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EY or ACN?

#1 EY or ACN?
04/03/2013 18:53


Hi Guys,

I need some advice regarding the career choice. Which option would be better in terms of:

- quality of management consulting projects (not technology consulting)

- better exit opportunities to other industries or consultancies?

a) Analyst Consulting Group at Accenture - unfortunately the alignment to either technology or management consulting isn't confirmed until the start date

b) Advisory Consultant Programme - Performance Improvement department at E&Y

Any help would be much appreciated.

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#2 RE: EY or ACN?
05/03/2013 08:17

Poseidon to consultinggrad (#1)

I would go for Accenture as long as I am not planning a career in audit! Consulting is the core for Accenture, but a side business for E&Y.

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#3 RE: EY or ACN?
05/03/2013 08:40

marsday to consultinggrad (#1)


I know what Poseidon is saying about Accenture, but it's probably stretching it to say their core business is consulting. Functional consulting yes, but not management or strategy. And the growth of Advisory across the Big 4 looks set to eclipse audit if the current trend continues, and add into that increasing scrutiny on the hegemony of the Big 4 audit arms and some high profile audits which have been ... questionable (Autonomy/HP for example). Advisory is the cash cow for Big 4 now. Both great firms, but I reckon EY will get you closer to the business much faster, is less political, and it will be easier to shine in a smaller peer group. But the training won't be on a par with Accenture and the project likely smaller ticket.

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#4 RE: EY or ACN?
05/03/2013 09:25

Poseidon to marsday (#3)

True that advisory is EYs growth area, which might make it a bit more prioritised. However, my impression from meeting EY during events is that it's friendly people with quite short working hours, but that audit often takes too much of the organisations attention.

Agree with marsday, Accenture seems to be a quite political firm with tech in slightly more focus than MC. Also, they tend to work longer hours (at least according to those I know within the firm). In the Nordics Accenture's strategy practice is the strategy division among all firms (including MBB) that is considered to work the longest hours. The weeks are however much shorter in other divisions, and often quite flexible since you get to steer your own career progress speed.

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#5 RE: EY or ACN?
05/03/2013 09:36

consultinggrad to Poseidon (#4)

Since I don't have any control over the alignment at Accenture (which is supposedly a 'soft alignment') would being branded as a tech consultant prohibit me from moving to management consulting projects?

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#6 RE: EY or ACN?
05/03/2013 09:43

marsday to consultinggrad (#5)

No but it would be down to you to network your way onto MC projects and prove yourself - and those opportunities wont come up until you have established yourself as a safe pair of hands in tech, by which time convincing people you can add value on MC projects will be harder. Rinse and repeat. A lot will depend on the nature of tech work you would be doing.

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#7 RE: EY or ACN?
05/03/2013 10:09

Norbert to marsday (#6)

Having worked in both firms it really depends on what you're looking for.

In terms of exit options I would argue that the Big 4 brand of EY probably comes out slightly on top. I think that a lot of Accenture people get tarred with the IT brush - not a bad thing if that's the career path you're on, but certainly frustrating if you're more of a management consultant type. Coming from EY you'll get tarred with the accountant / audit brush, but I think that's less restrictive than the IT label. Don't get me wrong, both of these impressions are false, and anyone who knows anything about recruiting from a consultancy will see through that, but some of the misconception always sticks.

From a training perspective ACN is in front, and i mean way in front. They've been training graduates for a very long time and have a very slick process for doing so (although this may have changed in the 10+ years since I first went through St Charles). I think the intentions for the EY Consultant Programme are good, but i'm not sure they've committed to it in the right way, so there is work to be done to bring it up to scratch

At the end of the day it all comes down to the projects you'll be working on, the training and coaching you get on the job, and the content / type of work you'll be exposed to. Those are the things that will REALLY shape your career and determine what your exit options are. ACN is a big place, and it's tough in the early days to drive you career in the right direction. (Current employees correct me if i'm wrong) There are lots of very good projects to be had at both ACN and EY - good clients & interesting content. I still have the feeling that it's harder to direct your career at ACN - I was lucky that i managed to get on to the type of work i was interested in from day 1, but i can think of many people that didn't and they ended up doing work that really didn't have a fit with their long-term aspirations.

Overall for me, EY wins, but I really enjoyed my time at ACN - you can build a good career at both.

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#8 RE: EY or ACN?
05/03/2013 19:12

consultinggrad to Norbert (#7)

Thank you all for the advice!

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