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Why Tiger Woods Can Never Come Back to Accenture

Accenture and Tiger Woods both cheats

By now we all know what Tiger Woods had systematically cheated on his (then) wife, ever since before their wedding. This was a repeated behavior by Woods. Within two weeks of the breaking news back in November 2009, Accenture announced that it cancels its sponsorship of Tiger Woods.

Accenture was the first sponsor to completely cancel its sponsorship with Tiger Woods, even though Gillette one day before said it would “phase out its advertisements with Woods” while he repairs his personal life. Nike, Gatorade, AT&T, and EA Sports were not so fast.

Why did Accenture drop Tiger like a hot potato?

There are three main reasons Accenture was the sponsor most sensitive to be associated with Tiger Woods even though, ironically, it could be more fitting than ever.

If we compare the consulting client to a "wife" it becomes apparent.

1. Overcharging is Cheating

Most people who have worked in Accenture has seen the overcharging that is taking place on almost all client projects. This normally happens in any of a number of ways.

The best way, from Accenture’s perspective (though not its employees’ perspective) is to simply over-analyze the clients “problems”. Collecting endless data on a client’s IT systems, "blue-printing" processes, or management practices can take 3-4 months of consulting and generally renders little or no value to the client.

Crouching Tiger, hidden dragon.It is however, difficult for even the most carefully controlling clients to discover this kind of “fraud”, and even if they did realize Accenture “cheated” when the project was over, they have already paid for it. By then it is very difficult to do anything about it, as it is normally agreed what to do in Accenture’s contracts.

Accenture can simply say "well, it is too bad it turned out useless, that discretionary IT spend analysis we did, but it was agreed in our contract, signed by you."

Tiger Woods must have known what he was doing was morally very wrong. Accenture, who does these analyses often, also knows very well when these analyses are not needed, which makes it morally doubtful.

With the tremendous work pressure put on managers within Accenture some of them add a few hours that were never delivered to the invoice. The firm is infamous for its negative work pressure which burns out many of its employees.

Another creative way Accenture has of overcharging is to have consultants present in the client office but working on something else, for example having them work on a proposal for the next client, who might be a competitor to the current client. Then the current client is billed for the time worked on the proposal. This tactic has its advantage that the client can actually see the consultant working hard, typing away on his keyboard.

Junior consultants, straight out of university, are encouraged to think creatively to find ways to overcharge the clients. Accenture Senior Executives, continuously pressure employees lower down in the hierarchy to try to either stay on longer on their projects than initially planned or find more work to do for the client than was initially agreed upon.

2. Giving Harmful Recommendations is Cheating

Another way for Accenture to cheat its clients is to give them bad recommendations.

Let’s look into this. When Accenture is hired to choose an IT system vendor (for ERP, CRM, HRM, etc.) they often do an extensive analysis including data collection, like for example employee attitude towards current systems. There are two strong incentives for Accenture to give “bad” recommendations in terms of what system to choose to implement.

William Green, Chairman of Accenture and Tiger Woods First, some IT system vendors give higher kick-back fees to Accenture than others. SAP is known for giving higher commissions to consulting firms who sell one of their systems than Microsoft or PeopleSoft do, for example.

The second incentive is the number of consulting man-days needed to implement the system. Of course, Accenture charges thousands of dollars per day when implementing a system. The actual difference between SAP and another system can be in the range of USD 5 million for a mid-sized company with two or three divisions. That is profit to Accenture and loss to the client. And a pretty good reason for Accenture to recommend one system over another.

Curiously, the official cost estimation (number of man-days to be spent on an implementation) made by Accenture for these IT System often comes from nothing else than the “professional opinion” of a Senior Manager or a Senior Executive at Accenture. Quite different from the detailed data collection made for other, less relevant information, which is purely done to charge many consulting man-days.

So, the recipe for billing is to spend lots of days analyzing employee attitudes towards IT systems, and not so much efforts on keeping costs down for the client of their next implementation project.

3. Spreading Confidential Information is Cheating

Some clients appreciate the “best practices” they are taught by Accenture, for example, a certain process in a bank. What they don’t realize is that that “best practice” comes from the last bank who hired Accenture. And that their own competitive advantage will soon be documented in Accenture’s so called Knowledge Exchange (or “KX”) on Accenture’s intranet.

The Knowledge Exchange is – ironically – an IT mess. There is little categorization and little classification based on confidentiality. Literally any of the more than 270.000 Accenture employees can at any time go in and download the former clients’ business information. Attrition is high in Accenture – twice as many people leave Accenture each year compared to other consulting firms, which is already twice as many as in “industry” companies – and what many of these employees do just before leaving is to download all information useful in their next job. The next job is often a competitor to the client.

Just like Tiger Woods might have whispered fantasies or telling a little story of what he did in bed with the previous mistress to the next one, Accenture is whispering its clients’ secrets to the next potential client, often already in the proposal stage.

Other Similarities of Tiger Woods and Accenture

When the scandal had been known for a few days, Accenture posted an ad showing Tiger Woods and the text “It is what you do next that counts”. Basically what Accenture is saying, is “we are in fact the good guys, don’t associate us with cheating, it’s all Tiger’s fault”. Tiger Woods tried to get sympathies in a similar way by stating that he would take an “indefinite break from Golf”. Read: “I leave now until you beg me to come back”. Both Accenture and Tiger Woods tried to manipulate to become the martyr instead of the cheater.

It is what you do next that counts Tiger Woods

In conclusion, there are many negative aspects for Accenture to be associated with cheating and that was the real reason it no longer wants Tiger Woods as its symbol.

Go on Accenture, be a Tiger

This article and some comments were adapted with permission from Accenture Cheats’ blog.

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January 1, 2011
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  1. lol

    Accenture and Tiger are both cheating each other’s and everybody involved. It’s a perfect fit. They should stay together, forever. Why not.

  2. Not my intention to waste my time answering all the unproven “facts” listed above, but here a few thoughts from my very personal point of view -yes, I do work for Accenture.

    1) Overcharging
    – All companies establish their margins with absolute freedom, just as Accenture does.
    – Accenture forces no clients to sign contracts.
    – When client make the choice for a consulting firm, I believe they can opt for other competitors (I know a few, and some of them do a great job as well)
    – It seems strange to me the fact that any client would be willing to overpay, as this wouldn’t seem like a right decision for his own interest.

    2) Harmful recommendations
    – Accenture receives no comission from software vendors.
    – The decision of which software should be implemented is mainly taken by the clients: Accenture does implement products from SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft, Microsoft, and many others.
    – Accenture, in fact, holds a joint venture with Microsoft: Avanade. Assuming Accenture is not interested in selling products from Microsoft as much as from other vendors would be naïve, or just ridiculous.
    – The cost of a project is estimated based on the approach, the deliverables, the modules to be implemented, the level of standardization of the solution, the source of the resources, the level of implication of the client, and many other variables. Again, it doesn’t seem feasible that any of Accenture’s clients will be willing to overpay something which is not enough justified.

    3) Spreading confidential information
    – There is a Knowledge Exchange portal, but this doesn’t mean that all the information is contained there. And of course, all information in the portal is subject to confidentiallity policies.
    – However, I believe nobody can be 100% of being fraud-protected. Accenture is as much exposed to confidentiality violations as any other consulting firm and even our clients.
    – Again, such a statement should be proven with facts for it to be credible.

    4) Accenture advertisements

    – The latest advertisement campaigns which involved Tiger Woods dated from end of year 2008, and the context utilized was the global economic situation.
    – No advertisement was done in regards to the events related to Mr. Wood’s personal life. First of all, because Accenture did make the decision of not using him as an image, and it wouldn’t be economically appropriate to invest in a new campaign a few hours before finalizing the contract. In second place, anybody would understand that designing, approving, copyrighting and implementing (printing, publishing…) takes more than a few hours. Well, apparently not the subscriber of this blog.

    5) Differences Accenture Vs. Tiger Woods

    – Not to mention that the ones listed lack of sense and argument, but again:
    – If Accenture was that bad for the employees, I wouldn’t expect approximatedly 177,000 employees working on it.
    – If Accenture was that bad for the clients, I wouldn’t expect the clients to continue to deal with Accenture.
    – Over 70% of the Fortune 100 companies are currently Accenture clients. Over 90% of those companies have been our clients for more than 5 years. Over 80% for more than the last ten years. I believe these are reasonable facts you may want to verify before assuming that “Accenture does not the right thing”. We are just where our clients want us to be.

    • I have worked with (never for) Accenture and it’s predecessor Andersen consulting. And yes Accenture tend to have high IQs and very variable skill levels.

      They are certainly expensive, make more than their share of schoolboy errors, prefer to document than to deliver etc…. but does this make them bad….

      I think the responsibility has to lie with the management of companies who hire them, lets be candid once a CxO has had his/her intellectual ego stroked HBR quotes, academic opinion (sometimes thanks to Wikipeadia !), pseudo-intelllectual techno babble words, holds these serious egotists in a trance like self important state.

      Once the work gets past down senior to middle management then try to hide their own short comings and don’t lead rather they use the consultancy firm as the reason for things that go wrong and take credit for the things that go well.

      Where has my opinion come from …. I am an ex big 5 consultant (I like to think one of the better guys, but one none the less). The only thing my boss cared about was don’t get sued and keep the revenue coming in; when delivering with a strong client side sponsor we delivered fantastic results, when delivering to a CYOA type manager my team would deliver as well as they could, but the first sign off passing the blame there was a well authored contract to scurry behind and low and behold we get paid, I made my bonus regardless of the outcome.

      The key to successful client/consulto relations is give the consultants a clear brief and hold them to it.

      A good book (now sadly only available second hand) is “Con Tricks: The Shadowy World of Management Consultancy and How to Make It Work for You” …. check it out on Amazon

      At the end of the day it is all about people; some are good guys, some are not so good, very few are evil !

      Many thanks

    • Well i really liked the second comment but only because I laughed out loud at the ignorance of whoever wrote that …
      Rest I agree .. may be consulting is all shit but technology and Outsourcing is F**king shit! …
      I had my time with IT. and I learned that you treat it likewise … it give you shit you raise shit-storm…

      Enjoy mates … This is a great place to release the Truth ,… and Frustration .. as well.

    • You go way too far in praising the evil empire, I hope you are involved in teasing junior employees a lot. Well, that is how a senior executive is, in the making.

      So Cheers, embark on a fancy title and waste your life.

  3. tiger is by definition now the mascot for anti-ee fight. ee put him on the outmanagement path – he was in the past the evil mascot for the evil people – now he is out – still doing fine without ee – at the moment he had first difficulty in his life – ee stabbed him in the back and left him cold – robot thing to do.

  4. Whats the similarity between Tiger and Accenture?

    A: Both are guilty of cheating clients ! :P

  5. Accenture reaches $US63.7m fraud settlement

    Global accounting giant Accenture has agreed to pay $63.7 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that it defrauded the US government, US officials said on Monday.

    “Accenture has agreed to resolve allegations that it received kickbacks for its recommendations of hardware and software to the government,” the US Department of Justice said in a statement.

    The firm also “fraudulently inflated prices and rigged bids in connection with federal information technology contracts,” the statement said.

    The lawsuit was brought against Accenture in the southern state of Arkansas by two whistleblowers who are entitled to receive part of the settlement under a US law designed to help ferret out fraud in government contracting.


    • OMG! Accenture thievery at its highest ! Even children are not spared from these sick money extorting manipulators.

  6. lol – whats really funny is how our CEO (in S.A.) is such a womanizer and has had affairs with half the admin staff, impregnated one, finally divorced his wife and is marrying one of his flings!

  7. Accenture was born out of an attempt, by a bunch of fuck*ng useless crooks, to save whatever they could from the Andersen group after they got nailed for enabling/facilitating/maybe even devising the greatest corporate scam in US history, Enron. Hey, Accenture, a two-timing cheat like Tiger is EXACTLY the kind of person who should be representing you fuc*ers!

  8. i agree with the 2nd comment. this kind of blogs, without real and strong proof are really useles. we call this thing RUMORS or HERESAYS!!! pity on you people with little or no brains. tsk tsk tsk…

  9. If you have self esteem, if you want to have peaceful life, do not want to spoil your career and have personal life – stay away from Hell – accenture. A big ‘NO’ for experienced persons. Freshers if you do not have choice don’t stay more than 1 year. The management in accenture are sure schadenfreude. It is a school of cheap managers and cheap supervisors. Choosing accenture will be the worst gaffe of your life. To put it bluntly, my darkest days in my career was at Accenture.

  10. Accenture’s goals are to bill the customer as much as they can. They target minimal $100,000,000 projects. They pile on high costing managers that do nothing but slave drive people under them and push clients for further engagements.

    They dump anyone they can at the highest billing rates. I was billed at over $500 an hour and was not allowed to provide any turh to my client’s because it did not result in more billing for Accenture. They hire tens of thousands of unskilled Indians who go for long daily walks in groups of 20 on client’s time and dime and do nothing once back at their desks because they don’t have the skills. Whatever they touch turns to shit. Accenture do not care as long as they can bill.

    They expect you to travel every week and work 18 hour days with shitty accommodations.

    I could go on for hours.