Accenture: everything you wanted to know about working and getting a job there
Accenture is a consulting firm providing consulting services in IT, finance, management, organization, HR, industrial and manufacturing operations to any interested organization.
Its name Accenture – from Accent on the future, as well as the form of ownership – a joint stock company in Ireland, the company received in 2001 after separation from the auditing company Arthur Andersen. The head office of the firm is located in New York. Approximate staff number of Accenture at the beginning of 2020 is about 500 thousand employees. The company provides services to clients in 123 countries and works with 75% of Fortune Global 500 companies.
The field of activity is vast, therefore the management of the company is built on a matrix structure: division into operating groups depending on the class of the client’s industry, as well as the types of services provided. Operating groups are:
- communications and leading technologies
- financial services
- IT products
- human resources
- work with the public sector
Each of the groups focuses on industrial, banking, agricultural, defense, customs, infrastructure and any other business entities that are relevant for them.
In accordance with the direction of consulting practices, Accenture divisions are: Accenture Strategy, Accenture Consulting, Accenture Digital, Accenture Technology, Accenture Operations.
Working conditions at Accenture
Accenture is one of the world’s most prestigious private employers. This is one of the most popular places where talented graduates and specialists are looking for jobs. That makes the pre-employment process very competitive. The number of applicants for 1 Accenture job can reach 90-100 people.
Among the consulting companies there are ratings of prestige and prospects. Accenture ranks in the top 10 in employee reviews. Here are the main pros and cons of working at Accenture.
Differentiation among employees
At Accenture (as elsewhere in consulting and auditing), there is a very large stratification between employees – workhorses and top management. The variance between salaries, authority, and team attitudes is huge. Employees in junior positions have to work the most and get the lowest salary. They are not valued and the turnover among junior employees is high.
Intrusive corporate culture
At Accenture, you’ll see the logo everywhere. Everywhere there will be slogans and calls for love for the company. There will be an abundance of team building and so on. However, comparing Accenture with other companies, there exist examples of worse situation.
Low starting salaries
In the junior positions, young employees in Eastern Europe and Asia receive salaries of 500-700 USD per month. However, growth is possible and it can be quite fast.
Bureaucracy and abundance of accountability
This, too, is a common trait for the entire consulting industry. Accenture has a lot of progress reports to complete, although these reports are often not read.
Complexity of working with clients
This is the last significant disadvantage of working at Accenture and in consulting in general. The employees of the company themselves complain that in many ways their work is similar to the work of market barkers. They need to communicate a lot with clients, persuade them to buy their services, work on complex projects, and then face the client’s unwillingness to pay for the work done.
Quality training and valuable work experience
There are few companies that teach young employees as much and with quality as Accenture does. The company conducts many educational programs for all levels of employees. But the most interesting and rewarding experience you can get at Accenture is working on clients’ projects – this is what the Accenture employees themselves call the most valuable.
Good line in resume
The experience gained by working at Accenture is highly valued in the labor market. If an employee of the company leaves it for some reason, then he/she has a high chance of quickly getting a job with a promotion in the client company of their industry of his/her specialization. And Accenture itself strives to help employ ex-employees on the basis that you can then become a big boss and its potential client.
Friendly staff and relationships within teams
Accenture is closer to the people of the Big Three consulting companies – where everyone is friends than to the Big Four audit companies, where most of them don’t give a damn about each other, and especially about newcomers. Most Accenture employees report having good relationships with colleagues and managers. It is customary in the company to help each other, teach and be friends. Many people point out that unlike Big 4, where newcomers are “meat” and consumables, Accenture can count on a more respectful attitude, even despite some degree of hazing, which we wrote about above. This manifests itself already at the stage of selection and interviews – they are structured in such a way that applicants do not have negative attitudes due to neglect, opacity or selection bias.
Good work-life balance
Accenture is one of the few companies that maintains a comfortable life-work balance. Overtime works exist and are not paid, but there is no such thing that you need to work daily for 11-12 hours, as in many other companies in the industry.
In general, the company employees themselves say that working at Accenture is very interesting and promising. The company is at the forefront of developing and implementing the most advanced technologies in IT, management, finance and long-term planning.
How do I get a job at Accenture?
Accenture has three recruitment programs, namely:
- Accenture Strategy & Consulting Graduate Program;
- client qualification improvement program;
- Accenture Software Engineering graduate program.
The programs are different depending on the role in the organization.
Accenture Strategy & Consulting Graduate Program
This framework is used by Accenture’s Analytical Consulting Group (ACG) to recruit people in the professions that matter to clients. These employees are responsible for identifying business opportunities for clients and helping them solve their problems.
Client qualification improvement program
This program is used by Accenture Technology Solutions (ATS) to attract employees to work with customers. These people are responsible for working with clients, understanding their needs and helping to create and implement an action plan.
Accenture Software Engineering Graduate Program
This scheme is used in Accenture technology solutions to recruit candidates who then work on client IT-related projects. In addition, these employees are expected to be involved in supporting Accenture’s technical infrastructure.
Winners and finalists of business case-study championships have a very high priority when applying for jobs at Accenture. Many companies hunt for such candidates. Accenture accepts them without aptitude testing or initial interviews.
Pre-employment selection process at Accenture
The company uses the standard multi-stage employee selection process:
- job application selection
- initial job interview
- Accenture aptitude tests
- video interview
- assessment day
- final job interview
On average you will need 2-3 weeks to get a job in Accenture. As far as we know no special tests like polygraph screening or security check are required.
Once you’ve decided on the job you want on the official Accenture website, you need to submit an online application. To do this, the application offers several tabs for filling: you will need to enter personal data and attach a detailed resume, answer questions about what prompted you to choose this job, and fill in information about work experience and education.
If your application and resume has been selected as appropriate, a representative from Accenture Human Resources will contact you with a few questions. This is an all-telephone interview, which takes only 15-20 minutes and is mostly intended to check the details of your resume, clarify your readiness for the job and get the first impression of you. It seems that you do not need to prepare for such an interview yet, but it is not. We recommend that you think through the answers to the main questions and, first of all, show your interviewer that you really want to work at Accenture. Many job seekers make this mistake – they forget to say about it. Employers love to hire people who are eager to work for them.
Accenture online aptitude test
The company uses tests for intellectual aptitude and personality traits from the assessment company CEB SHL. The test difficulty level is very high. Consulting industry uses SHL tests of the highest complexity. Tests in Big 4 and banks are generally easier.
Accenture requires you to pass the following aptitude tests:
- numerical reasoning test
- verbal reasoning test
- abstract reasoning test
- situational judgement test
Some positions also apply the following tests:
- English proficiency test
- Microsoft Excel proficiency test
- accounting test
- tax knowledge test
On Aptitude-Tests-Practice.com you will be able to fully prepare for numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, abstract reasoning and situational judgement tests that are used in Accenture. Read more about CEB SHL numerical reasoning and verbal reasoning tests in our article: SHL psychometric tests
Numerical reasoning tests
Numerical reasoning tests in Accenture are always based on tables, charts and graphs and require 4-5 operations to calculate. Since all processes in the company are related to the analysis of numerical and textual data, you are required to show the ability to quickly and accurately navigate complex tables and graphs and make accurate calculations. Accenture uses SHL aptitude tests and you see an example of a SHL numerical reasoning test below:
You will find the correct answer for this test question and all other test examples at the end of the article. We recommend that you try to check your abilities and solve these tests by yourself before looking at the correct answers. You will have 60 seconds to solve such a test on real testing. Read more about numerical reasoning tests in our special article Numerical Reasoning Tests: what they are, examples, solutions and tips to pass them
Verbal reasoning tests
Accenture uses sophisticated multichoice verbal reasoning tests. These are tests with 4-5 answer options and complex text abstracts for analysis. An example of such a verbal reasoning test you can see below:
You can find more about verbal reasoning tests in our article Verbal reasoning tests: what are they and how to pass them
Abstract reasoning test
Abstract reasoning tests are common to test abstract abilities of candidates for job in the client development program and in software development. Due to the strict time limit, the exam in abstract reasoning ability is often extremely difficult. Please see an example of ab abstract reasoning test used in Accenture below:
See more examples of abstract reasoning tests in our article Abstract reasoning tests: all you want to know about them
Situational judgement test
The situational judgement test is intended for candidates applying for the Strategy & Consulting Graduate Program. Typically, applicants are sent a link to this test right after submitting their online applications. Situational judgement tests are possible scenarios that you might encounter at work. As well as several variants of solutions, which must be placed in the required order, i.e., according to the level of efficiency or choose one of the best options. Also, SJTs are mandatory when considering a promotion in a company and for any managerial positions.
Read more about situational judgement tests for different positions in our articles
Microsoft Excel test
Some jobs at Accenture require candidates to be able to use Microsoft Excel effectively. A special Microsoft Excel exam assesses the candidate’s ability to use Excel functions and formulas.
The company attaches great importance to testing results. You are required to score at least 75% of the correct answers. And on the basis of testing, the best candidates are selected, who are invited to the next stages – video interviews and assessment day.
After successfully completing the application and online aptitude tests, candidates are invited to a video interview. Video interviews are usually conducted using the HireVue online platform. Unlike traditional interviews, candidates record their answers to the questions posed without direct interaction with the hiring manager. The interview is not easy, because each question is limited in time. What makes it even more difficult, you are allowed to rewrite (correct) the answer only once. This can make the interview stressful, but as with everything else, enough practice leads to good results.
The key point is that applicants for Strategy & Consulting jobs are required to do a homework research, while applicants for Software Engineering jobs may be required to complete a programming assignment.
Assessment Day at Accenture
The assessment day is as in person pre-employment selection stage at the Accenture office. Usually it takes 4-5 hours. It includes two stages: group discussion and case study and an interview. In certain cases, candidates are encouraged to participate in other assessment activities related to the intended role.
Group assignments conducted on assessment day include:
- Discussion exercises. Applicants for Strategy&Consulting jobs are encouraged to participate in a 25-minute group discussion in which they should discuss 5 questions on the topic “how would you act in this situation and why”. The results are included in the overall assessment score of the candidate.
- Financial case study. The case study includes a large amount of material for analysis, usually in English. Time limit to read all papers and discuss the case in the group is only 30 minutes. As the applicants themselves say, you are required not to show the ideal solution and presentation (this is impossible within 30 minutes), but to show the skills of effective teamwork, stress resistance and communication.
A break follows after these qualifying exercises. The company provides snacks and drinks, you can relax and chat. After the break, the list of applicants is announced, who go further – to the interview stage.
Job Interview at Accenture
The final stage of the assessment day and the selection process in general is a series (from 1 to 3) of short interviews of 15-20 minutes each. They are conducted by HR staff and company managers. Possible questions concern your actions in the assignments that took place during the assessment day, motivation, as well as questions on job experience. This is the last opportunity to make a positive impression on the employer representatives.
Before your interview, we recommend reading our articles on successful interview tactics:
What qualities do Accenture representatives look for in candidates?
Accenture expects its employees to embody six core values. It:
- Be a skillful manager. Accenture expects its employees to drive the growth of the client’s company, not only today, but in the long term. Therefore, employees must have advanced knowledge and skillfully apply it in practice.
- Be the best. Accenture wants its employees to be motivated to develop and give their best to the organization.
- Knowing how to create value for the customer. Accenture focuses on the ability to create value for its customers. Employees must make this a reality, constantly think about it, innovate and set a goal to make the client’s company more efficient and profitable.
- Be a part of a global network. Accenture is a multinational company looking for employees who perceive themselves as part of a global community. They must be able to work in a team and appreciate the work of others.
- Respect for others. At Accenture, it’s important that employees are able to create a comfortable environment and do whatever it takes to uphold Accenture’s values.
- Honesty and responsibility. Accenture’s business depends to a large extent on employee integrity and ethics.
How do I prepare for the Accenture recruitment process?
The selection process at Accenture seems daunting, but if you prepare for it, it will be simple and enjoyable. Four key preparation tips:
- Find out everything you can about the employer and your workplace. Going to an interview unprepared in the age of informatization is completely wrong. Use sources like company website, blogs, and social media. Try to find out who will be your hiring manager and learn everything you can about him or her. Go to the aptitude testing, assessment day and interview fully prepared.
- Prepare a portfolio. The employer will love hearing about your accomplishments and better communicate them as effectively as possible. Share your experiences in a portfolio and highlight what you’ve learned from your own experiences. This will be a good recommendation for you.
- Make your portfolio and resume as close to the business as possible. Everything must be relevant. Make sure that your projects are directly related to the job you are applying for at Accenture. All materials must be about what you have received through researching the company and your prospective position.
- Don’t mislead yourself and others. Be honest in your answers, if you do not know something, do not be afraid to say about it, but at the same time speak confidently about what you know well. Be sure to tie your answer as closely as possible to the required role. Knowing a lot is great, but showing that you can apply what you’ve learned to a real job is even more impressive.
Accenture is a very good employer, where you can find an interesting, promising and highly paid job. But it also requires applicants to be strong and able. Be persistent, do everything possible in your preparation and the dream job will be yours.
Test examples correct answers and explanation
Numerical reasoning test
Verbal reasoning test
Abstract reasoning test
Situational judgement test