Accenture plc
Type Public limited company
Traded as NYSEACN
Industry Management consulting
Technology services
Founded 1989 as Andersen Consulting
2001 as Accenture
Headquarters Dublin, Leinster, Republic of Ireland
Area served Worldwide
Key people William D. Green (Chairman)
Pierre Nanterme (CEO)
Revenue increase US$ 25.55 billion (2011)[1]
Operating income increase US$ 3.47 billion (2011)[1]
Net income increase US$ 2.55 billion (2011)[1]
Total assets increase US$ 15.731 billion (2011)[1]
Total equity increase US$ 3.878 billion (2011)[1]
Employees 236,000 (October 2011)

Accenture plc (NYSEACN) is a global management consulting, technology consulting and technology outsourcing company headquartered in Dublin, Republic of Ireland. It is the largest consulting firm in the world[2] and is a Fortune Global 500 company.[3] As of September 2011, the company had more than 236,000 employees across 130 countries.[2][4] Accenture's current clients include 96 of the Fortune Global 100 and more than three-quarters of the Fortune Global 500. Previously incorporated in the USA, then in Bermuda, since September 1, 2009 the company has been incorporated in Ireland.[5]

For the fiscal year ended August 31, 2011, the company generated net revenues of US$25.55 billion.[1][4] The operating profit of the company was $3.47 billion in FY2011, an increase of 18.2% over FY2010. Its net profit was $2.58 billion in FY2011, an increase of 12% over FY2010.

Accenture is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the S&P 500.



Formation and early years

Accenture originated 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 was Arthur Andersen's project leader responsible for the payroll processing automation project. Now considered to be the father of computer consulting, Glickauf headed Arthur Andersen's Administrative Services division for 10 years.

Splitting from Arthur Andersen

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 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 2000, 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.

Perhaps most telling about who had "won" the decision was that four hours after the arbitrator made his ruling, Arthur Andersen CEO Jim Wadia suddenly resigned. Industry analysts and business school professors alike viewed the event as a complete victory for Andersen Consulting.[6] Jim Wadia would provide insight on his resignation years later at a Harvard Business school case activity about the split. It turned out that the Arthur Andersen board passed a resolution saying he had to resign if he didn't get at least an incremental $4 billion (either through negotiation or via the arbitrator decision) for the consulting practice to split off; hence his quick resignation once the decision was announced.[citation needed]

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) which 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.

Andersen Consulting's change of name proved to be fortuitous as it avoided the taint when Arthur Andersen was effectively dissolved as a result of its role in the later Enron scandal.

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". Although a marketing consultancy was tasked with finding a new name for the company, 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.[citation needed]

Initial public offering

Accenture's banner hanging on New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) building for its initial public offering on July 19, 2001.

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.[7]

Bermuda headquarters

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.[8] 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,[9] have panned Accenture's incorporation in Bermuda because they viewed Accenture as having been a U.S.-based company trying to avoid U.S. taxes.[10] 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."

Ireland headquarters

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 become Accenture plc.[11]

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 was approved and 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 administration occurs in the United States, mainly New York City and Chicago.

Marketing and branding

Accenture advertises in television, print, and in public places, such as airports, around the world. Previous marketing campaigns have featured slogans such as "Now it gets interesting.", replaced in 2002, and "Innovation delivered.", replaced in 2004. The current slogan is "High performance. Delivered."

Accenture has sponsored an international event called the Accenture Match Play Championship, part of the World Golf Championships, every year since 1999.[12]

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 Tiger Woods' six-year sponsorship deal on December 13, 2009 and removed references to Woods from its website, after details of Woods's extra-marital affairs exploded in the media .[13][14]

The current advertising campaign features animals performing interesting feats as a metaphor for clients achieving high performance.

The typeface used in the Accenture wordmark is Rotis Semi-sans. The right-pointing caret character over the t is intended to indicate the company's orientation to the future.[citation needed] The character is similar to an accent mark in music.


The majority of Accenture employees are organized in one of four "workforces", each of which serves a different function in the company. The specifics differ by workforce but it is commonplace for Accenture employees to work in blended teams for a variety of reasons.

  • Consulting: Focus on business 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. Contains Accenture Technology Labs. Levels are Analyst to Senior Executive.
  • Services: Most focus on outsourcing engagements in the areas of business operations, IT, applications development and maintenance, help desk services, and HR. Can also work on Consulting-led projects. Contains the Accenture National Security Services subsidiary which primarily services to US government entities. Levels are H through A (reverse alphabetical order, lowest to highest) and Senior Executive.
  • 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. Levels are Programmer to Senior Executive, with slight regional variations.
  • Enterprise: Focus on managing and supporting all activities across Accenture's business, including legal, security, facilities, marketing, and client financial management. Levels are Junior Assistant to Senior Executive.
  • Other: Comprises subsidiaries like Avanade and Digiplug as described below.


An Accenture building at Reston Town Center
  • Coritel BPM is the Spanish subsidiary of Accenture for software development and outsourcing. It was founded in 1984 and currently has 6,500 employees.
  • Avanade began as a joint venture between Microsoft and Accenture but is now well over 80% owned by Accenture. It provides IT consulting services and solutions for the Microsoft software platform.
  • Navitaire is a subsidiary of Accenture providing specialized solutions to airlines.
  • Accenture National Security Services is a subsidiary of Accenture that provides services directly to United States government in the national security space. Its customers include the US Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, and other agencies that focus on national defense and law enforcement. This Accenture subsidiary was specifically incorporated as a US subsidiary to meet a congressional mandate that defense contractors be based in the United States.
  • Accenture Defense Group is a subsidiary of Accenture providing document management services, information technology software systems, and business process improvement strategies. Clients are multinational governments, government suppliers of "WarFighter" goods and services, corporations, and also include transnational organizations such as the European Space Agency.[15][16]
  • Accenture Technology Solutions is a subsidiary of Accenture providing technology skills[citation needed] to clients and comprises the entThe Philippines and Romania where they work in Accenture Delivery Centers.
  • Accenture SAP Solutions is a subsidiary of Accenture providing SAP computer software to clients, created with former Coritel BPM SAP resources.
  • Digiplug is a subsidiary of Accenture, providing digital supply chain solutions to the entertainment industry. Based in France and founded in 1998, Digiplug supplies 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 is a subsidiary of Accenture which helps enterprises develop and deploy new revenue-generating mobile applications.
  • Accenture Interactive is a subsidiary of Accenture which supposedly "helps companies develop world-class digital marketing capabilities and optimize their marketing investments".[citation needed]


As most consulting firms, the Consulting workforce operates in a matrix structure. The first axis is dedicated to the operating groups, or industries of its clients. The second axis is the growth platforms, which broadly refers to the functional or technical domains in which Accenture specializes. Client engagement teams typically consist of a combination of industry experts, capability specialists and professionals with local market knowledge.

Operating groups

The five operating groups comprise 19 industry groups.[17]

  • Communications, Media & High Tech: Communications, Electronics and High Tech, Media and Entertainment
  • Financial Services: Banking, Capital Markets, Insurance
  • Products: Automotive, Air, Freight & Travel Services, Consumer Goods & Services, Industrial Equipment, Infrastructure & Transportation Services, Life Sciences, Retail
  • Resources: Chemicals, Energy, Natural Resources, Utilities
  • Health & Public Service: Health, Public Service

Growth platforms

The growth platforms comprise the domain-specific workgroups in which most of Accenture's client-facing people specialize their skills, develop and use Accenture's methodology, and create and deliver solutions to clients. Most people in the Services and Solutions workforces are aligned under the Technology growth platform.[17]

  • Management Consulting: This growth platform is focused on business solutions, processes, and change management in the areas of Customer Relationship Management, Finance & Performance Management, Process & Innovation Performance, Risk Management, Strategy, Supply Chain Management, and Talent & Organization Performance.
  • Technology: This growth platform brings together the full range of systems integration, technology consulting, and IT outsourcing skills. Specialties include enterprise solutions, system integration, technical architecture, business intelligence, infrastructure consulting, and technology research/development.
  • Business Process Outsourcing: This growth platform focuses on the full range range of BPO services to enable high performance, including function-specific services such as procurement, HR and finance and accounting, as well as services geared to the needs of specific industries such as utilities, insurance and health care.


Chairman of the Board:

  • Joe Forehand (February 2001 – August 2006)[18]
  • William "Bill" D. Green (September 2006 – …)[19]

Chief executive officer:

  • George Shaheen (November 1989 - November 1999 )
  • Joe Forehand (November 1999 – August 2004)[18]
  • William D. "Bill" Green (September 2004 – December 2010)[19]
  • Pierre Nanterme (January 2011 – …)[20]

See also

Factory 1b.svg Companies portal


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Google Finance data on Accenture". Accenture Investor Relations. Retrieved December 12, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Yahoo! – Accenture Ltd Company Profile". Retrieved September 9, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Fortune Global 500 – Accenture Company Profile 2008". CNN. Retrieved August 6, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Company Description Accenture website. Retrieved September 7, 2011.
  5. ^ "Accenture – Company Profile – on Linkedin". Retrieved December 28, 2010. 
  6. ^ Arbitrator's Ruling Goes Against Accounting Arm: Consultants Win Battle Of Andersen; International Herald Tribune
  7. ^ Accenture IPO gains in first trades – Jul. 19, 2001; CNN Money
  8. ^ Information on Federal Contractors That Are Incorporated Offshore; United States General Accounting Office; October 1, 2002
  9. ^ Dobbs, Lou (March 9, 2004). "Exporting America". CNN. Retrieved May 3, 2011. 
  10. ^ Con. Larua DeLauro's Statement on Award of Homeland Defense Contract to Accenture[dead link]
  11. ^ "Accenture Newsroom: Accenture Announces Proposed Change of Incorporation to Ireland". May 26, 2009. Retrieved August 6, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Accenture Match Play Information Page". Accenture Match Play Information Page. 
  13. ^ "Accenture cuts Tiger Woods sponsorship deal". BBC News. December 14, 2009. Retrieved August 6, 2010. 
  14. ^ Pulley, Brett (December 11, 2009). "Tiger Woods Disappears From Accenture Web Home Page". Bloomberg. Retrieved August 6, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Accenture to Help Transform European Space Agency's Financial Management Model and Information Systems". Reuters. June 22, 2009. 
  16. ^ Accenture. "Accenture Defense Industry Group Overview". Retrieved August 6, 2010. 
  17. ^ a b "Accenture 10-K". Accenture 10-K. Retrieved April 26, 2011. 
  18. ^ a b "Accenture Chairman and CEO Joe W. Forehand to Step Down as CEO; Will Retain Position of Chairman". Accenture Newsroom. Retrieved July 26, 2011. 
  19. ^ a b "Accenture profile: William (Bill) D. Green". Retrieved July 26, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Accenture profile: Pierre Nanterme". Retrieved July 26, 2011. 

External links

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