The company operates three reportable business segments:
- Assurance – Includes services that provide professional and independent opinions that reduce risk from incorrect information. Accounts for approximately 45% of revenues.
- Advisory – Includes consulting activities in the areas of Strategy, Business Valuation, Performance Improvement, Business Recovery Services, Transactions Services, Corporate Finance, Crisis Management, and Sustainability. Accounts for approximately 29% of revenues.
- Tax - Includes tax planning and compliance services, legal services, human resources consulting, customs services, and transfer pricing services. Accounts for approximately 26% of revenues.
William M. Lybrand, Robert H. Montgomery, and brothers Adam A. Ross and T. Edward Ross were all former employees of accounting firm Heins, Lybrand, & Co. The Ross brothers were also pioneering members of the Pennsylvania Association of Public Accountants. In 1898 the four men pooled their resources to launch accounting firm Lybrand, Ross Bros., & Montgomery in Philadelphia.
The company started off strong thanks to the increasingly complex needs of businesses at the time. Within two years it moved to a bigger office, and by 1902 it opened a branch in New York, followed by a Pittsburgh location in 1908 and a D.C. location in 1919. Its standards rose, with the executives requiring new hires to be college graduates, who would then undergo two years of training.
Even though work kept the men busy, they still engaged in activities that helped to build the accounting profession in the U.S.. Lybrand wrote articles for the Journal of Accountancy, Montgomery wrote the first U.S. accounting textbook, and the Rosses lobbied for state laws requiring public accountant certification. They all gave evening lectures to the public on accounting.
Over the next few decades the firm expanded to London, Berlin, and Paris, among other foreign cities. However by 1952 it could no longer afford to restrict itself to just auditing, so it began offering a management consulting service. In 1957, it completed a merger with British firm Cooper Bros., becoming Coopers & Lybrand. By 1977 Coopers & Lybrand was the third largest U.S. accounting firm.
In 1998 the company completed a deal to merge with competitor Price Waterhouse, forming PricewaterhouseCoopers. The combination of the two powerhouses resulted in a new leader for the industry, with 13,000 workers and revenues of approximately $12 billion. It continued to growth through the 2000s with more acquisitions. In 2010 it rebranded itself as PwC.
Business model of PwC
PwC has a mass market business model, with no significant differentiation between customer segments. The company targets its offerings at firms of all industries and sizes, ranging from large family businesses and NGOs to governments and major multinational corporations.
PwC offers three primary value propositions: innovation, performance, and brand/status.
The company places a high priority on innovation. It maintains the Center for Technology and Innovation (CTI), a think tank designed to explore emerging technologies and enterprise IT trends for Chief Information Officers and other executives. It publishes white papers and a technology forecast.
The company has demonstrated strong performance through tangible results for clients. High-profile examples of positive outcomes include the following:
- DB AG used PwC’s services to integrate the accounting functions in its various business units, resulting in lower costs, higher quality and efficiency, and stronger coordination between units
- Avios used PwC’s services to combine the frequent flyer programs of its different airlines, resulting in improved tracking of transactions and higher transparency of value
- Haraldsplass Deaconess Hospital used PwC’s services to reduce the“door-to-needle“ time for patients, resulting in a major reduction in the risk of damage by disease
The company has established a powerful brand as a result of its success. It is the world’s largest professional services firm, and is also one of the “Big Four“ accounting firms, along with EY, Deloitte, and KPMG. It has over 208,109 employees operating in 157 countries.
It works with over 100,000 businesses and entrepreneurs, and in 2015 provided services to 418 members of the Fortune Global 500 and 443 members of the FT Global 500. Lastly, it has won many honors, including recognition as one of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For“ for 12 years (2005 – 2016) and as the most prestigious accounting firm in the world for seven straight years by Vault Accounting 50.
PwC’s main channel for customer acquisition are the extensive personal networks of its partners. The company promotes its offering through its social media pages and attendance of various summits and conferences.
PwC’s customer relationship is primarily of a dedicated personal assistance nature. Customers receive one-on-one assistance from company employees.
That said, there is a self-service component. The company’s website features PwC Open University, a free online library that includes more than 300 executive business courses designed by PwC thought leaders.
PwC’s business model entails designing and producing problem-solving solutions for its customers.
PwC maintains strategic business alliances with select firms in order to better serve the needs of its customers.
The relationships complement its strategy and enable it to provide multi-competency programs. Specific partners are Adobe, CA Technologies, Guidewire, Google for Work, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Microsoft, Oracle, PowerPlan, Salesforce, SAP, and Workday.
PwC’s main resources are its human resources, who include employees with extensive experience in tax, advisory, and assurance services. Its CTI employees have significant technology expertise.
PwC has a value-driven structure, aiming to provide a premium proposition through significant personal service. Its biggest cost driver is likely cost of services, a variable expense. Other major drivers are in the areas of customer support and operations and research and development, both fixed costs.
PwC has one revenue stream, the fees charged to its clients for its range of services. These fees vary by type of client and individual project.
info: Robert earned a B.S. in Business Administration from SUNY-Oswego. He previously held several leadership roles at PwC, including head of the U.S. Assurance practice and Managing Partner for the New York region.
info: Dana earned a degree in Management at Tulane University. He previously held numerous positions at PwC, including Vice Chairman and Services Leader for PwC U.S. and U.S. Advisory Leader.
info: Carol earned a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Virginia and an MBA from Columbia Business School. She previously served as Chairman and Chief Financial Officer of PwC U.S. and as Executive Vice President and CFO of the NBA.
info: Sigal earned a B.S. in Engineering from the Technion Israel Institute of Technology and an MBA from Columbia University. She previously held a number of executive roles at PwC, including Vice Chairwoman and Network Chief Information Officer.
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