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The Big4 Consulting Model is Dead (Do this Instead)

In this article, we will discuss the Big 4 Consulting Model is Dead (Do this instead). Yes, I know, no one is allowed talk about it. Also, why Research houses and marketers create methods and frameworks that sound impressive, have all the latest ‘IT’ words to make it sound relevant but really are just a marketing exercise to sell on the idea of why all this interesting but if we’re honest, useless work ‘absolutely’ needs to be carried out.

Fast forward 3-years down the track, when the project is still in ‘discovery’ phase, and after being to the change board (more time than you care to count) for more time and more money to do (guess what?)…more discovery to find more problems that aren’t related to the one reason you called them in, don’t be surprised. 

So, if you want to transform your business or help your clients transform theirs and want to do it quicker, with less resistance, then this is for you.

The Big 4 and Big 3 consulting firms are some of the world’s most well-known and prestigious firms. They are made up of four of the largest accounting firms, also known as the Big 4 (Deloitte, PwC, EY, and KPMG), and three of the largest management consulting firms, known as the Big 3 or MBB  (McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group, and Bain & Company). 

In this article, we’ll explore who these firms are, what they do, how they do it, do you get what you paid for (and what to do instead).

Who are the Big 4 Accounting Firms and Big 3 Management Consulting Firms?

The Big 4 are a group of four accounting firms that dominate the accounting industry. They are Deloitte, PwC, EY, and KPMG. These firms provide audit, tax, consulting, and other advisory services to clients worldwide. They have a combined revenue of over $150 billion, with Deloitte being the largest of the four with over $50 billion revenues.

The Big 3, on the other hand, are McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and Bain & Company (also referred to as MBB). These firms are known for their strategic consulting services and advise businesses on corporate strategy, mergers and acquisitions, and organizational design. They have a combined revenue of over $20 billion, with McKinsey & Company being the largest of the three with revenues of over $10 billion.

What is the Big 4 Consulting Model?

The Big 4 consulting model is well-known and has been widely criticized for its heavy workload and focus on billable hours, billable hours that you, the client pays for. This business model involves hiring young, bright graduates, usually via an intern program, working them to the bone with long days and nights of rote learning, and encouraging them not to think for themselves. These young consultants’ goal is to make partners, which means one thing – they have to sell.

This leads to the question of where their interests lie – with the company or the client?

The Big 4 consulting firms generate a significant portion of their revenue from consulting services, which makes up over 40% of their total revenue. The rest of their revenue comes from audit, tax, and other advisory services.

How Do Big 4 Firms Make Money?

The Big 4 consulting cycle typically starts with a client engagement, where the firm is hired to provide consulting services. The engagement can last anywhere from a few weeks to several years, depending on the project’s scope and complexity.

During the engagement, the consulting team will gather data, analyze it, and recommend it to the client. The client will then implement these recommendations, and the consulting team will monitor the progress and make any necessary adjustments.

The Big 4 firms make their money by charging their clients a fee for their consulting services. The fee is typically based on the number of consultants working on the project, the hours worked, and the complexity of the project. In some cases, the fee may also include a percentage of the value the consulting team delivers to the client.

Why Is Big 4 Consulting So Successful?

The Big 4 consulting firms are successful for several reasons. Firstly, they are known for their high-quality work and expertise in their respective fields. They have built a reputation for being the best in the business and are trusted by clients worldwide.

Secondly, they have a global presence, with offices in many countries worldwide. This allows them to provide their clients with local expertise and support, regardless of their location.

Finally, they are able to attract and retain some of the best talents.

Who is Big 4 Consulting Good For?

Big 4 consulting is generally good for large enterprises and organizations that require a broad range of consulting services. These firms have the expertise and resources to handle complex, high-value projects and provide strategic advice to their clients.

Who is Big 4 Consulting Not be Good For?

However, the Big 4 may not be the best fit for it not so much on the size, its the maturity of the Client organisation. To the less mature or experienced organisation Big4 sound like the answers to all their prayers. To the wise and more experienced, they need to be treated with caution, otherwise it will cost you dearly. 

Big4 are masters of death-by-powerpoint, otherwise also known as as ‘interesting but not useful’ documentation. This is the type of documentation that is basically marketing, marketing to the Client to convince them and/or you, of the additional work they tell you you must do, that they will bill you for. 

Big4 are masters of death-by-powerpoint also known as as ‘interesting but not useful’ documentation, which is basically marketing, marketing for the Client to convince them of the additional unneeded work they will bill you for.

That additional work will represent itself in the form of presentations, powerpoint presentations to be exact, they are full of the latest buzzwords and jargon to sound relevant and up to date, they sound interesting, but if we’re honest, mean absolutely nothing. It will not make your transformation go any faster, on the contrary, it will make it slower, slower for all the additional work and time (which they will bill you for), for little or no value.

What Can You Do Instead? Introducing HOBA Tech

If you are a medium to large corporation, organisation or enterprise looking for specialized consulting services, you don’t need pretty and interesting presentations, you need results.

If this is you, HOBA Tech may be a better fit for your needs. HOBA Tech is an multi-award winning business-led digital business transformation consulting firm that provides a range of services to help businesses grow and succeed in the digital age.

HOBA Tech’s team of experts specializes in business-led digital transformation, from transformation setup, transformation alignment & turnaround, and transformation delivery. They have worked with a range of clients, from startups to large corporations and government agencies including the world’s most powerful Government, and are committed to delivering high-quality work that meets the needs and delivers real results for their clients.

One of the advantages of working with HOBA Tech is that they offer flexible pricing models that can be customized to fit your budget and project requirements. This means you can get the specialized consulting services that focuses on delivering actual business transformation, not creating realms and realms of beautiful powerpoint presentations that look interesting by mean nothing.

In addition, HOBA Tech is committed to building long-term relationships with their clients and providing ongoing support and advice as their businesses grow and evolve. They are dedicated to helping their clients succeed and achieve their goals and are always willing to go the extra mile to ensure their clients’ success.

In conclusion, while the Big 4 consulting firms are great for large corporations and organizations that have an advanced level of change and transformation maturity and experience to know what they need and equally know what they dont (ie not realms and realms of colourful beautiful presentations), they know and have the knowledge and skills to challenge them (otherwise expect a huge bill, a project and program that lasts for years and delivers nothing). If you are looking for specialized consulting services, that are not only thought leaders in business-led transformation with their international bestseller book The Business Transformation Playbook, consider working with HOBA Tech. They have the expertise, experience, and commitment to help your business succeed in the digital age.

About HOBA Tech

If you liked what you read, learn more about Business Transformation and how to bring it to reality with less stress, less effort, less time, less cost, and higher profit. Learn about our award-winning agile Business Transformation framework, already used by thousands across the world to transform their business, including the UK Government, FTSE 100 Companies and start-ups, check it out here.

If you want to read why others are calling The Business Transformation Playbook the “Business Transformation Bible,” read the Amazon reviews here.

Hope you find that useful. If you did, let me know in the comments below what you like and would like to see next, and share this with anyone you think would benefit from it!

Thank you for reading this!



Heath Gascoigne

P.S. If you want to join our Business Transformator community of 2,000+ like-minded Business Transformators, join the community on the Business Transformator Facebook Group here.

P.P.S. If you want to learn more about business transformation, check out The Business Transformation Playbook here.

Heath Gascoigne

Heath Gascoigne

Hi, I'm Heath, the founder of HOBA TECH and host of The Business Transformation Podcast. I help Business Transformation Consultants, Business Designers and Business Architects transform their and their clients' business and join the 30% club that succeed. Join me on this journey.

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