|Founded||1989 (as Andersen Consulting)|
|Key people||William D. Green
(Chairman) & (CEO)
|Revenue||▼ US$ 23.170 billion (2009)|
|Operating income||▼ US$ 2.643 billion (2009)|
|Net income||▼ US$ 1.589 billion (2009)|
|Total assets||▲ US$ 12.255 billion (2009)|
|Total equity||▲ US$ 2.886 billion (2009)|
Accenture plc (NYSE: ACN, ISIN: BMG1150G1116) is a global management consulting, technology consulting and technology outsourcing company. It was previously incorporated in Bermuda but since 1 September 2009 has been incorporated in Ireland. It is said to be the largest consulting firm in the world. Accenture is a Fortune Global 500 company with more than 186,000 people in 52 countries. For the fiscal year ended 31 August 2008, the company generated net revenues of US$23.39 billion. Accenture's clients include 96 of the Fortune Global 100 and more than three quarters of the Fortune Global 500.
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 12 years.
In 1989, that division split from Arthur Andersen and began using the name Andersen Consulting. Both Arthur Andersen and Andersen Consulting consisted of groups of locally-owned independent partnerships and other entities around the world, each in a contractual agreement with Andersen Worldwide Société Coopérative (AWSC), a Swiss administrative entity.
By 2000, Andersen Consulting had achieved net revenues exceeding US$9.5 billion and had more than 75,000 employees in 47 countries, whereas Arthur Andersen had revenues of US$9.3 billion with over 85,000 employees worldwide in 2001.
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 a conclusion of 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 over 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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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..
The company cited several reasons for the change:
The change was approved and became effective on September 1, 2009, the beginning of the company's 2010 fiscal year.
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. 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. Still, critics have panned Accenture's incorporation in Bermuda, generally because they viewed Accenture as having been a U.S.-based company trying to avoid U.S. taxes. 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."
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. The character is similar to an accent mark in music. The corporate descriptor for Accenture is "High performance. Delivered.", which replaced the previous slogan "Innovation. Delivered." in 2004.
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 Woods' six-year sponsorship deal on 13th December 2009 and removed references to Woods from its website.
Trademark or service mark registration for Accenture faced some hurdles in the beginning. As a global company the Accenture name represents a singular brand image for its people, values, and business in the countries where the multinational corporation operates. A Dutch company claimed prior rights to the name Accenture. A service mark application at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) was filed on Thursday, October 26, 2000 by the international law firm of Baker & McKenzie on behalf of Accenture Global Services GmbH. In the trademark application, serial number 76154620, Baker & McKenzie indicates that the Accenture wordmark was owned by Echitaa Properties B.V., located at Parkstraat 83, 2514 JG Den Haag, Nederland. The Accenture application was based upon the Benelux Application No. 0974964 and dated as October 6, 2000. USPTO records show that Echitaa Properties B.V. assigned the trademark with all right, title, and interest to Accenture Global Services GmbH of Pestalozzistrasse 2, 8201 Schaffhausen, Switzerland effective as of December 29, 2000. The service mark is applied in multiple categories and Accenture provided a description to the USPTO for computer software for use in designing, installing and executing mainframe and client/server application programs, for integrating the financial, manufacturing and sales functions of a business, and for managing customer service and support functions of a business. Service mark registration was granted on May 16, 2006 and it is currently registered to Accenture Global Services GmbH of Neuhausen am Rheinfall, Switzerland.
A second application by Accenture was filed on Friday, November 17, 2000 for the Accenture> drawing plus word logo mark by Accenture Global Services GmbH. The USPTO serial number is 76167876 and the design word mark is described as other notational signs and symbols and rectangles that are completely or partially shaded. Registration for the design mark was granted to Accenture Global Services GmbH on December 24, 2002.