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Accenture is well-known International Corporation that offers consulting services in the area of strategic planning, outsourcing, logistic processes, communication with clients, staff management, and informational technologies. With 323,000 workers representing the company in approximately 120 countries, Accenture is a good example of the successful business conducted on the global level (Accenture, 2014). The world statistics even mention the company’s name among the most successful international corporations. Moreover, Accenture is also called the most ethical corporation of all existing ones on the market. Among the main aspects that support this success, the analysts point out the relationships with the leading world companies and governments together with particularly effective choices when dealing with globalization, competition, marketing, corporate ethics, and responsibility. The aim of this research is to analyze the above-mentioned aspects in complex to show how they create an integrative image of a successful and future-oriented international corporation.
Starting the current study from the corporate website of Accenture, which can be found at https://www.accenture.com/, one can immediately get the impression of a global corporation that offers more than 40 locations and languages for the convenience of online visitors. This information can be obtained right after clicking on the language choice in the upper corner, and after clicking on the flag, one can see "select your location" and more than 40 locations and languages are offered. It is obvious that the initial color scheme choice is rather strict, and even the pictures and animations that are widely used seem to be mostly black-and white. In such a way, even without becoming acquainted with the content of the corporate site, the site visitor gets an impression of a serious company. However, the other tabs also include the brighter colors and images. Furthermore, the structure and block of the site make much information and news about the company available online. The visitors get a possibility to learn about the orientation of Accenture as well as the strategies and solutions for all industries. One can also become a candidate to cooperate with the company by clicking on the “Career” tab on the main page. The website is filled with information divided into seven main sections: strategy, consulting, digital, technology, operations, industries, and careers. Thematic division provides examples of successful consulting in various spheres and shows the digital and technological solutions of the company as quite promising and future-oriented. However, initially, it is not easy to grasp all the information and understand properly where the necessary information can be found. Finally, the links to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other popular networks are also important evidences that Accenture is oriented for a wide audience and it keeps up with the globalized digital époque. Such an approach is obviously effective to become special and a dream work place for many young people.
Every year, the vision of Accenture undergoes slight changes within the frames of technological improvements. In the previous years, the conversations regarding cloud, mobility, and Big Data were common for the company. However, in 2015, the technological improvements have caused some additional changes in Accenture’s vision (Accenture, 2014). If cost-cutting and efficiency improvement were the crucial points previously, currently, the vision is focused on technology trends that put forward CIOs approaches to be oriented for the future (Accenture, 2014).
Accenture’s dedication to the clients is based on team values and understanding of the technologies support as the effective choice for the future. Globalized world demands new appliances and technologies for the international corporations. Consequently, it is important to point out the company’s choice to use 800K+ members for Skills to Succeed initiative and support longstanding relationships with all major software vendors-helps as crucial for their success (Accenture, 2014). Only with the ability to get rapid and effective solutions across the existing and emerging technologies and platforms, the corporation can keep the achieved results and account for more. The mission of Accenture is to not only provide excellent services to the clients, but also create a strong team of professionals, who would be able to get decent profit for their work and be valued as real experts globally. Consulting for digital investment, shaping the future of business by means of operational and technological strategies, analyzing the risks and opportunities – all these are the tasks of Accenture consulting (Accenture, 2014). Focusing on analytics, the corporation considers all possible geopolitical shifts, market changes and tendencies, existing competitions and possible obstacles to improve the efficiency of client’s strategic and operational decisions. Considering maximum useful information and regarding the situation from various aspects are the necessary steps on the way to predicting and predetermining the most profitable outcomes for various clients. The goals of Accenture are to design, build, and run the definite information strategy that would represent the situation clearly with all its advantages and disadvantages.
The consulting industry in the USA and worldwide is represented by a number of different players. In the USA, the major competitors are Mercer Oliver Wyman, McKinsey & Company, Booze Allen & Company, Deloitte, Boston Consulting Group, Bain & Company (Cantor & Risen, 2002). In Europe, the major players in the area include Global Services/PWC, LEK Consulting, Arthur D Little, Capgemini and Value Partners (Cantor & Risen, 2002). Hence, one can hardly define the area of consulting services as an uncompetitive one. The consulting industry is more likely to be considered as moderately competitive with low rivalry. The company leaders are aware of the current situation characterized by the changing market life cycles with the rapid success and decline of the companies. Consequently, they are constantly in search of the means to gain innovation and profitable growth (Accenture, 2014). Therefore, it is important for Accenture to be “stronger, smarter and more innovative” than others (Accenture, 2014). Consequently, five pillars of corporate citizenship have contributed to the creation of a unique strategy and unique Accenture branding. Among such pillars, the chief leadership officer points out corporate governance, peculiar skills to succeed, environmental contributions, people, and supply chain (Accenture, 2014).
Corporate governance within the company is a distinctive feature that singles out Accentuate among others. The core values and business ethics are based on client value, support of one global network, respect for each individual, training the best people, and integrity of all members of the corporation (Accenture, 2014). Ethics & Compliance program is the basis of Accenture corporate governance and is put beyond all policies and other business processes (Accenture, 2014). The workers of the corporation are empowered to work in a healthy and friendly environment; they operate with full potential and feel comfortable during the working process (Accenture, 2014). Since 2014, Conduct Counts have been provided to shape and support the above-mentioned behavioral standards (Accenture, 2014).
The strategy of the company is also focused on the creation of the initiative that would support the skills of the workers in the offices of Accenture globally. Right skills are the key characteristics of the workers, who are going to build their career in some definite area and perform the work accurately. For this reason, it is necessary to equip the employees with such skills. Being a leading global company, Accenture has taken a responsibility to shape the necessary skills among the potential workers as not all countries educate young people in the demanded area. The initiative called “Skills to Succeed” was launched in 2009 to help the workers during the employment period (Accenture, 2014). With the aim to mobilize workers, clients, and partners Accenture puts efforts to raise their economic vitality and resilience. The targets that are to be met till 2020 include providing more than 3 million people with business building skills, focus on skilled transition from skill-building to getting sustainable jobs, and unify organizations across sectors to close the existing global unemployment gaps (Accenture, 2014).
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Environment issues are also essential strategic choice of the corporation. Mainly this strategy is important for the company to grow economically and contribute to positive impression due to being concerned about human work and lives on the earth. The environmental strategy is divided into several areas that comprise efficient operations, working process sustainably, client sustainability, and advanced sustainability (Accenture, 2014). All these aspects are crucial to raise the workers’ ambitions and overall Accenture’s attraction. The main aims that are put until 2020 include reduction of carbon emissions to approximately 50%, measure and report the results of work in key areas of sustainability (Accenture, 2014).
The value of the workers is another crucial achievement of Accenture. They consider people as the “greatest asset” that is a fuel for all extraordinary contributions (Accenture, 2014). Therefore, the corporation is aimed at attracting the best talents to work in Accenture teams. The talent strategy is aimed at not only attracting skilled people, but also at developing the talents by providing unique experiences and inclusive environment. The great diversity of multinational people contributes to Accenture’s strength and performance. It is also important that the workforce includes more than 115,000 women and by 2017, thus number will grow (Accenture, 2014).
The global “multi-billion dollar” supply chain of Accenture is the feature that makes the company be interested in creating the long-term trustful relations within the company, with the clients and with suppliers around the world (Accenture, 2014). Hence, one can see that the purchase-decision process is largely predetermined by environmental, social, and governance factors. According to 2014 report, by the end of 2016, the corporation aims to include into the process more diverse suppliers of small and medium size with the help of “Diverse Supplier Development Program” (Accenture, 2014).
Corporate governance and values are also essential to provide long-term appropriate life conditions in the communities where people work. Less developed countries provide worse conditions of life to their population. Hence, the company aims to support its workers. One should refer to the Indian example to see that Corporate Social Responsibility Act in India has defined the following tasks for the corporation: livelihood enhancement including NGOs training, self-help groups’ support, educational institutes and volunteer work registration, environmental stewardship including extended support in case of disasters and eco NGOs’ creation, governance and reporting as well as program implementation and monitoring (Accenture, 2014).
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In addition to the above-mentioned strategies, one can point out energy management as one of the most efficient choice of energy consumption decrease, especially in the highly monitored areas. Moreover, Accenture’s giving and volunteering practices are common in the needy countries. Finally, disaster relief support is another practice that emphasizes the corporation among others.
Accenture’s ethical code is primarily based on the “Business Code of Ethics” that is commonly accepted in the national and international companies. However, there also are some distinguishing features reflected in the yearly published “Accenture Business Code of Ethics” and “Zero Tolerance Policy” (Accenture, 2014). Based on stewardship, best people, client value creation, one global network, respect of individual and integrity, the existing ethical code is exceptionally appropriate for a global corporation (Accenture, 2014). The issues it supports include creation of a durable and valuable company for the future generations. In addition, searching for the best talents and supporting the collaborative and supportive environment is also a contribution to the future success and long-term productive work. Team integrity and respectful attitudes are also crucial for the efficient work and development of the corporation.
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Commitment to the above-mentioned policies should also be accompanied by visible support of the leaders, regular risk assessment, the on-going communication, and regular monitoring. Hence, the choice of the managers and leaders of the corporation and its sectors is efficient for its functioning. For these reasons, following the ethical standards strictly is obligatory even in the dire economic periods (Accenture, 2014). A number of reports mark out Accenture as the most ethical company out of numerous global corporations.
In addition to the above-mentioned documented ethical rules and norms, Accenture offers various trainings for their employees. For instance, Training on Respecting the Confidential information and Intellectual Property is conducted regularly to inform the workers about the existing restrictions and obligations as well as provide examples of the possible misconduct or information misuse.
According to the latest reports, the most profitable areas for the corporation are financial services (16%), government (13%), IT, insurance, manufacturing, and utilities (each 6%) (Accenture, 2014). The yearly report shows that the revenues of Accenture for the 2014 fiscal year were $30 billion (Accenture, 2014). This number characterizes the work of 200+ offices with 323,000 people in 120+ countries (Accenture, 2014). What is important, the policies of Accenture are also aimed at helping people become better professionals and be able to make their own contribution to the possible achievements of the company globally. Hence, Accenture has contributed approximately $53,000 to business training of 807,000 people during the 2014 fiscal year (Accenture, 2014).
The recent report provided on the Marketwatch reflects the following tendencies of the company development. In 2014, the fourth-quarter revenues have grown by 10% and $7.8 billion (Taylor, 2014). EPS has increased by 7% and free cash flow for the corporation was rated as $1.5 billion (Taylor, 2014). With regard to the statistics for the full fiscal year, the increase of the profits has reached 5%, and $30 billion in currency equivalent (Taylor, 2014). The same period was marked by EPS growth by $4.52 and $3.2 billion free cash flow (Taylor, 2014). Semi-annual cash dividends have also increased. The growth has reached 10%, which is $1.02 per share (Taylor, 2014). The division of the revenues according to the operating groups shows that media and technology have increased by 14%, the financial services increase was 10%, the health and public sector was marked by 10% growth, products’ one by 14%, and resources indicators remained flat for 2013-2014 (Taylor, 2014). According to the interviews of the leading company managers, the revenues growth is mostly predetermined by clear resonation of the strategy with the needs of the international leading companies, which are their clients. Accenture aims to distribute the resources in a way that would strengthen the industry expertise and emphasize their major capabilities. “Strategy, digital, technology, and operations” are the main aspects that let Accenture business develop more and more confidence, sustainability and profit growth (Taylor, 2014).
A new corporate citizenship initiative aims to build the skills of the workers throughout their employment. Having been started in 2009, such an initiative demanded investments equaling $100 million for three years (Accenture, 2014). The report of 2014 has shown that the expenses had contributed to the employment of 250,000 people around the globe (Accenture, 2014). Environmental concerns including carbon footprint emissions and introduction of green building techniques and operations have become a way to save $ 7.8 million in 2011 (Accenture, 2014). Encouraging donation to the community and working with businesses that are owned by the minorities are also the choices that have raised the revenues of the company.
SWOT analysis will be used here to evaluate the overall work of Accentuate on the global market (Team FME, 2013). As for the main characteristics of the company, SWOT analysis will focus on the corporation strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The main strengths comprise broad offerings to the world-known clients, global scale of the work, strong financials represented in the yearly reports and showing annual growth of the revenues. Moreover, Accenture has become a well-known global brand with high achievement in ethical norms and corporate responsibility. The trainings of the employees and search for talents predetermine high intellectual capital. Finally, one can definitely state that Accenture is a center of excellence in various domains. However, this big corporation also has some weaknesses: emerging mid-market offerings that can become serious competitors and possible increased trust to the smaller firms that may have negative impact on overall performance. The opportunities include gradual growth in IT outsourcing, increasing demand for new media technologies, large database of company reports that contribute to various experiences greatly, high intellect, and talented workers who may be available at low costs. The main threats for Accenture are the possible competitors, economic slowdown, increase of governmental regulations, and problems with subcontractors and with outsourcing. However, at the current stage of the company’s development, the threats and weaknesses would still demand a definite period of time to make a truly negative impact.
Porter’s Five Forces analysis is based on such forces as bargaining power of the buyers and suppliers, threat of substitutes and potential entrants, and rivalry level (Team FME, 2013). Accentuate and the consulting industry in general are characterized by low bargaining power of buyers, moderately low bargaining power of suppliers, high threat of substitutes, low rivalry and high threat of potential entrants.
Regarding the rivalry level, it is necessary to regard the long-term work of the corporation and large industry size as the factors that predetermine the low rivalry level in the consulting market area. The exit barriers in the industry are low, and the position of Accenture is quite strong. However, the threat of substitutes is quite high due to the possibility to vary costs and prices as well as the peculiar characteristics of services. With the ability to meet the customers’ demands and low dependency on distributors, the bargaining power of buyers and suppliers is low.
Regarding the profit margin as one of the clearest indicator of the company’s success, one can conclude that the effectiveness of the company increases. At the same time, no loss of quality or corporate and ethical conduct is noticed. Therefore, the increase of the profit margin since 2009 proves that Accenture is capable to not only support the current position, but also go on developing, implementing the innovations, and staying oriented for future.