The globe's best outsourcing advisors, consultants and lawyers

30 May 2017

The International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP), a global association that promotes and represents the outsourcing industry, has announced the 2017 edition of its annual ‘World's Best Outsourcing Advisors’ short-list. The prestigious ranking, now in its ninth year, singles out 20 advisory and management consultancy firms for special praise, having demonstrated their global excellence in the eyes of IAOP’s governing body.

Every year the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP), founded in 2005, conducts international research into the quality of outsourcing services providers. Based on the research, one category the association awards is ‘The World’s Best Outsourcing Advisors’, an assortment of the globe’s 20 leading outsourcing consultancies. The names of the companies selected were released on the opening day of IAOP’s 20th anniversary edition of their Outsourcing World Summit.

To make the grade, consulting firms were judged on five key factors: size and growth, quality of services and delivery, awards / certification, innovation and the way how corporate social responsibility (CSR) is institutionalised within company operations. The 10-member jury based judgements on a rigorous scoring methodology as well as on an independent review by a panel of IAOP customer members.

IAOP CEO and co-judging chair for this year’s assessment, Debi Hamill said of this year’s selection, "Now, more than ever, outsourcing end users need to be able to easily identify and select the right company for their outsourcing needs… Given the strong, global competition, these companies should be proud of achieving excellence in the field.”

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The World’s Best Outsourcing Advisors

Out of the hundreds of applications to be named among the professional services advisory elite, judges narrowed it down to consulting firms.

To illustrate the level of competition, only three of the Big Four consulting companies made the final cut, with Deloitte, EY and KPMG all present. Meanwhile, rival PwC’s strategic advisory division Strategy& has now missed out in consecutive years – highlighting just how high IAOP’s panel set the bar.

KPMG has been ever-present since the list’s inception in 2008, and the firm's outsourcing arm, which is comprised of a team of 1,100 advisors globally, provides outsourcing advisory services and shared services expertise across a multiplicity of fields. The judges – including experts from GE, IAOP, Sprint, Thomson Reuters, and the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management – awarded the company perfect scores in the Customer References and Programs for Innovation categories.

David J. Brown, Global Lead of Shared Services and Outsourcing Advisory for KPMG said of the group’s sustained success, “We value it not only because it provides marketplace recognition of our dedication to delivering transformational value to clients, but also because it validates for our more than 1,100 team members in 152 member firms the hard work, passion and commitment to outstanding quality they exhibit in every client engagement.”

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Following hot on their heels meanwhile, Deloitte have made the top 20 their home since 2010, also earned distinctions, being recognised as an "All-Star Company" after receiving five stars for its advisory capabilities and frequently outsourced functions. As a result of the company’s now seven-year tenure in the list, Deloitte was additionally recognised for Sustained Excellence, with Morgan Davis, a Principal with the firm stating, “Having received the five-star ranking for seven straight years reflects our commitment to bringing innovative strategies to our clients as they traverse the outsourcing and shared services journey.”

The final member of the Big Four contingent to make the list, EY too has firmly established itself as one of the World's Best Outsourcing Advisors, as the group have been present in the ranking for six years, back-to-back.

The Boston Consulting Group meanwhile held on to their place, having entered the ranking for the first time in 2016 – consolidating its position along with Avasant, Pace Harmon and Quint Wellington Redwood – three consultancies that specifically operate in outsourcing consulting. Speaking after his firm’s 9th consecutive year in the list, Kevin S. Parikh, Avasant’s Global CEO and Senior Partner said, “We are always looking ahead, preparing ourselves and our clients for the business challenges of the future. We are thrilled to know that our innovative methods continue to leave a lasting mark in the industry.”

Netherlands-based Quint was meanwhile named as one of the top 20 advisory firms for the fourth year in a row, having made sustainable sources a cornerstone to all its projects. Among the top companies, the collective score for sustainability left room for improvement, however Quint scored well above average. Alex Van den Bergh, head of Quint’s Sourcing Advisory Practice said, “I am proud to see that Quint, with the highest possible score in this category, is ahead of the rest of the sector. This result encourages us and challenges us to continue to work hard on CSR.”

Part of the UK-based contingent meanwhile, consulting firm Elixirr returned to the ranking for a sixth straight year. Founder and Managing Partner Stephen Newton said, “Innovation is at the heart of everything we do, including outsourcing, and to be recognised for this by the IAOP is an extremely proud moment for all the team.” The other returning members of the 20-strong selection were US group Information Services Group (ISG) and Zinnov Management Consulting.

Breaking into the top 20 for the first time meanwhile, Berlin-based Turtleton & Compagnie and American firm WGroup were the only new additions to the assortment of consultancies. Speaking on his firm’s latest achievement, WGroup’s President and CEO Harry Wallaesa said, “We are especially honoured to be named to The World’s Best Outsourcing Advisors list based on the passion and advocacy from our clients – this recognition affirms our leadership in the sourcing advisory space.”

The World’s Best Outsourcing Advisors

Law firms

In addition to an assortment of consulting groups, IAOP’s latest annual selection also includes eight legal service firms who provide outsourcing advisory services. The firms, all of whom were returning from the previous year’s assortment, include the world’s second law firm Baker McKenzie, DLA Piper, the third largest law firm in the US, and UK headquartered Bird & Bird, which employs 1,100 lawyers in 28 offices globally. In a statement following their triumph, the British-based legal firm remarked that they had assisted customers for more than 25 years in many of the most challenging and innovative fields, and were proud to do so.

UK-founded Olswang also appeared in the selection, being named for the fourth year running. Dominic Dryden, a Partner at the London-headquartered company said, “The past year has seen Olswang advise on a number of transformational and ground-breaking sourcing and procurement transactions, and my thanks go to our whole team for their hard work, dedication and performance."

Completing the list, legal groups, US-based Foley & Lardner, Kirkland & Ellis and Mayer Brown – one of the 15 largest legal firms globally – were joined by Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, one of the oldest law firms in America.

Related: Top 20 outsourcing advisory and consulting firms of the globe (2016 edition of IAOP's ranking).



10 leading consulting companies to work for in the UK

10 April 2019

The UK is home to 100+ leading consulting firms. New analysis reveals the 10 consulting companies that rank as the best industry employers to work for. 

The list of top consultancy employers is based on the views and opinions of employees who were surveyed by The Sunday Times about their experience of their firm’s leadership, workplace environment, development opportunities, wellbeing, pay, benefits and commitment to social responsibility. In the large consulting firms category, two of the Big Four – EY and Deloitte – and Accenture stand out from the rest. Seven other consultancies made the prestigious cut, all of which are small to mid-sized players in the consulting industry. 


Established: 1989
Category: Large consulting firm
Main office: London
Employees: 15,076 

With roots stretching back to 1989, EY now spans over 27 UK offices. The firm supports clients, ranging from small, privately owned companies and global household names, with assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. As part of the firm’s core values, EY looks for people who demonstrate integrity and respect; people with energy, enthusiasm and the courage to lead; and people who build relationships based on doing the right thing. 


Established: 1849
Category: Large consulting firm
Main office: London
Employees: 16,138 

Deloitte employs staff across 150 countries and territories, and its UK operations now span 24 offices. The professional services giant offers services including audit, tax, consulting and financial advisory. Among the firm’s core values are: integrity, outstanding value to markets and clients, commitment to each other, and strength from cultural diversity.


Established: 1989
Category: Large consulting firm
Main office: London
Employees: 10,747 

With employees across 120 countries, Accenture provides a range of services in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations to clients in more than 40 industries. The Dublin-headquartered company believes in attracting, developing and retaining the best talent for the business, valuing diversity, fostering an open working environment and demonstrating integrity at all times.Ten leading consulting companies to work for in the UK

Karmarama (part of Accenture)

Established: 2000
Category: Mid-sized consulting firm
Main office: London
Employees: 245 

Karmarama is a creative agency, since December 2016 part of Accenture Interactive. The firm’s services include advertising, direct and digital marketing, digital design and build, data and analytics, PR, social and innovation. Karmarama is in the market known for its ability to blend creativity, digital and data, to help brands better engage with consumers. 


Established: 2010
Category: Small consulting firm
Main office: London
Employees: 90

Clarasys is a London-based management consulting firm that advises and supports clients with business change, process implementation, project management and other related consultancy services. The firm serves a variety of clients, from small, not-for-profit organisations to multinational corporations. Clarasys differentiates itself through its truly democratic approach, with an elected member from each team providing feedback for their department. 

The Berkeley Partnership

Established: 1990
Category: Small consulting firm
Main office: London
Employees: 90

The Berkeley Partnership is an independent management consultancy providing specialist support for transformational change, working side-by-side with clients to achieve their goals. Clients include a number of FTSE 100 companies, multinationals and government departments, with over 85% of clients using the services of The Berkeley Partnership more than once. 

Abbott Risk Consulting

Established: 2002
Category: Small consulting firm
Main office: Edinburgh
Employees: 69

From 12 sites across the UK and Australia, Abbott Risk Consulting provides safety and risk environment consultancy services to some of the most high-hazard industries in the global economy. The company helps to work out the risk associated with hazardous events, such as oil platforms explosions, train crashes, or accidents affecting nuclear power stations.

Alpha Financial Markets Consulting

Established: 2003
Category: Small consulting firm
Main office: London
Employees: 180 

Alpha Financial Markets Consulting is a provider of specialist consultancy services to the asset and wealth management industry, working with 85% of the world’s top 20 asset managers. In order to attract and retain the very best people, Alpha, which has offices in London, New York, Boston, Paris, Geneva, The Hague, Luxembourg and Singapore, seeks to provide employees with a great experience.

Lane4 Management Group

Established: 1995
Category: Small consulting firm
Main office: Maidenhead
Employees: 193 

Lane4 Management Group is a leading HR consultancy specialised in human performance. The company’s team, based in Buckinghamshire, builds on a track record of achievement in business, psychology and elite sport. Lane4 was founded by British Olympic gold swimmer Adrian Moorhouse, Graham Jones and Adrian Hutchinson. 

NHS Transformation Unit

Established: 2000
Category: Internal consulting firm
Main office: Manchester
Employees: 52 

The Transformation Unit is an internal consultancy of the NHS, based in Manchester. The firm provides consultancy services to the public sector based around strategic transformation and planning; finance and analytics; project and programme management; and organisational strategy and engagement. Services span the complete transformation cycle, from developing a case for change right through to implementing new services or systems. 


The top employers list of The Sunday Times further includes several other professional services firms that also provide consultancy services, including firms with an accounting heritage (Anderson Anderson and Brown, BHP, PKF Cooper Parry, Price Bailey), firms with an engineering heritage (BWB Consulting, Caunton Engineering) and those with a tax heritage (ForrestBrown).