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You have to be in it to understand it.

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Career Opportunities
Current Employee - Software Engineer  in  San Francisco, CA
Current Employee - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA

I have been working at Accenture

Pros

Learning Opportunities:
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Accenture provides plenty of online courses, in class sessions, and a book budget to learn new technologies. They also provide you with an online portal where knowledge can be exchanged and discussions can continue on why one technology is better than the other.
When on a project, the more senior folks will take the time to help teach you what is needed to get up to speed and move quickly through each task. In time you will be doing the same for some one else – this is truly a rewarding feeling.

Prove yourself and you will be given more opportunity:
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When you are given a job to do – do it well! No matter what the task is – accept it and do it well. Keep doing this and you will have proven your self to be a good worker. Accenture will help you grow by giving you more and more. As you complete each task – you don’t realize it but you are learning something new that will in fact help you with gain a broader spectrum of applicable knowledge – this is when Accenture will open up newer opportunities to you. That is, if you know how to apply the knowledge you have acquired.

Travel galore, paid hotel -grab those points! Paid rental car – grab those points!
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Depending on which workforce you are in, you might have to travel. And there are a ton of benefits if you do. If you are with the consulting workforce – you almost always have to travel. Sign up for the frequent flier points, hotel points, and car rental points (I prefer Hertz – no black out dates for the free rental) When Accenture puts you up in a hotel – it will probably not be the best one – but for sure – it will not be the worst one either. They usually tell you how much of a budget you have to spend per night. I flew every weekend last year back to my home location from where I work. I ended up getting a few flight to an Asian country – Business class.

Gain the experience of six years in three:
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The work hours are long and the expectations are higher than average for sure. Because of this – everyone in the industry who knows anything about consulting is aware that if you are coming from Accenture – you are a one of the better people to hire. You have probably pulled of a few all-nighters in a week for a few consecutive weeks. When deadlines come – you will deliver! In about three years time, I feel I know enough to be able to handle some real tough situations. In fact, just like most of my Accenture coworkers, I have been put on the spot by the client and have been able to handle tough situations with finesse.

Opportunity to switch roles depending on business need:
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“Business need” – these two words together can become your best friend or worst enemy. Lets go with best friend for now. There is always a way for you to come up with something that a project will need – and Accenture will allow you to experiment a little (not too much) with your idea – provided it will help the client and there is a business need for it. So if you want to take ownership of something – and like the feeling of satisfaction after completing something you take on make business need your best friend.

Management can really back you up and do their best to help you grow always giving you the benefit of the doubt:
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You know those companies that reprimand you and slap you on the wrist when you make a mistake? Well Accenture is not one of them. The management is ok with you making a mistake on occasion provided it was a sincere mistake. The most common management talk is – “well at least we learned from it! Now let move on…” Being as supportive as this allows people to try new things and aim for greater heights without worrying about “what if something goes wrong?”

World wide Accenture Club:
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No matter which part of the world you are in – You will meet some one who works for Accenture in the local area. I have met folks in Accenture USA, India, Philippines, Germany, Sweden, etc. And there is this sense of oneness with which you can identify each other.

Cons

No Sleep for you!
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Your pay raise every year is based on a few factors – one of which is your rating – and your rating is directly related to how hard you work to accomplish the goal and how many/complex goals you accomplish. I, like many others have spent many a night working away to ensure the deliverable was ready on or before the deadline was reached. Be prepared for the same.

But there is no Business need…
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Lets talk about business need in terms of your worst enemy now. Lets say you just got off a project. And you specific field of interest is no longer as much in demand in the market. You end up sitting on the bench until a role opens up. But you cost the company a bit of money when you are just sitting around waiting for a role to show up. So after a while you will be approached with other roles which are not exactly what you had signed up for when you joined the company its up to you to accept or decline – but remember – there is no business need for the kind of skills you have to offer. And there is no telling how long you will have to sit around and wait for a role. Oh! And while you are sitting around – that is not going to look good when review time comes around. Does that mean it will effect your chances of getting a promotion? Well that depends on a whole lot of other factors like how much you delivered when you were on a project etc.

No college tuition reimbursement:
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Many companies out there will pay for you to go to college provided you are getting good grades. Accenture does not cater to the same. If you want to go to school good luck! You will always have the moral support! Just make sure the work gets done before you leave for class.

Cannot have a family and work here at the same time.
Remember those long nights I was taking about... Well, you would have to have a very understanding spouse if you are working here. I know if I get married and have a kid – I will probably have to move on to a different company just so that I can spend time with my family. Until then – I am a workaholic!

A Career counselor – can be good or bad:
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I think all of the workforces in Accenture has a career counselor, whose responsibility it is to help you drive you career in the right direction and align everything with your best interest in mind. This is awesome, however, in ATS – your career coach is the one who represents you when the evaluations are done to compare you to the other folks who are at your same level to see who should get promoted. If your career coach is an extrovert – you are all good – if not. Good luck! I have heard that there usually is other senior management there to ensure things are kept fair but its only your career coach who has real insight into what you are doing based on what you tell him/her.

Have to drive your own career at times:
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While on the project it is you who has to drive for the best career opportunities you can get. Learn as much as you can and become good at what you do – then keep doing that with everything that comes your way. Sometimes it might seem like you are not being given a certain responsibility and you are being pigeon holed – how you handle that situation is entirely up to you. This is where your office politics come into play and can be required at times to handle the more sensitive situations.

Differences between workforces:
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In Accenture there are four workforces that I know of… Consulting(the unofficial perfect child), Services (Second in command), Enterprise (mostly folks who work front desk, facilities) and finally Accenture Technology Solutions (came into effect much later in the game – and unofficially treated as an adopted child at times) They are trying real hard to get rid of these perceptions. But when you join a project you will see what is evident. At an entry level stand point – Consulting pays the best for the role you are shooting for, then comes services and then Solutions. Enterprise is pretty much on its own since the work is completely different from the other three. It is said that as you go up the ladder, your reviews are what determine your pay and not your workforce. Also, in solutions you could start off real low in pay and stay that way for a while before you start to see comparable numbers between consulting and solutions. That said – the expectations are also different from each workforce.

The folks in solutions get overtime, straight time overtime for every hour over 40 hours a week. Folks in consulting don’t get overtime until they have worked 20% over the regular work week (I believe those are the numbers you would need to confirm when applying)

When in solutions you could be working right beside a consultant doing the same task and doing it better but still being paid less.

Don’t be surprised if you end up working with someone in solutions who does not have a degree – remember business need? Well there was a business need for a skill that person had – so s/he was hired. In Consulting – you have to have a degree from a decent school with a decent GPA. The solutions workforce did not check GPA’s back in the day – not sure if they do now.

When in the solutions workforce, you are not expected to travel. In the consulting workforce, you don’t have much of a choice. I knew a Senior Manager who left the company because his wife was about to have a kid. He said he needed to have more time to spend with his family.

Paid lower than other consulting companies:
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From what I have heard, no matter if you are in consulting or solutions, you will probably be paid less than the competitors are paying their employees. Yes, you pay for the brand name as well. They try to inform us that our benefits package is where all our money goes and hence we get paid less. A couple of years ago it is said that the Attrition rate at ATS was closer to 50% - they had raised the entry level pay to 40K now in the San Francisco office (this number can change at anytime) and that attrition rate dropped down to around 18% - which is consider healthy.

Promoted depending on manager:
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I know this might sound odd. But depending on who your manager is, you might or might not get promoted. If your manager really does have the skills to be a manager and not only manages his/her work but takes note of every little detail that you do in a positive way, you have a better chance of being promoted. If you end up with a manger who just got promoted and is just trying to get the work done. Its your responsibility to ensure your manager is aware of everything that your contributing to.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

There are a number of “Development Areas” I have mentioned above. And I am sure the Senior Management at Accenture is aware of all of it. There are also a lot of Strengths I have mentioned which should be noted and should continue without much change.

For me at this point of my life the pros out-weigh the cons and hence I am still here with Accenture. As long as that is true for any employee there will always be a business need for both Accenture and the Employee.

Approves of CEO

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