EY vs. PwC vs. Accenture?

Hi Everyone,

I've been lurking this forum for a while but now that I'm at a crossroads with job offers, I figured I would come out of the shadows for some help. Here are my current three offers (all are in the same city):

  • EY Business Advisor Program (non-financial services): rotational program with regards to industry/competency
  • PwC Management Consulting: you are assigned an industry (have not been assigned yet)
  • Accenture Management Consulting Development Program: assigned to competency, change management division (which is fine with me)--not industry specific for the duration of the program

PwC Management Consulting vs. E&Y - Culture Considerations


Source: WSO Consulting Industry Report 2018

All of these companies have different things to offer.

  • EY seems to have the best culture/work-life balance/etc.
  • PwC has the name I would want on my resume if everything else with the firms were held equal.
  • Accenture pays a TON (currently $17,000 more than PwC, the lowest, after initial bonuses and salary. And this doesn't even include performance bonus or overtime), matches 100% of 401k contributions, and has a much better MBA sponsorship program.

Accenture Competitors = Worse Pay?


Source: WSO Consulting Industry Report 2018

I know money isn't everything, but the pay gap is actually pretty large between Accenture and the other firms, especially because of the overtime, and I am graduating with a good amount of student loans.

Top Consulting Firm Exit Opps

But I am hesitant because I have heard that MBB tends to have this unspoken rule about ever letting people from Accenture in and:

  • Right now I see myself trying to interview at an MBB as a lateral hire a few years from now
  • I'd love to get into a relatively decent grad school in the future

PwC vs E&Y vs Accenture - Final Verdict?


Source: WSO Consulting Industry Report 2018

It's a difficult decision that depends on many factors, including:

  • Compensation
  • Culture
  • Work/life balance
  • Exit opps
  • Career goals

You can gain additional insight on different consulting opportunities in these posts:

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Comments (57)

Nov 19, 2014 - 10:11pm

I'm guessing you read the Accenture interview article from ManagementConsulted.com that stated this. Although it may have applied at some point, I believe this to be more of a myth than truth. I've actually met a number of people that have moved from Accenture to MBB, although at the manager level. I don't think recruiters at MBB are going to look at a candidate from Accenture and automatically assume that they will not be competent enough to work at their firm. It will all come down to the experience you gain on your projects and how you tell your story--and this is true for any firm you decide to join.

Nov 20, 2014 - 11:39am

- Not sure about undergrad, but at MBA level recruiting ACN > PWC > E&Y
- You most likely won't get overtime in ACN (or anywhere else), unless its a government project where client is charged hourly
- You may make extra money by eating Subway or something for dinner and saving per diem
- MBB lateral is rare from anywhere at early stage. Lot of people from ACN, etc. do move to MBB after MBA
- More ACN people in top MBAs than E&Y and PwC (then again ACN has larger program)
- Bonus at all places suck
- ACN is defnitely not a bad move when your other options are PwC and E&Y

Array
Nov 20, 2014 - 2:04pm

If you are in a stressed financial situation I find it a bit odd that you'd pass up on 17k for a maybe true urban legend about a move you may make. Chase the money, pay off those debts and be free.

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Nov 20, 2014 - 4:26pm

Accenture MC vs. KPMG/PwC (Originally Posted: 05/26/2012)

To the Consulting world, I currently have a solid gig at Accenture in Management Consulting (primarily on Tech engagements), but most recently have been heavily solicited by all of the Big 4 firms that are building up their Management Consulting practices for Tech Advisory. My question goes out to anyone that has worked in MC/Strategy for either firm: are these places better to be for high level IT Strategy work, even though this isn't their bread and butter? Is it better to stay at a firm that may be considered lower tier, yet specializes in all things Tech, vs. a firm that has better brand name recognition but may have a smaller share or focus in this sector? Thanks in advance for any input from anyone that has worked on either side.

Nov 20, 2014 - 4:29pm

Much appreciated, I certainly like where I'm at, but to add a bit of complexity to the fold, the other firms are offering not only a significant boost in pay but also a level advance (think Associate -> Manager)... something that otherwise staying put would take an additional 3 years to achieve even on the fast track.

Nov 20, 2014 - 4:30pm

How much is prestige worth to you versus opportunity an impact?

Think about it.

Also, the more appropriate factors to look into are their clientele trends and engagement histories. Name is a name is a name, but if you can get on some really badass string of engagements you can leverage that a lot (if you're thinking of eventual exit options, but if you're going to stay in the firm then this is a no-brainer)

Nov 20, 2014 - 4:31pm

Thanks again... I feel like I want to stay in the consulting game for the next 10 years of my career... I'd rather pursue the partner track than corporate. That could change but at the moment my only consideration is firm vs. firm(s) with respect to Advisory/Consulting.

Nov 20, 2014 - 4:32pm

If you have a chance to join Deloitte S&OP with a pay bump, a promotion that would otherwise be 3 years away, and increased focus in your field of choice, it seems like a no-brainer to me unless it comes with other catches.

In general, if your plan is definitely to stay in consulting for 10 years, it sounds like you are probably well served by taking the promotion. None of the big 4 consulting arms are that far inferior to Accenture's management consulting group (MBB considers Deloitte S&OP a significantly larger threat and we definitely pitched against them more frequently than we did Accenture). If you leave after 10 years as a junior partner at any of these practices, your exits are way more about your personal network and personal branding, so the 3 year head start on getting to partner would be invaluable in a lot of ways. A few things to consider:

Does this promotion hold up down the line (e.g. are you 3 years closer to partner or do the big 4 firms have more intermediate titles? Essentially, I would think about it as how quickly the promotion gets you to selling and brand-building activities like writing white papers, speaking at conferences, etc. Don't get caught up in the title differences between firms if your outlook is 10 years).

Are you putting yourself in a position to succeed? (Making partner at any of these firms is not easy and far from automatic - if you have a strong reputation internally and partners who know and support you, that is not necessarily something you can count on replicating at a new firm, especially if you come in with higher expectations as something of a mercenary lateral-hired from a competitor. This also applies in terms of whether you are ready to hit the ground running in a manager role - promotions are no use if they damage your career trajectory)

Are you confident that you want to pursue the partner track? (Leaving at the partner or principal level really reduces the differences between these firms - if you burn out or don't make the partner cut, however, these differences come back into play. Each of them place differently into business schools and have different reputations within different industries/geographical regions. You might want to hedge your bets unless you are very certain that you can and want to stay in consulting)

Obviously I'd do the rest of the due diligence as well - current pay scale and average progression comparison, etc. but in your position you should know more about that than I do. Good luck with whatever you choose.

Nov 20, 2014 - 4:33pm
signposts:
If you have a chance to join Deloitte S&OP with a pay bump, a promotion that would otherwise be 3 years away, and increased focus in your field of choice, it seems like a no-brainer to me unless it comes with other catches.

In general, if your plan is definitely to stay in consulting for 10 years, it sounds like you are probably well served by taking the promotion. None of the big 4 consulting arms are that far inferior to Accenture's management consulting group (MBB considers Deloitte S&OP a significantly larger threat and we definitely pitched against them more frequently than we did Accenture). If you leave after 10 years as a junior partner at any of these practices, your exits are way more about your personal network and personal branding, so the 3 year head start on getting to partner would be invaluable in a lot of ways. A few things to consider:

Does this promotion hold up down the line (e.g. are you 3 years closer to partner or do the big 4 firms have more intermediate titles? Essentially, I would think about it as how quickly the promotion gets you to selling and brand-building activities like writing white papers, speaking at conferences, etc. Don't get caught up in the title differences between firms if your outlook is 10 years).

Are you putting yourself in a position to succeed? (Making partner at any of these firms is not easy and far from automatic - if you have a strong reputation internally and partners who know and support you, that is not necessarily something you can count on replicating at a new firm, especially if you come in with higher expectations as something of a mercenary lateral-hired from a competitor. This also applies in terms of whether you are ready to hit the ground running in a manager role - promotions are no use if they damage your career trajectory)

Are you confident that you want to pursue the partner track? (Leaving at the partner or principal level really reduces the differences between these firms - if you burn out or don't make the partner cut, however, these differences come back into play. Each of them place differently into business schools and have different reputations within different industries/geographical regions. You might want to hedge your bets unless you are very certain that you can and want to stay in consulting)

Obviously I'd do the rest of the due diligence as well - current pay scale and average progression comparison, etc. but in your position you should know more about that than I do. Good luck with whatever you choose.

-It appears that each firms titles map 1 to 1 (the potential new firm doesn't have any additional/intermediate titles that would make the promotion a wash)
-Putting myself in a position to succeed.... probably the single most important factor that has caused any hesitancy in this decision. I'm confident in my abilities, I just don't want to end up in a place where I'm either a bad fit or wish I had stayed put (the grass is always greener!). I wouldn't want a promotion if I wasn't groomed enough at my current level to be able to perform, so I don't think that's an issue, I think it's more of a fit with the type of work I would be doing.
-Partner Track: This is my current goal I want to strive toward, that's why any move I may make, I want it to be to a firm that I stay put at for some time so I can develop relationships and my internal network. I don't want to be that guy that bounces from place to place at the sight of an attractive offer. I want a move to be not only a short term, but also a long term (career) move.

Nov 20, 2014 - 4:34pm

OP, if one of these offers is from Deloitte Technology Consulting ( Deloitte & Touche ERS/advisory) and your offer with Accenture doesn't consist of NOT pure Management Consulting but Systems Integration or similar... Deloitte Consulting > Accenture overall. There are things that either firm/arm does better but Deloitte Consulting is just the better brand overall.

When it comes down to it you won't go wrong with either, but I think its hard to argue against Deloitte Consulting > Accenture.

Cheers

No pain, no pain.
Nov 20, 2014 - 4:35pm

PwC Vs Accenture (Originally Posted: 03/05/2013)

I am a current first year MBA with a financial services background. I have two internship offer - Risk practice at Accenture and Risk practice at PwC. I am trying to decide between the two base in work/life balance, culture and opportunities to move around. Ideally, I do not have to stay focused in FS for the long term. Accenture does pay more and offers to pay second year tuition if you accept full time offer. Though I do not want money to be a big part of the equation, it certainly factors in.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Also, if anyone has an idea of what PwC pays full time salary for an MBA, that would be helpful too!

Thank you!

Nov 20, 2014 - 4:38pm

PM me.

Currently: future psychiatrist (med school =P) Previously: investor relations (top consulting firm), M&A consulting (Big 4), M&A banking (MM)
Nov 20, 2014 - 4:39pm

PwC has better brand recognition and take advantage of that by typically paying less

but still would take PwC

Frank Sinatra - "Alcohol may be man's worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy."
Nov 20, 2014 - 4:41pm

F500 Strategy vs PwC vs Accenture consulting (Originally Posted: 03/07/2014)

Post MBA, which of these careers give you better long term exit opportunities to something like Corp Dev or MM PE?

The strategy & finance role would be at a well known Fortune 10 company.

From what I understand PwC and Accenture are 3rd tier firms and are not really considered strategy consulting shops.

Nov 20, 2014 - 4:46pm

Consulting - PwC vs EY vs KPMG (Originally Posted: 09/13/2014)

Hi there. I will try and make this as short as possible:

I'm a student in UK. Finished summer internship in audit with Deloitte. Received offer. This is my back up.

Want to be consultant. Applying to MC jobs (London) in my final year at university, Attend mid tier university so MBB is out of sight, realistically.

How do PwC/EY/KPMG compare to each other and other firms like Accenture/LEK/AT Kearney. The big 4 have invested heavily in consulting recently, this is why I am asking for up to date views on the industry.

I appreciate any help or advice, thanks!

Nov 20, 2014 - 4:47pm

I can't speak for the other firms, but PwC in the UK is very highly regarded. Because of the quality of the practice I believe their strategy practice pre-Strategy& was able to command the same rates as McKinsey and BCG. With the caveat, I'm PwC, and not from that office. This is just what I've seen.

Developmentally, the UK consultants I've met are incredible.

TT

Nov 20, 2014 - 4:48pm

I work at EY advisory for quite while. Don't really have too much other big 4 experience, but I would recommend EY as the people here are really helpful to the others and passionate about what they are doing. The only drawback is that after several years of work, you might find yourself have reached the bottle neck, and don't know where to go next. It could be the problem for all big 4 advisory branches. Last but not least, if you are just about to get out of college and this is the first job you are looking for. Definitely go for it. All those companies above won't let you down.

Everyone has a plan until he got punched in the mouth.
  • 1
Nov 20, 2014 - 5:00pm

hi,my name is Ary. I saw that you have been working at EY advisory for quite while, would you able to providing me any advice in working at EY advisory please? I find myself very good at advising people and most of time people telling me that this is my true talent about and they feel me highly trustable. But many people said the real work might not as same as we expected. Only expert like you could tell us what the job really does?

im working as an accountant with 2 years experience.I was trying to apply for the advisory position in EY, but i was told lack of experience for senior/ manager positions. im already graduated over 2 years, not eligible for graduate program.

Is there any position in between senior and graduate in EY? and Based on your many years professional experience, any advice to help me make this transition from accountant to consultant? what role i could use my experience?

Thank you very much!

Nov 20, 2014 - 4:50pm

I think saying KPMG being left in the dust is a bit of an exaggeration. Globally, the firm made $23B last year in revenue, hardly a small number. They'll have quite a large war chest in case they decide to make a purchase.

That being said, they have been building up their consulting practice, albeit slowly, in the last few years, notably acquiring SECOR, among others. I'm sure they're sniffing around in the midst of the other three making moves, but don't count them out.

What still needs to be figured out is how well the model of Big 4 + Tier 2 strategy shop will work out. Remember that Monitor Deloitte is only 1.5-2 years in the making, Strategy& is what, 3-4 months? Still unclear if they can really utilize all that IP and those connections to move more into higher-level strategy work.

  • 1
Nov 20, 2014 - 4:51pm

I used to have an offer with KPMG management consulting for London office but I didn't take it. The office was alright, however the people are quite "bureaucracy" and not that open. Pay is good and better than audit I believe (but then for audit they also pay for your ACA so depend on how you value that qualification). The AC was quite boring and doesn't make me feel comfortable...may be it's just me and that AC in particular. However I don't have much experience with others so take this with a grain of salt.

“He never chooses an opinion, he just wears whatever happens to be in style” (Leo Tolstoy - War and Peace)
Nov 20, 2014 - 4:52pm

I'm not exactly an expert on the field, but from what I understand, PwC tends to be viewed as the top dog, EY and Deloitte are slightly behind PwC, and KPMG is usually ranked at the bottom.

Big generalization though, and I'm sure it's different if you want to slice it by office and group.

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw
Nov 20, 2014 - 4:53pm

jmayhem:

I'm not exactly an expert on the field, but from what I understand, PwC tends to be viewed as the top dog, EY and Deloitte are slightly behind PwC, and KPMG is usually ranked at the bottom.

Big generalization though, and I'm sure it's different if you want to slice it by office and group.

I disagree, but admit that there may be regional differences; each firm may be stronger in one area geography vs. another.

I wrote a post about this in another thread but the overall summary goes something like this:

Deloitte > PwC > KPMG/EY

//www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/consulting-vs-tas-vs-audit-in-big-4#cid-…

Nov 20, 2014 - 4:54pm

jmayhem:

I'm not exactly an expert on the field, but from what I understand, PwC tends to be viewed as the top dog, EY and Deloitte are slightly behind PwC, and KPMG is usually ranked at the bottom.

Big generalization though, and I'm sure it's different if you want to slice it by office and group.

Disagreed, at least for consulting groups in the U.S.

I'd say it's more like Deloitte > PwC > EY >> KPMG

Nov 20, 2014 - 4:59pm

Yes, and generally true. Also true in Asia.

Currently: future psychiatrist (med school =P) Previously: investor relations (top consulting firm), M&A consulting (Big 4), M&A banking (MM)
Nov 20, 2014 - 5:01pm

PwC Management Consulting v. Accenture Management Consulting (Originally Posted: 10/22/2014)

Hi all,

I currently have two full-time offers one from PwC Management Consulting in NYC and another for Accenture Management Consulting in NYC. If I were to go to PwC I would want to try to get get aligned to TICE (their tech, media, communications, etc group) and specifically either their Customer, Innovation, or Strategy Functions, however there doesn't seem to be any guarantee about placement until a week before you start and I have heard that you might not even get projects within your alignment. At Accenture, I would ideally be aligned to CMT (Communications Media Tech) but could be working across any function; strategy, ops, tech, or digital.

I eventually want to work in Brand Strategy and/or work in Strategy for Media companies, as well as go to a top B-school. Which option seems more attractive? I would love to get a better understanding of the realities of getting staffed on/rolling off of projects and what the cultures are like. Thanks so much!

Nov 20, 2014 - 5:03pm

EY BAP PI vs. PwC MC (Originally Posted: 11/03/2014)

Hi all,

Have two offers to consider (campus recruiting), need some help with your advice:

  1. EY Business Advisor Program- Performance Improvement Services (Los Angeles Office)
  2. PwC Management Consulting (Haven't Chosen Vertical Yet, But Leaning Towards CIPS) (LA Office)

Which is better based on
1. Exit ops
2. Top MBA/Prestige
3. Career Progression
4. Interesting Projects
5. Flexibility and People
6. Bonuses

Also, I have the $$$ info for EY, since I've received the official offer letter, if PwC offers lower than EY, how do I ask them to match EY?

Thanks!

Nov 20, 2014 - 5:04pm

1) I think exit ops are relatively the same between the two - but it depends greatly on the type of projects you work on versus the firm.

2) I want to say PwC> EY, but again, it depends on what part of PwC's group you get into (if you can forsure try and get into CIPS or TICE, those groups are much more interesting that FS and Healthcare imo)

3) Both have the same structure for the most part - the only major differnce i know of is that PwC is pushing hard for a 3 year promotion program for UGs. Most places have a standard 2 years as a Analyst then you're promoted but PwC has been pushing 3 years. The only group I know that hasnt been pushing the 3 yr rule as hard has been CIPS and TICE

4) It all depends on the group you get into at PwC, so I'd say they average eachother out since its luck and networked based

5) Cant comment - people is all on personal preference. And flexibility is more project based than company wide.

6) PwC pays bonuses for all staff levels, the amount is dependent on your rating. EY does not offer bonuses until you get promoted to Senior.

Hugo

  • 1
Nov 20, 2014 - 5:06pm

Have you already gotten your PwC offer?

If you're from UG, I think its pretty set in stone what the salary is, so IDK if there is much negotiating there, but always worth a try. I have heard of people being able to negotiate for a higher signing bonus though (from 5k to 10k or something along those lines).

In terms of how to do it, you will definitely need to call them to talk in person and tell them that you have a competing offer from another Big 4/competing firm that offers a higher salary and seeing that they can do to match. Again, I think their salaries are pretty set in stone so do not be surprise if they dont budge, but you can probably fight for bigger signing bonus.

It is important that you call them to do it (it may seem easier to do it via email, but it also makes it easier for them to say no). A phone call puts everyone on the spot. You'll probably get some fight back or reasoning as to why they believe the offer is competitive at that amount, and you probably won't get an answer right away. The point is to get them to think it over and talk with whoever.

Hugo

Nov 20, 2014 - 5:07pm

Thanks for the advice

Received my PwC offer today, and as expected it's $5k less than EY (base), and $2k more than EY (signing bonus) Called the recruiter and left a message to chat, will talk to him about the potential $ increases.

PwC also placed me in an office that wasn't even on my preference list. How easy is that to change? Is that an error on their part?

Again, appreciate the guidance.

Nov 20, 2014 - 5:08pm

Definite bring up the location preference and see what they can do. But I know for PC its a pretty easy process to swtich office locations (assuming the target location is a hub/lead office).

Hugo

  • 1
Nov 20, 2014 - 5:09pm

Personally, within the Big 4 I favor Deloitte Consulting and EY due to the culture.

As for your question EY edges in flexibility and people, but for PwC depending on how integrated strategy & goes, might be slightly more prestigious

Nov 20, 2014 - 5:10pm

Accenture Strategy vs PwC MC? (Originally Posted: 10/17/2015)

Need some insight as I am deciding between full-time offers (same city) from both. The strategy aspect of the Accenture offer seems appealing to me, but it is otherwise somewhat hard to differentiate the two in my mind. With the considerations that I would like to go to business school at some point and have an interest in social sector consulting in the long-term, which firm do you all think would be the better choice?

Thank you in advance!

Nov 20, 2014 - 5:11pm

I know a couple of guys in PwC MC. All they do is create decks that no one really reads. PwC TC is implementation is Strategy& is strategy. MC is a weird group but you'll still be able to learn a lot and tell people you work in management consulting. I would take Accenture Strategy because they get great projects and do actual strategy. Can I ask you what your offers were from both? I'm assuming these are straight out of undergrad.

Nov 20, 2014 - 5:14pm
Communist:

I know a couple of guys in PwC MC. All they do is create decks that no one really reads.

Kind of sums up consulting in general...

"Abbreviated Guide to Powerpoint" by GettingDrunkinFirstClass - Couple of highlights

"The process of creating a knock-'em'-dead deck is a tedious art of bullshitting, managing expectations (read: deception), and if it cannot be avoided, the occasional inclusion of a fact here and there."

"Presentation of the deck is sometimes "rolled-up" into an executive review deck. This means that your $400,000, month-long strategy project that results in 1 slide and 80 pages of appendices that will be summed up to the executive in 30 seconds and a dozen minced words."

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Nov 20, 2014 - 5:12pm
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