Accenture is clearly one of the very biggest consulting and technology services companies. But is it a part of the Big 4?
Accenture is not a Big 4 because it provides predominantly consulting services, while the core business of Deloitte, PwC, EY, and KPMG is related to accounting and audit. The regulatory standards at these firms are also more stringent than Accenture, and the ownership structure of the two entities is entirely different.
In this article, I’ll take a look at:
- The key question! Is Accenture a Big 4 (clue – it isn’t)
- The main 3 reasons why it’s not
- I’ll also explain what makes Accenture somewhat better than the Big 4 (Deloitte, PwC, EY, and KPMG) in the consulting industry (so stick around for that)
Is Accenture a Big 4? (And Why)
Although Accenture provides consulting services, it is not considered one of the firms in the Big 4.
This term (‘Big 4’) usually refers to the 4 biggest accounting firms in the world, namely:
These companies do provide consulting services, but this practice is relatively new for them.
However, the fun fact is that the Big 4 used to be the Big 5 and included KPMG, Deloitte, PwC, EY, and Arthur Anderson. AA later collapsed due to some allegations. (The Enron Scandal).
Arthur separated from the original organization and renamed itself Accenture in 2001. Today, this firm competes with the Big 4 companies regarding advisory and consulting services. (Source)
3 Facts Why Accenture Is Not Big 4
Here are the 3 facts to help you understand why Accenture is not considered part of the Big 4.
Accenture is a multinational consulting, strategy, and IT services company. It is operating in more than 120 countries.
It provides services to 91 of Fortune 100 and 75% of the Fortune 500 global companies. (Source)
These services include:
- Develop and implement strategic plans
- Advises related to finance and sustainability
- Data analytics and cloud computing services
- Streamline business practices
On the other hand, the Big 4 are international accounting and professional services firms that offer financial advisory services along with
- consulting services to their vast range of clients. (Source)
2. Regulatory Standards
The significant factor that sets Accenture apart from the Big 4 is the regulatory standards’ disparity and implications.
The Big 4 forms are known for their rigorous compliance standards, particularly related to auditing and accounting services.
For employees, these standards have created more restrictions and limitations on what they can do related to stock holdings or investments.
On the contrary, Accenture has a different regulatory environment, with a focus on consulting services. Its standards are less restrictive. They allow you to do any kind of work and interact with a range of people at the firm.
3. Ownership Structure
Accenture is a publicly traded company, which means that it has shareholders.
You can buy or sell its shares on stock exchanges.
On the other hand, Big 4 companies operate as partners who bring revenue to the firms.
This difference in the ownership structure has many implications for how work is sold and delivered within these corporations.
At Accenture, the decisions about which project to pursue are typically made by the management teams and executives, who are then accountable to the shareholders.
While at Big 4, partners have more autonomy and flexibility when it comes to choosing the next project for the firm.
They use their networks and expertise to take calculated risks on smaller or unconventional projects, especially at companies or startups. (Source)
Why Is Accenture Special?
Since Accenture is not a part of the Big 4, you might want to find out the reasons that make it special and set it apart from these companies in the consulting industry.
Well, there are a few key things…
1. Number of Employees
Accenture has over 738,000 employees as of this year, which is more than any of the Big 4 firms.
Not only that, but Accenture is arguable much more prestigious than Deloitte, PwC, KPMG, and EY.
Though this is very subjective, I’ve heard it said that you get the chance to interact with more talented and big-minded people there. (Source)
2. Work-life Balance
While work-life balance can vary across different teams and roles at Accenture, you can get the chance to keep your professional life aside from personal commitments.
On average, you have to work 9 to 11 hours daily, which is relatively moderate in the consulting field.
In terms of growth and compensation, Accenture offers competitive yearly hikes ranging between 10% to 16%.
Depending on your performance, you can also get an annual variable bonus between 12% to 15%. (Source)
According to an employee at Accenture about the work-life balance, “In general, yes. There are different factors to consider, though, such as tower, project, or department, but Accenture definitely allocates enough activities to make sure everyone is engaged and comfortable at work.” (Source)
At Big 4 firms, the work-life balance is pretty much non-existent. You might have to work 70 to 80 hours a week, especially during the audit season. (Source)
Another key factor that distinguishes Accenture from the Big 4 accounting firms is its reputation for offering competitive starting salaries to its consultants.
The comparison table below will give you an idea of how much salary Accenture and Big 4 are offering to their consultants:
|Consultant||$120,000/yr||$93K – $107K/yr|
|Consulting Analyst||$113,000/yr||$88K – $102K/yr|
|Consulting Senior Analyst||$89,000/yr||$80,000 to $120,000|
|Senior Principal Consultant||$278K – $324K/yr||$213,281 per year.|
When it comes to revenue, Accenture stands out as a true industry giant.
As of this year, the company boasts a staggering annual revenue of approximately $61.6 Billion. This makes it the leader in the consulting and technology services sector.
When you compare this impressive figure to the revenue of the Big 4 firms:
- Deloitte at $59.3 Billion
- PwC at $50.3 Billion
- EY at $45.2 Billion
- KPMG at $34.64 Billion
You can see that Accenture clearly outpaces each of these renowned organizations in terms of sheer financial performance.