2020 Vault Rankings
About PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) International Ltd.
Getting back into it
Big Four accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers has been steadily building its consulting practice in recent years, following the sale of its original consulting wing to IBM in 2002. These days, PwC's management consulting operations (or performance improvement, as the firm now calls it) focus on governance, risk and compliance, as well as financial and IT effectiveness. And it's not difficult to see why. In 2004, PwC's advisory division pulled in some $3.4 billion in revenue. Within four years of restarting a business consulting unit, that revenue had more than doubled--and that's without the firm delving back into the information technology market in any big way. Its noncompete agreement with IBM only ended in 2007, and the firm has yet to signal any great intention to rebuild that portion of its business.
The making of the biggest name in the business
The history of the various entities that have merged over the years to form PwC stretches back as far as 1902, while other organisations acquired by the firm have a much longer life span even than that. The deal that created the longest name in the upper echelon of accounting firms, however, took place as recently as 1998, with the megamerger of accounting giants Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand. The company that exists today is structured as a network of member firms under the PwC umbrella. While each member firm operates independently within its own geographic locale, there is a considerable amount of cooperation and networking between them, ensuring that the company works as both a global entity and on a local scale. As evidence of that scale, consider that the company operates in 153 countries and territories, with a network of 766 offices and counting. Its global network boasts an employee count excess of 155,000, with 41 per cent of those based in Europe.
Given its sheer size and country coverage, not to mention the independent setup of its member firms, it should come as little surprise that PwC services on offer vary slightly from place to place. Regardless of the exact services menu in any one locale, the services will fall into one of three core PwC offerings: tax, advisory and assurance. The firm works with some of the biggest names in global business, including the likes of AXA, JPMorgan Chase and Lloyds TSB in finance; 3M, Honeywell, IBM, Sony and Walt Disney in technology, infocomm and entertainment; and Anheuser-Busch, Caterpillar, Ford, Johnson & Johnson and many more in consumer and industrial products and services.
The second coming
PwC's previous consulting operation was an IT-heavy concern (hence its eventual sale to IBM), that also specialised in management consulting. Following the collapse of Enron and the revelation of then-Big Five firm Arthur Anderson's involvement, the decision was made to sell off PwC's consulting unit to IBM to avoid the sort of conflict of interest that had arisen with Anderson both auditing and advising Enron. While the company signed a five-year noncompete agreement with IBM, that agreement was restricted to tech consulting and systems integration, leaving it free to operate within other areas such as finance, business advisory and government. It was this last area that the company began going after, beginning with contracts with several units of the US federal government before casting its net further afield, advising government agencies around the world. While that side of the business remains one of the key consulting areas for PwC, it also has significant outsourcing capabilities. One of the firm's particular strengths, PwC not only provides outsourcing services, but is expert enough in them to publish regular studies and white papers on the subject, including an annual Global Outsourcing Survey.
300 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Phone: +1 (646) 471 4000
Employer Type: Private
Chairman: Dennis M. Nally
2014 Employees (All Locations): 195,433