The Big Four accounting firms are rapidly rebuilding their consulting divisions, though these days they're calling them "business advisory" groups. In the wake of the Andersen scandal, and fearing repercussions from crackdowns on conflicts of interest, three of the Big Four sold their consulting arms to outsiders: PriceWaterhouse sold out to IBM, Ernst & Young sold their consultancy unit to Capgemini, and KPMG sold its European consulting business to Atos Origin. Of the Big Four, only Deloitte fully retained its consulting arm.
And now that it appears that the feared crackdown may not come, the accountants are staffing up with consultants again.
Not surprisingly, they're going after people who used to work for them in the first place. (Ah, the comfort of familiarity.)
Also posted at Knowledge Work.
KPMG has poached the head of Atos Consulting, the French group that bought its advisory business in 2002, as part of a concerted new push into the consulting market.
Bernard Brown, a former KPMG partner, is to rejoin the accounting giant in October. He left when the firm sold its British and Dutch consulting business to Atos Origin for £420m.
Mr Brown's defection is the latest in a series of senior departures at Atos, many of whom are former KPMG partners returning to the firm. Atos has been so rocked it has agreed to waive a non-compete agreement due to stand until August on the condition that KPMG does not hire any more of its staff.