Industry survey identifies the most recommended consulting firms

16 April 2020 3 min. read

Consulting giants Accenture, Deloitte and McKinsey together with IBM have once again reigned supreme atop of Forbes annual list of America’s most recommended management consultancies.

Accenture has again come out on top in the latest list of America’s best management consulting firms compiled by Forbes magazine in partnership with research company Statista. In a survey of more than 8,500 consulting partners and senior executives who have recently engaged the firms, the global professional services giant scored 17 five-star ratings (very frequently recommended) across a broad range of sectors, pipping out Deloitte and IBM with 16 apiece.

Deloitte and McKinsey & Company however managed to achieve recommendations (including three- and four-star ratings) for each of the 32 sectors and functional areas covered, with Accenture falling just short in this respect by missing out in the Legal & Litigation category. As for the glamour category of the consulting realm – strategy consulting – the five-star spoils went to the MBB alone; McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, and Bain & Company.

McKinsey & Company altogether received nine five-star ratings, ahead of BCG with three (Consumer Goods & Retail and Marketing, Branding & Pricing together with Strategy) and Bain with its one for strategy. McKinsey meanwhile excelled in Organisation, Innovation & Growth and M&A from a functional perspective, and Chemicals, Financial Institutions, Metals & Mining, Oil & Gas, and Other Industrial Goods in terms of sectors.

Industry survey identifies the most recommended consulting firms

As a further sector breakdown, Booz Allen Hamilton topped Aerospace & Defence, and IBM was a standalone number one for both Automotive (keeping in mind some of the big Automotive players don’t have a huge presence in the US) and Construction & Infrastructure. Accenture was a sole five-star recipient in the Insurance sector, while the remaining sector categories were generally split between Accenture, Deloitte and IBM.

As for functional areas, and one could suppose the new headlining act in this respect, Cisco joined Accenture and IBM as a five-star rated consultancy for Digital Transformation, while Microsoft was added to that trio when it came to Data Analytics & Big Data. Outside of IBM as a standalone for Operations, again the remaining functional categories were mostly split between Accenture, Deloitte and IBM, with appearances from McKinsey.

For Deloitte, the firm puts its success down to not just a broad portfolio of services, but a diverse workforce. “If you looked at Deloitte Consulting ten years ago, you would have seen far more traditional MBAs and people we might have called ‘renaissance management consultants,’” Deloitte Consulting CEO and chairman Dan Helfrich told Forbes, adding that today the firm has widened its talent net to include for example doctors and engineers.

“That set of people is what’s required to deliver on the kinds of transformation our clients are facing,” continued Helfrich, stating a willingness for Deloitte Consulting to also tap outside expertise where required, such as from universities and nonprofits. “We think the most important challenges facing the world and our clients are often not solely best served by us. We are proactively knitting together these coalitions of partners.”