Working at Accenture: How Much Does A “Partner” Make?

by Asif Khan

Recently, the most popular search term that has landed people on this website relates to partner compensation at Accenture. This is a complicated subject but I think it is worth a discussion. I want to start with a few disclaimers though:  1) I am neither a Partner nor an HR compensation specialist, 2) Partners (and HR reps) don’t talk openly about compensation and 3) Compensation at Accenture (as in most companies) varies widely based on experience, geography and myriad other factors.

Also, keep in mind that I don’t intend to share anything confidential or proprietary. The following is based on publicly available information. But don’t worry. We will dive into some actual numbers. Let’s get started with some background.

Organizational Structure

There are 4 principal divisions within Accenture (Services, Solutions, Enterprise and Consulting) and each division has several organizations within. Since I’m in Technology Consulting, let’s focus primarily on that. There are 4 non-executive levels in Accenture’s Technology Consulting Organization:  Analyst, Consultant, Manager and Senior Manager.

A new college graduate hired by Accenture would typically start as an Analyst (by the way, a college degree is required to get a job here). An experienced hire can come in at any level, based on their background and Accenture’s current needs.

Regardless of what level you are hired at, you can expect to spend roughly 36 to 60 months at each level before getting promoted to the next level (tenure depends on individual and corporate performance, significant achievements and luck). Consequently, if a new joiner started with Accenture straight out of university or graduate school as an Analyst, it would take him/her approximately 12-20 years of consistently great performance just to qualify for a promotion to the Senior Executive ranks.

For experienced hires, the requirements are similar but are adjusted based on your entry point. For example, I was hired 18 months ago as a Senior Manager with 24 months “at level.” When I reached 36 months “at level” last June, I was technically qualified for consideration for promotion to Senior Executive, at least in theory. There are several other milestones to achieve before “making partner” and I have a LONG way to go.

Partner? Senior Executive? Managing Director?

Accenture retired the term “Partner” when we became a publicly traded company 12 years ago. We have used the term Senior Executive since then and up until this year. To be consistent with other consulting firms, Accenture recently announced that Senior Executives will now be referred to as Managing Directors.

Once a candidate gets promoted (or hired in) to the Senior Executive/Managing Director role, they start climbing an entirely new career ladder. Historically, there have been three levels of Senior Executives and each level has had up to three sublevels. This is where the issue of executive compensation gets tricky. There are at least nine levels of Senior Executive…and that doesn’t even count the Global Management Committee which includes Accenture’s CEO, Pierre Nanterne, and his staff and direct reports.

The new naming convention includes Managing Director, Senior Managing Director and Technical Managing Director (for those pursuing a purely technical career track). There may be other Managing Director levels announced. If there’s one constant at Accenture, it is constant change.

NEXT PAGE:  How About Some Real Numbers?

27 thoughts on “Working at Accenture: How Much Does A “Partner” Make?

  1. Hey Asif,
    Just stumbled upon your blog – it’s great to find such a mix of technical, career, and general life posts!

    I’m currently a student interested in working for Accenture. You mentioned exit opportunities that recruiters had for you – do you know what opportunities are potentially available for those at the Consultant level looking to leave? I only ask this because I know consulting is a lifestyle and if I were to work there and a couple years in find I’m not able to handle the travel, I’m interested to know what my exit opps would be.

    Thanks!

    1. Corey, first of all, if you don’t have a family at home then the traveling can be pretty great. You will definitely enjoy if you get into a good project and good team. But if you want to leave after a few years, there are lots of opportunities available to you. The key is to work with your career counselor and determine the best path for you. At Accenture, you don’t have a manager or direct reports. You have a career counselor and, depending on your seniority, you will have some counselees. I had a group of analysts, consultants and managers for whom I was their counselor. I was very open with my counselees that they should decide whether they want to be a consulting lifer (some did) or if they want to stay a few years and then move onto something else (others preferred this path). I helped them develop the right skills, networks, knowledge and training to help them in their chosen track. In addition, if you are active on LinkedIn, no doubt you will have recruiters calling you regularly. There is no formal outplacement process at Accenture but the Alumni Network is very active and strong. Good luck to you and thanks for reading!

      Cheers.

      Asif Khan

  2. Hi Asif,
    Thanks for sharing this valuable information. I am joining Accenture as a senior Analyst IT operations. I believe Accenture recently changed their hierarchy. Could you please tell me if its a team lead position?

    1. trust me as i tell you this, now 10 months into accenture: at this company, you can be the most senor guy in your division and manage a project solely on your own, or you can be 2 days into an analyst position and manage a team of 30. you have to take it one day at a time. accenture wants you think of yourself as your own company in a big marketplace – sometimes companies have lots of people working for them, sometimes they don’t, but every day you have to create value, operate effectively, and develop people. that has almost nothing to do with hierarchy or job title, no matter what people might say.

      1. That’s a good point, Will! My very first role when I joined Accenture as a Senior Manager was to fill in as an Executive Director of IT for one of my clients. I managed a team of 125 people. The next project, I had no direct reports. It is entirely up to you what level of leadership you take on (and persuade others to trust you with). One of my colleagues joined the firm as a Consultant and was immediately thrust in a long term role managing a team of 4 people. She was promoted to manager within a year. Don’t worry too much about the title (although most people at Accenture seem to be very aware of titles) and just do work that you enjoy and that challenges you. You will do just fine.

        Cheers.

        Asif Khan

    2. Hi, I believe this role is in a different organization than where I worked. However, I checked with one of my friends who happens to have the same title. He said that this is equivalent to a Consultant role. When you are on board, you can ask if you are in the consulting or services organization. If in consulting, then this is an Analyst role. If services, I think it is a LevelC. In services, the hierarchy goes from LevelE (entry level) to LevelA (most senior role below Managing Director). Hope this helps.

      Cheers.

      Asif Khan

  3. Hey Asif!

    Thank you for your insightful article. I was recently offered a position at Accenture and accepted the offer. I have a question regarding one of your paragraphs though, you said “… I was suddenly flooded with recruiter inquiries a couple months ago. I wondered aloud to a colleague why I was suddenly getting so many calls. He pointed out that Fall is “recruiting season” at Accenture. Bonuses are paid out in the early Fall. Your rating and bonus determine whether you are on a likely Partner trajectory or not….. Recruiters are eager to place you into some pretty sweet non-consulting jobs.”

    I’m not quite getting what you’re saying in these two paragraphs. So are you saying Fall is the recruiting season because a lot of people leave Accenture due to their realization that they won’t get promoted? Also, what do you mean by “Recruiters are eager to place you into some pretty sweet non-consulting jobs.” Thanks again for your awesome article!

    1. You’re right! That is a confusing passage. I just rewrote it. Tell me what you think now. You are correct in your assumptions. The work experience you get at Accenture is like catnip to recruiters so if you put in your time, you will learn a lot and your resume will look amazing and employers are willing to pay top dollar for that experience. Not everyone leaves because they just realized they won’t make partner. I recently left the firm because I wasn’t really interested in the time-consuming process of campaigning to become a Managing Director…and the even more time-consuming job of actually BEING a Managing Director! Many leave to “spend more time with family.” It sounds like a cliche but it is a definite reality. At least it was for me…

      Cheers.

      Asif Khan

  4. My close friend is a Senior Managing Director (this level is not mentioned explicitly above) and e route to be promoted. Promotion levels include CIO -USA, CIO-Global, etc. Love to see the compensation associated with those. Well above the $340K USD level.

    1. John, you’re right. There are multiple levels of Managing Director. I didn’t dive too deeply into it in this post because I was concerned about whether this was publicly available information or not. There are 4 levels of MD and each level has 3 sublevels. You start at Level 4.3 then you get promoted to 4.2, 4.1, 3.3, 3.2, 3.1. Once you hit Level 2, you become a Sr MD. Then you keep going from 2.3 to 2.2, 2.1 to 1.3, 1.2, 1.1. Once you reach the SMD level, you either eventually join the Global Leadership Team at Accenture or leave the firm to become a VP- or C-level executive at one of our clients. Not a bad career path! By the way, are you John G in Dallas?

    2. John, one more thing. Regardless of which level of MD you are at, your total comp will be higher than the amount you mention in your comment. You have to count the non-cash, long term compensation. That is typically far more lucrative than the salary, as is typical with most executive compensation plans.

  5. Dear Asif,

    Thank you for sharing! I am currently an engineering undergraduate considering a career in consultancy. My mentor recommended me to consider Accenture. Like Dean, I have done my due diligent online and networked with a couple of Accenture representative (I have to honest, mostly are Analysts). I noticed that there are slight variation of Accenture culture for different country.

    Would you share with me about what you deemed as consistent characteristics (be it culture, mentoring system, etc) which distinguish Accenture from its competitors? It would be such an honor for me to get a more big-picture feedback from a Senior Executive like you, sir :).

    1. Jeanny, I have not worked in other countries but I have had the opportunity to meet people who have had international assignments or are based in other countries. I must say that Accenture does a great job of communicating its core values so that there is a remarkable consistency among Accenture associates in different countries while allowing enough flexibility to accommodate different cultures. Everyone I have met, without exception, is smart, articulate, passionate, competent and friendly. I was in a training class last year with associates from Russia, Australia, Japan, UAE, Brazil, etc. We did several role-playing exercises and it was fascinating to see how people from different cultures approach the same problem.

      I hope this helps. I strongly recommend you speak with analysts in the geography where you are interested in working. They will give you the best sense of what it is like to work at Accenture day to day.

      Cheers.

      Asif Khan

      1. I can weigh in here a bit as well – The Abu Dhabi/Dubai division is (I have to believe) one of Accenture’s most heterogeneous, as it has been staffed up Accenture people from all over the world looking to make a career change, and then as well as been augmented by local hiring.

        At any given point, there could be 10 or 15 nationalities represented in the office!

        It is indeed the case that, as you would expect, different people manage both their tactical and strategic approaches differently depending on where they are from. But it is also fascinating to see, as a new-hire, that indeed the Accenture transfers from all over the world all stick to Accenture’s core-values and Accenture’s Way.

        That is so critical in an emerging market like the Middle East where you have to be extra clear about rights, responsibilities, ethics and compliance.

      2. Will, good point about ethics and compliance. We are required to take ethics and compliance courses twice a year. Accenture takes this issue VERY seriously. I once met a consultant from a country that, shall we say, has a less than stellar reputation for ethics and compliance in their business dealings. This consultant told me that Accenture is one firm, it is understood and widely recognized in his country, that you don’t mess with. No bribes. No corruption. No impropriety of any kind. That fact alone made me very proud to work for this company!

        Cheers.

        Asif Khan

      3. Dear Will and Asif,

        Thank you so much for the feedback! I have set a couple of coffee appointments with Accenture analysts as Asif suggested. And Will, thank you for the reminder to always double check relevant office’s term of conducts. I am honestly very excited about the company, after interacting with Accenture role models like you both.

        I wish to ask for another suggestion from you both:
        As a biomedical engineer who are preparing myself for a job in management consulting (preferably in health & public service), what would be a good step to do? Is there any courses or books you would recommend?

      4. Jeanny, I don’t know of any courses or books in particular that I would recommend to prepare for your chosen career path. However, I recently read a book called The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande. I highly recommend it. It is related to your interests. Also, I don’t know what country you are in, but in the US, the Affordable Care Act (“ObamaCare”) is a huge catalyst for change in Health Care. I recommend learning about that and other government initiatives that will require major transformation in the Public Service space. This type of industry knowledge will be a huge plus when you interview at Accenture. But the key is to get the job offer. Accenture will teach you everything else you need to know :-)

        Cheers.

        Asif Khan

    2. Dear Asif,

      Thank you so much for the tips and book recommendation. Would definitely check it out! :)

      I live in Singapore, and was fortunate to enjoy an education in HSA (Singapore equivalent of FDA) regulations and patent due diligent evolving around medical devices development. I hope it can set me apart from my interviewee competitors :).

      Hope you have a pleasant week ahead. And again, please let me express my sincere gratitude for your kind responses and guidance.

      Warmest Regards,
      Jeanny Haliman

  6. Asif

    I was given an offer by Accenture (which I have accepted). Before accepted the offer I did a large amount of research on Accenture’s culture, policy’s and career methodology. Part of that due diligence was your vaporware blog. You did a very good job in explaining the upward mobility of the company and the need to build a peer group around you. This blog post about “Working at Accenture: A day in the life” was partially interesting and gave good insight about the company. I believe our motivations for joining Accenture are very close. I also possess a deep technology background but the current job I was in I out grew and was unable to take my career to the next level. You really instilled the need to “network network network” with everyone in order to be successful.

    One of the things after reading many glassdoor reviews and reviews around the web I see as a constant challenge is the assimilation of new experienced hires. How have you overcome this challenge? What parts of Accenture’s business process are the most challenging for experienced hires not born inside of the culture? How does Accenture’s delivery methodology for projects differ from the industry normal? Any general advice also is most welcome.

    Once again Thank you so much for publishing a great blog, it really serves as a window inside the company.

    1. Dane, first of all congratulations on joining a great organization! Second, if you get to know me, you will quickly realize that I love to talk and give unsolicited advice…which is probably why I started the blog in the first place :-). After you have gone through the onboarding process, give me a call. I’ll talk your ear off!

      Cheers.

      Asif Khan

  7. asif – enjoyed your analysis. i’ve just recently joined the abu dhabi office in mc at manager-level. finding the whole thing fascinating. if you’re ever in my neighborhood, drop me a line.

  8. Good insights to ACN, thanks ! Now I hear friends and recruiters also portraying that sr. managers are considered as executives, as noted in offering letter, and also that’s why the next stop for a sr.manager is sr. executive (or MD now)….wonder if they will rename the role sr. manager too..

    1. Jamal, ACN changed SE to MD to be aligned with the other major consulting firms. I know that Deloitte and PwC, among others, use the term Director for the ACN equivalent of Sr Mgr. So I expect that change to come to ACN at some point. Yes, a Sr Mgr is considered an executive role. I’m not too hung up on titles but it would be good to have a consistent title structure across the major firms.

      Cheers.

      Asif Khan

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