No company could succeed without a cohesive strategy and effective organizational structure. It can be difficult – especially for new businesses – to know how to implement these pillars of success.
That’s where Accenture comes in.
Accenture is a leading global professional services company specializing in consultancy, business strategy frameworks, technology, digital, and operations. To put it simply: all the things a business needs to be successful.
I worked as a consultant for a few years back in the early two-thousands, and the industry has grown exponentially since then. The global professional services industry is valued at $6040.19 billion as of 2021; more specifically, the consulting sector has a total value of around $250 billion.
Needless to say, there is a lot of money to be made in consulting, and competition within the sector is fierce due to the existence of the “Big Four”: PwC, Deloitte, EY, and KPMG. These firms account for nearly 40% of the industry’s global market.
Accenture’s position within the market is secure despite not making it into the “Big Four” because, unlike some competitors, it has a specialty: technology. Yes, Accenture offers a wide range of consulting services, but few companies have grasped the importance of tech and harnessed it to create a strong business proposition in the same way.
Accenture offers clients industry-leading expertise by embracing everything from virtual reality to blockchain and utilizing a powerful ecosystem of market leaders, including Microsoft and Workday. But more on that later.
This Accenture competitors analysis provides an overview of the professional services industry with a particular focus on the consulting sector. It discusses the central forces which are shaping the industry, the companies Accenture competes with, and where Accenture sits within the competitive landscape.
The Bottom Line Up Front
Accenture is one of the biggest professional services companies in the world. I’ve been keeping a close eye on the “Big Four” and Accenture for many years to see if one, in particular, would pull ahead, and it’s been fascinating to observe the varying approaches adopted by each firm.
Ultimately, Accenture’s annual revenue in FY2021 was higher than that of Deloitte, PwC, EY, and KPMG, suggesting the company’s targeted approach to technology consulting has been successful. While Accenture’s competitors offer a wide range of services including auditing, accounting, and different types of business consulting, Accenture has kept its eyes on the prize regarding technological innovations; today, it has an industry-leading level of expertise.
List of Accenture’s Main Competitors
- EY (Ernst & Young)
Accenture Business Strategy
Accenture’s business strategy focuses on delivering 360-degree value for clients by embracing technological innovations to deliver the best consulting service possible across 19 industries.
The company was founded in 1989 when it was called Andersen Consulting. It adopted the name Accenture in 2001. Accenture comes from “accent on the future,” which I think is an excellent summary of the company’s ethos.
Accenture’s services are wide-ranging, covering the whole business spectrum from strategy to digital commerce and operating models. It has offices and operations in over 200 cities and 50 countries.
Crucially, Accenture also offers metaverse services. Metaverse refers to an immersive internet experience that usually involves entering a digital world; this idea gained momentum after the announcement of Facebook Metaverse in 2021.
If my experience in consultancy firms taught me anything, it’s that monitoring and reacting to current industry trends is vital if you want to maintain a competitive advantage. Getting there first is half the battle; if a rival firm beats you to the punch, that company will find it much easier to establish itself as the leading expert.
Most consultancy firms use one or more of the following revenue models:
- Per unit
Accenture adopts a fee-for-service model and charges by the day depending on the experience level of the consultant involved. Based on 2019 data, Accenture charges more than Deloitte and KPMG for a Level 1 consultant but less than PwC and Ernst & Young. The mean rate is around £500 per day (roughly $592).
For a Level 7 consultant, Accenture charges less than all companies in the “Big Four” at just over £2,000 ($2,370).
Accenture’s growth strategy is focused on strategic acquisitions, allowing the company to consolidate its position as a leader in the technology industry. For example, in June 2022, Accenture announced its intention to acquire XtremeEDA to expand its silicon design capabilities in Canada and the US. That same month, it also acquired ARZ in Austria to expand its banking platform-as-a-service capabilities throughout Europe.
91 of the Fortune Global 100 companies and more than three-quarters of the Fortune Global 500 are clients of Accenture. This level of success led to revenue of $50.5 billion for fiscal 2021 – more than most of the “Big Four.”
Accenture Competitors Analysis
Accenture competes with the “Big Four” professional services consulting firms.
PricewaterhouseCoopers is the second largest professional services company in the world. It was founded in 1998 and operates internationally with offices in over 156 countries and headquarters in London.
PwC’s mission is to help individuals and organizations create value by delivering quality tax, assurance, and advisory services. I know what you’re thinking…that sounds like a lot of corporate hot air, right? So let’s take a closer look at what PwC does for its clients.
While it’s true that tax, assurance, and advisory are PwC’s main business segments, it is registered as a multidisciplinary entity, so it certainly has the scope to branch into new areas. This is similar to Accenture, although Accenture’s focus is narrower, which I think is one of its strengths.
In the early 2000s, PwC sought to move away from consultancy, which is hard to believe today. After moving its consultancy activities into a separate entity called Monday in 2002, PwC eventually sold its entire consultancy business to IBM later that year for around $3.5 billion.
Focusing on accounting may have been the right decision for PwC at the time. However, the company has since sought to rebuild the consultancy arm of its business operations, suggesting otherwise.
PwC completed a series of strategic acquisitions to successfully rebuild the company’s consultancy business, from Diamond Management and Technology Consultants in 2010 to PRTM in 2011.
In 2021, PwC saw a gross revenue of $45 billion, a 4.9% increase from the previous year. However, this is less than Accenture’s revenue for the same year.
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, known simply as Deloitte, is a member of the “Big Four” consultancy firms and one of the largest professional service networks in the world. It was founded in 1845 with headquarters in London, United Kingdom.
While Accenture focuses primarily on technology consulting, Deloitte’s range of services is broader, including audit, advisory, consulting, tax, financial advisory, and legal services.
Deloitte has a proven business model, putting clients first and focusing on innovation. The company offers a wide range of services delivered by experts and cutting-edge technology and aims to provide industry-leading insights which set it apart from its competitors.
To give you an idea of Deloitte’s size, it is the third-largest privately owned company in the US as of 2020, according to Forbes, and in 2012 it also sponsored the Summer Olympics.
Among Deloitte’s clients are Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, Procter and Gamble, Boeing, and The Blackstone Group.
In FY2021, Deloitte saw a 5.5% increase in revenue from the previous year with a total of $50.2 billion. This puts Deloitte slightly behind Accenture, but it’s important to note that both firms are closely matched; the question of which one is better depends on the type of services you are looking for.
Deloitte’s Strategy & Operations (S&O) group is known within the consulting industry as the crown jewel of the “Big Four,” whereas Accenture’s technology consulting offers industry-leading expertise in a diverse range of fields.
Deloitte indeed values innovation – in FY2021, the firm spent 3.5% of its global revenue on R&D – but this research has to be spread across multiple industries and services. Accenture, focusing primarily on tech, can innovate faster within this specific field.
EY (Ernst & Young)
Founded in 1989, Ernst & Young Global Limited (trade name EY) is a multinational professional services partnership with headquarters in London, United Kingdom. Like Deloitte, it is one of the “Big Four”.
While the firm’s main focus is accounting, it has – like many of its competitors – branched into new areas in recent years, including operations, strategy, technology, HR, and financial services.
The corporate structure of EY is of particular interest; it operates as a network of member firms that count as separate legal entities. In total, then, EY has over 700 offices in more than 150 countries globally. To say the firm’s influence is far-reaching is an understatement.
However, despite these impressive numbers, EY is still smaller than Deloitte; it is the seventh-largest privately owned organization in the US. In FY2021, EY achieved a 7.3% revenue increase year-on-year with a total of $40 billion – impressive, but still lagging behind Deloitte.
You may be surprised to hear EY successfully increased its revenue following the global pandemic since the consulting industry’s growth was stunted, but there is a reason for this.
I remember when I worked as a consultant how many hotel rooms and work trips I had to go on to visit clients – it was a nightmare! More importantly, though, it cost the company money. Covid triggered a massive shift to at-home working, so these expenses disappeared almost overnight. That will certainly have impacted EY’s revenue.
In 1997, EY announced plans for a merger with KPMG to create the biggest professional services network in the world. The plans were abandoned a year later due to several factors, including antitrust issues, client opposition, and cost problems.
The firm recently announced a three-year expansion plan from FY22 to FY24. The investments carried out as part of this will support the EY NextWave strategy launched in 2020.
NextWave is all about creating long-term value by focusing on four pillars: client centricity, data and technology, exceptional and diverse people, and global integration.
KPMG International Limited (known simply as KPMG) is a multinational professional services network founded in 1987 and headquartered in London, United Kingdom, and Amstelveen, Netherlands.
The firm is one of the “Big Four” with three main lines of service – tax, financial audit, and advisory (management consulting) – carried out in 145 countries worldwide.
KPMG competes with Accenture primarily through its consultancy services which aim to accelerate digital transformation. Additionally, the firm has a specific strand of business dedicated to technology consulting, the area to which Accenture dedicates most of its resources. The question, then, is whether KPMG poses a serious threat.
In FY21, KPMG generated a revenue of $32.12 billion, suggesting Accenture doesn’t have to worry just yet. However, it’s important to note that this figure represents a 10% increase year-on-year; KPMG is experiencing a period of rapid growth.
Further to that point, the firm also announced plans in 2022 to grow its tech consultancy business by hiring 3,500 additional employees in the UK.
Technology isn’t the only area where KPMG hopes to expand; in 2022, the firm announced it will acquire 50% of UK-based venture capital advisory specialist Acceleris.
While KPMG is deploying a rapid growth strategy, it is still behind competitor Deloitte regarding brand value and revenue. The firm’s investments in digital transformation technologies should be on Accenture’s radar, but in my opinion, they are not as yet cause for concern.
Accenture SWOT Analysis
The following SWOT analysis covers Accenture’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
- Global services delivery network operating in over 50 countries
- Leader in research and innovation
- A strong presence in 19 industries makes Accenture’s position more secure; it isn’t vulnerable to fluctuations within just one industry
- Impressive revenue marks Accenture out as a leading consultancy firm
- Extensive partner ecosystem including Google, Microsoft, Adobe, Salesforce, Oracle, SAP, and over 180 others
- Excellent reputation brings in more clients – 91 of the Fortune Global 100 companies are clients of Accenture, and more than three-quarters of the Fortune Global 500
- A diverse range of services on offer, from technology consulting to supply chain management
- Good return on capital expenditure
- Automation is used for effective cost reduction and resource utilization
- Dependent on consultancy business, unlike some competitors which have multiple areas of business
- Lack of coordination in some teams due to working in multiple/different industries
- Complex organizational structure leads to slow decision-making and ineffective communication
- Accenture has come under fire for the amount it charges clients, particularly government contracts
- Accenture’s position as a tech consultancy first and foremost means it is positioned to take advantage of the growing demand for digital services
- More people are shopping online since the pandemic; Accenture can help clients make the most out of this extra business
- Acquisitions offer a fast way to reach new customers with innovative products
- The rise of environmentalism and corporate responsibility offer a potential avenue of business for Accenture if it helps clients navigate new green laws
- Accenture faces serious competition from the “Big Four”
- Global trade tensions following the invasion of Ukraine and Brexit could pose a threat to Accenture’s business
- Regulatory and legal changes pose a particular threat in the technology industry
- Many economies have been weakened by the pandemic, resulting in firms having less money to spend on consultancy services
Accenture Competitors Analysis FAQs
Question: Who is Accenture’s biggest competitor?
Answer: Based on revenue, Deloitte is Accenture’s biggest competitor. The firm has stronger global brand recognition and earned $50.2 billion in FY2021.
Question: What is Accenture best known for?
Answer: Accenture is great because doesn’t try to be everything to everyone, unlike its competitors. The firm’s focus has always been on technology, which has paid off; now, Accenture has a level of expertise its competitors could only dream of.
Question: What kind of company is Accenture?
Answer: Accenture is a successful professional services company focused on technology consulting.
Question: Is Accenture a good company?
Answer: Accenture is an excellent consultancy firm with a proven track record of delivering results. In FY21 it achieved higher annual revenue than the “Big Four,” and it has an extensive partner ecosystem, including companies like Microsoft and Salesforce.
Accenture is also a good company to work for; 90% of employees say it is a great place to work compared to 57% at an average American company.
I’ve spent a lot of time working in and researching the consultancy sector, and to this day, Accenture is the firm that stands out most. With an impressive annual revenue and a strong focus on innovation, Accenture is well-placed to continue growing well into the future.
Other consultancy companies, particularly those in the “Big Four”, may excel in certain areas where Accenture does not – for example, I think Deloitte’s S&O services are better – but technology is the industry where it matters, and Accenture’s expertise is unbeatable.
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