Here’s a look inside consulting giant Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting) which has become one of the largest consulting companies in the world. Domiciled in Ireland since 2009, the firm has nearly 400,000 employees spread around the globe (roughly half located in India). The firm is a prestigious destination for aspiring finance professionals.
Broadly speaking, Accenture careers are divided into 8 categories:
- Corporate Functions
- Federal Services
One area has developed an especially strong reputation, technology. In fact, the firm is creating ‘innovation hubs’ across the country to work on client projects in cutting edge fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, machine learning and cybersecurity. One major hub is in Houston, Texas and the firm plans to have 10 in total by 2020.
If you’re really looking to expand your technological ambitions at the firm, apply for one of Accenture Labs five international tech hubs located in China, Israel, France, Ireland and India.
If you don’t have a specific tech background, that’s OK. Accenture recruits professionals with problem solving and leadership qualities to oversee projects and teams in a wide variety of disciplines. And there is more than ample on-the-job training.
What it’s Really Like Working at Accenture
Working at Accenture is definitely for ambitious professionals. This means being ready to work long hours and travel. While you can have steady advancement by staying in one location, to make a name for yourself, especially early on in your career, you should be ready to travel. Sometimes an assignment can last a couple years, so it’s important to understand this beforehand.
Of course, when you are away from home on assignment, your lodging is provided. This is a great perk, especially in metro settings like New York City, where the apartments used on assignments are very nice.
In short, employees hold Accenture in high regard-they voted the firm onto Glassdoor’s 2018 Best Place to Work list.1
As far as salaries go, here are some guideposts. According to data on Payscale, the average annual salary at Accenture is reported as $85,000.2 By position, ‘analysts’ average $70,000 while consultants earn $90,000 according to employment review site, Glassdoor.3 If an employee makes it to ‘manager’, the pay jumps to $121,698.4 Accenture’s LGBT team members are 1.5X more likely to reach manager status.5
Keep in mind, this is a nationwide average. In metro areas such as New York City, analysts, consultants and managers are paid considerably higher at $78,437, $97,358 and $137,748 respectively.6
Now we’ll cross-reference by degree, rather than job title. We’ve written extensively about how consulting firms value advanced degrees and Accenture is no different. MBA degree holders at Accenture report nationwide salaries of $117,933, while MAcc and MBA in Finance holders at the firm averaged $106,000 and $107,514, respectively.7
Accenture has many of the benefits offered in Corporate America such as health insurance, paid time off and tuition reimbursement. Accenture’s employee health insurance plans are particularly well-liked by most employees we read reviews from. A couple of things stood out to us.
First, employees report being allowed to keep the health insurer they choose.8 Moving from health insurer to insurer, especially often, can be a major hassle for employees and their families. Many would prefer to pay incrementally more to stay.
Next, the firm also offers a stock purchase plan for many employees as part of their bonus package. Those who have taken advantage of this perk have been rewarded handsomely in recent years. Accenture’s share price has vaulted greater than 500% over the last decade. This is an additional compensation/benefit not fully reflected in the above figures.
Stock purchase plans are a pretty unique perk for Accenture employees because most management consulting firms are not publicly traded. That is more common among investment consulting firms, like Willis Towers Watson, who advise public pension funds, insurance companies and university endowments.
Finally, employee retirement benefits include a defined contribution plan, 401(k), where Accenture reportedly matches employee contributions up to 6%.8 The days of defined benefit plans (pensions) are largely a thing of the past in the private sector. Deloitte is one of the few that manages to provide one for qualifying employees.
Women at Accenture
An increased focus on the benefits of diversity is sweeping through corporate workplaces. This is certainly true at Accenture, which is at the forefront of the movement.
A refreshing post from Accenture’s official blog tells the story of employee Helen Cochrane who juggles working full-time as a Health and Public Services consultant (and senior manager) and mother of two young boys.9 Making it more challenging, Cochrane frequently travels to both the U.K. and Australia on work projects.
The firm clearly goes above and beyond for gender equality in the workplace. In fact, Accenture has ambitions to create a truly balanced workforce. It’s ‘Getting to Equal’ initiative strives to have 50% of Accenture’s global workforce comprised of women by 2025.10
What’s more, the consulting firm has a goal of promoting 25% of women to Managing Director roles by 2020.11 Having an advanced degree is another way to potentially rise through the ranks faster. Finally, Accenture reportedly offers up to $20,000 in fertility treatments as an additional employee benefit.12 It’s a great time to consider Accenture careers, especially if you are a woman.
Finding Opportunities at Accenture
Accenture is always looking for talented professionals. And those with the right work and educational background are most likely to land Accenture positions. For candidates coming straight out of undergrad programs, grades are especially important.
Traditionally, a 3.2 GPA is preliminary screening metric used at consulting firms. Employers also want well rounded individuals, who have demonstrated some trait, whether that’s leadership or creativity, that can translate to driving their mission.
Graduate degrees also act as a screener, where employers can judge not only acumen, but the ability to work in teams where a project needs to be managed, and completed, by members providing unequal contributions.
If you’re interested in learning more about opportunities at Accenture, consider joining their ‘Talent Connection’ through their website.13 The platform matches the firm’s employment needs and opportunities with talent.
In addition to the expected technological consulting, we noticed a major push into Federal Services. Wherever there are inefficiencies and/or waste, you can be sure to find consultants. As a federal contractor, this provides an enormous opportunity for Accenture.
In particular, Accenture’s Arlington, Virginia office is adding staffing, not surprising given its proximity to the nation’s capital. In part, the firm is looking for professionals (termed ‘Scrum Masters’) who can help overhaul ‘legacy’ (i.e. old) fraud detection and case management systems for their customer, a government agency.14
There are also plenty of software development updates necessary for the IT systems in Federal Data Centers, as well as their cloud services (Amazon Web Services, AWS).15 These projects need team ‘coaches’ to oversee continual improvements, create a collaborative environment throughout the project and monitor the results-all by maintaining ‘Best Practice’s. In other words, they need Project Managers.
Another need is for financial management analysts, who bring capital budgeting and forecasting skills to the Federal arena. This role has a basic GPA requirement of 3.0 in Bachelor’s or Master’s program, with a level of attention to accounting standards.16
Keep in mind, a clean background is probably required for many roles within the Federal Services division since it may require security clearance.
We are excited about the future at Accenture and believe it is a great financial career option for aspiring professionals looking to apply innovative solutions to solve complex problems.