Top company by employee – 91 – Accenture – New York US
Industry: Professional Services – Consulting – Management
Ownership: Publicly quoted/held
State: New York
Previous rank: 92
2011 revenue ($ millions): $27,900**
What makes it so great?
Extensive training is a career springboard for new employees at one of the world’s largest consulting firms. The average worker gets 52 hours a year.
New York, NY
High performance. Delivered.
|Type||Public limited company|
|Traded as||NYSE: ACN|
|Industry||Management consulting, IT services, IT consulting|
|Predecessor(s)||Arthur Andersen (1989-2001)|
|Headquarters||Dublin, Ireland (incorporation)|
|Key people||Pierre Nanterme
(Chairman & CEO)
|Services||IT, business consulting andoutsourcing services|
|Revenue||US$ 28.6 billion net revenue (2013)|
|Operating income||US$ 4.34 billion (2013)|
|Net income||US$ 3.28 billion (2013)|
|Total assets||US$ 16.87 billion (2013)|
|Total equity||US$ 4.96 billion (2013)|
Accenture plc is a multinational management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company headquartered in Dublin,Republic of Ireland. It is the world’s largest consulting firm measured by revenues and is a constituent of the Fortune Global 500list. As of August 2013, the company has approximately 266,000 employees serving clients in more than 120 countries. India currently is the single largest employee base for Accenture, with the headcount expected to reach 87,000 in August 2012. In the US, it has about 40,000 employees and in the Philippines 35,000. Accenture’s current clients include 89 of the Fortune Global 100 and more than three-quarters of the Fortune Global 500. Since September 1, 2009 the company has been incorporated in Ireland.
Formation and early years
Accenture began as the business and technology consulting division of accounting firm Arthur Andersen. The division’s origins are in a 1953 feasibility study for General Electric. GE asked Arthur Andersen to automate payroll processing and manufacturing at GE’s Appliance Park facility near Louisville, Kentucky. Arthur Andersen recommended installation of a UNIVAC I computer and printer, which resulted in the first commercially-owned computer installation in the United States in 1954. Joe Glickauf, an early pioneer of computer consulting, held a position as head of Arthur Andersen’s administrative services division for 12 years.
Splitting from Arthur Andersen
In 1989, Arthur Andersen and Andersen Consulting became separate units of Andersen Worldwide Société Coopérative. Arthur Andersen increased its use of accounting services as a springboard to sign up clients for Andersen Consulting’s more lucrative business.
Through the 1990s, there was increasing tension between Andersen Consulting and Arthur Andersen. Andersen Consulting was upset that it was paying Arthur Andersen up to 15% of its profits each year (a condition of the 1989 split was that the more profitable unit – AA or AC – paid the other this sum), while at the same time Arthur Andersen was competing with Andersen Consulting through its own newly established business consulting service line called Arthur Andersen Business Consulting. This dispute came to a head in 1998 when Andersen Consulting claimed breach of contract against Andersen Worldwide Société Coopérative (AWSC) and Arthur Andersen. Andersen Consulting put the 15% transfer payment for that year and future years into escrow and issued a claim for breach of contract. In August 2001, as a result of the conclusion of arbitration with the International Chamber of Commerce, Andersen Consulting broke all contractual ties with AWSC and Arthur Andersen. As part of the arbitration settlement, Andersen Consulting paid the sum held in escrow (then $1.2 billion) to Arthur Andersen, and was required to change its name, resulting in the entity being renamed Accenture.
Accounts vary on why the split occurred – executives on both sides of the split cite greed and arrogance on the part of the other side, and executives on the Andersen Consulting side maintained breach of contract when Arthur Andersen created a second consulting group, AABC (Arthur Andersen Business Consulting) that began to compete directly with Andersen Consulting in the marketplace. Many of the AABC firms were bought out by other consulting companies in 2002, most notably, Hitachi Consulting and KPMG Consulting, which later changed its name to BearingPoint.
Emergence of Accenture
On January 1, 2001 Andersen Consulting adopted its current name, “Accenture". The word “Accenture" is supposedly derived from “Accent on the future". The name “Accenture" was submitted by Kim Petersen, a Danish employee from the company’s Oslo, Norway office, as a result of an internal competition. Accenture felt that the name should represent its will to be a global consulting leader and high performer, and also intended that the name should not be offensive in any country in which Accenture operates.
Initial public offering
On July 19, 2001, Accenture offered initial public offering (IPO) at the price of $14.50 per share in New York Stock Exchange (NYSE);Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley served as its lead underwriters. Accenture stock closed the day at $15.17, with the day’s high at $15.25. On the first day of the IPO, Accenture raised nearly $1.7 billion.
In October 2002, the Congressional General Accounting Office (GAO) identified Accenture as one of four publicly traded federal contractors that were incorporated in a tax haven country. The other three, unlike Accenture, were incorporated in the United States before they re-incorporated in a tax haven country, thereby lowering their U.S. taxes. Critics, most notably former CNN journalist Lou Dobbs, have reported Accenture’s decision to incorporate in Bermuda as a U.S. tax avoidance ploy, because they viewed Accenture as having been a U.S.-based company. The GAO itself did not characterize Accenture as having been a U.S.-based company; it stated that “prior to incorporating in Bermuda, Accenture was operating as a series of related partnerships and corporations under the control of its partners through the mechanism of contracts with a Swiss coordinating entity."
Accenture announced on May 26, 2009 that its Board of Directors unanimously approved changing the company’s place of incorporation to Ireland from Bermuda and would becomeAccenture plc.
The company cited several reasons for the change:
- Ireland’s sophisticated, well-developed corporate, legal and regulatory environment
- Ireland’s long history of international investment and long-established commercial relationships, trade agreements and tax treaties with European Union member states, the United States and other countries where Accenture does business
- Ireland’s stable political and economic environment with the financial and legal infrastructure to meet Accenture’s needs
The change became effective on September 1, 2009, the beginning of the company’s 2010 fiscal year.
While Ireland is the company’s headquarters for tax and legal purposes, much of the operational administration occurs in the United States, mainly New York City and Chicago.
Accenture organizes its services and people in these three primary cross-functional groupings. Accenture client engagement teams typically consist of a combination of industry experts, capability specialists and professionals with local market knowledge.
The four workforces serve clients in the areas of consulting, technology, and outsourcing, as well as the company itself. This is almost always an internal designation as it is common place for Accenture employees to work in blended teams for a variety of reasons.
- Consulting: Focus on management consulting, process design work and the application of technologies to business. Responsible for sales, delivery, and leadership of most of Accenture’s project-based work.
- Services: Most focus on outsourcing engagements in the areas of business operations, IT, applications development and maintenance, help desk services, and HR. As part of some outsourcing deals, clients’ internal teams can be “re-badged" as Accenture employees aligned to this workforce. Sometimes they work on Consulting projects or as internal Enterprise teams.
- Solutions: The Accenture Technology Solutions subsidiary focuses on the specific technology skills needed to deliver projects or outsourcing arrangements. Comprises the majority of Accenture’s employees in delivery centers in developing countries like Brazil, India, and the Philippines.
- Enterprise: Focus on managing and supporting all the activities across Accenture’s business, including legal, security, facilities, marketing, and client financial management.
As most consulting firms, Accenture operates in a matrix structure. The first axis is dedicated to the operating groups, or industries of its clients. Broadly, the five Operating Groups are:
- Communications, Media & Technology
- Financial Services
- Health & Public Service.
The five Operating Groups comprises 39 industry subgroups that focus on industry evolution, business issues, and applicable technologies.
The second axis is the growth platforms, which broadly refers to the functional or technical domains in which Accenture creates and delivers solutions to clients.
- Management Consulting is responsible for the development and delivery of Accenture’s strategic, operational, functional, industry, process and change consulting capabilities.
- Technology unifies the full range of Accenture’s systems integration, technology consulting, and IT outsourcing capabilities. Most people in the Services and Solutions work forces are aligned under the Technology growth platform.
- Business Process Outsourcing focuses on managing specific business processes or functions for clients such as procurement, HR, finance and accounting, as well as services geared to the needs of specific industries.
- Coritel BPM is the Spanish subsidiary of Accenture for software development and outsourcing founded in 1984.
- Avanade provides IT consulting services and solutions for the Microsoft software platform. It began as a joint venture between Microsoft and Accenture, but is now well over 80% owned by Accenture.
- Accenture Technology Solutions provides focused technology skills to clients and comprises the entire Solutions workforce, including most Accenture Delivery Centers in developing countries like The Philippines and Romania.
- Navitaire provides specialized solutions to airlines and railways.
- Accenture Federal Services provides services directly to United States government entities such as the US Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Justice. This subsidiary was specifically incorporated to meet a congressional mandate that defense contractors be based in the United States.
- Accenture Defense Group provides document management services, information technology software systems, and business process improvement strategies for governments, government suppliers, corporations, and transnational organizations such as the European Space Agency.
- Accenture SAP Solutions provides SAP computer software to clients, created with former Coritel BPM SAP resources.
- Digiplug provides music and video manufacturing and delivery services to major music labels as well as wireless carriers and mobile terminal device manufacturers around the world.
- Accenture Mobility Operated Services helps enterprises develop and deploy new revenue-generating mobile applications.
- Accenture Interactive helps companies develop digital marketing capabilities and optimize their marketing investments. AI was previously know as Accenture Marketing Sciences, and was the vehicle for several acquisitions by Accenture in digital and marketing analysis including Edge Consulting, Media Audits, Maxamine, Memetrics, MediaSenz
- Accenture CAS provides customer management and mobility services to the consumer goods industry.
- Accenture BD provides IT services in four domains Telecommunications, Banking, Enterprise,and Government. (Currently known as GPIT Ltd)
- Pierre Nanterme – Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
- David P. Rowland – Chief Financial Officer
- Jo Deblaere – Chief Operating Officer
Marketing, branding and identity
Accenture advertises in television, print, and in public places, such as airports, around the world. The current advertising campaign features client success stories and the slogan, “High performance. Delivered."
The typeface used in the Accenture wordmark is Rotis Semi-sans. The numerical “greater than" symbol over the t is intended to indicate the company’s orientation to the future and their goal of exceeding client expectations.
The company was parodied in a webcomic, Bigtime Consulting, by employee James Sanchez from 1999 to 2003.
Until December 2009, Tiger Woods had been a celebrity spokesperson for the company, whose advertising used the service mark “Go on, be a Tiger" and the ancillary statement “We know what it takes to be a Tiger." The company terminated Woods’ six-year sponsorship deal on December 13, 2009 and removed references to Woods from its website, after details of Woods’ extra-marital affairs were exposed.
Awards and Honors
In 2013, the Ethisphere Institute designated Accenture as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for the 5th time.
In 2013, the firm was named 9th in the Top 50 Companies for Diversity by DiversityInc. “The company has made significant strides in its talent-development efforts for people from underrepresented groups. Accenture has metrics-driven succession-planning programs and special training and education for high-potential employees, especially women."