The top 60 leading UK management consulting firms

29 January 2020 Consultancy.uk

KPMG, Deloitte, Accenture, PwC and McKinsey & Company are the UK’s leading consulting firms, according to an analysis of the reputation and service quality of over 1,400 consulting firms. The nation’s top 60 consultancies are dominated by the industry’s biggest names – but smaller firms still managed to win a place in the ranking, despite their smaller portfolios.

The UK’s management consulting market has grown significantly in recent years, and is now estimated at being worth more than £11 billion. As the industry enters the New Year, The Financial Times has released its annual ranking of the top members of Britain’s management consulting scene. Along with traditional management consultancy firms, those included in the analysis included advisory wings of accounting-origin firms, digtital consulting firms and consultancy divisions of technology companies.

The analysis of the country’s leading management consultants is based on recommendations by clients and peers. Compiled with data company Statista, it assesses consulting work across 29 categories, with two surveys running through these fields. The first gives feedback from clients and the second consists of consultants evaluating their peers – before an aggregate score of gold, silver and bronze ratings is compiled in each category, according to how often consultancies are recommended.

The feedback from the 1,000 senior executives who have use the services of management consultancies, and 5,000 partners and consultants working in the consulting industry eventually found that KPMG is the firm with the most quality spread across the widest breadth and depth. The firm – including its KPMG Boxwood subsidiary – received a recommendation in every category studied, and picked up a total of 36 gold, silver and bronze recommendations.

The top consulting firms in the UK (top 20)

While KPMG had the highest number of any kinds of recommendation, however, Deloitte and Accenture both outstripped the number of top ratings the firm received. The pair both brought in 24 gold ratings, while PwC and its strategy consulting subsidiary Strategy& (formerly Booz & Company) received 17 top ratings.

Accenture's list of recommendations includes those amassed by its UK subsidiaries ?What if! (acquired in March 2019) and Javelin Group (purchased in June 2015). For Deloitte, the total includes those received by Deloitte Consulting (its main brand), Monitor Deloitte (its strategy & operations consulting arm) and Deloitte Digital (its digital and technology division).

McKinsey & Company meanwhile received the highest number of silver recommendations, at 19 – meaning the MBB strategy giant closed out the top five.

Little has changed at UK consulting’s top table in 2020, with the top 10 all having been present in the previous edition of the top management consulting firms list. Boston Consulting Group (including BCG Digital Ventures), EY (including EY-Parthenon), Bain & Company, IBM Global Business Services, and recently rebranded Kearney all remain in the top 10, albeit having swapped rankings in some cases.

Beyond the top 10 consulting firms, the total recommendations of the consultancies begins to narrow. Capgemini Invent ranks eleventh with the same total of 15 as Kearney, but with one fewer gold recommendation. Meanwhile, engineering consultancy Atkins and home grown PA Consulting Group both hold a total of 14 recommendations.

The top consulting firms in the UK (20 - 40)

Grant Thornton holds a total of 13, followed closely by Baringa Partners – which actually received two more top ratings – and BearingPoint (including Prederi), both on 12 in total. Oliver Wyman (including its creative arm Lippincott) received a total of nine recommendations, while Vendigital and BDO received eight. UK-headquartered strategic consultancy L.E.K Consulting closed out the top 20 with a total of seven – all in the bronze category.

Outside of the top 20, the chasing pack rated even more closely together. For example, BAE Systems, Korn Ferry, Cognizant, and Charles River Associates each received six recommendations, while Tata Consultancy Services, Arthur D. Little and Egremont Group received five.

Rounding off the top 40, Arup, Mott MacDonald, Infosys, Alvarez & Marsal, Clarasys, Curzon Consulting, FTI Consulting, Moorhouse, OC&C Strategy Consultants and RedQuadrant all received four nods. Arcadis, ERM and Gartner each received three – the same number as 11 other firms close behind, however the trio each received a higher number of silver ratings. A full list of the rankings is included at the end of this report.

Top service lines

According to data from the Management Consultancies Association, financial services firms are still the leading buyers of consulting services in the UK market – making up nearly one third of all revenues. According to the data compiled by The Financial Times, the Big Four, McKinsey and Accenture received the best feedback in the sector.

Accenture, KPMG, Deloitte and PwC each received gold ratings in both the financial services and the finance, risk & compliance categories. Meanwhile, EY and McKinsey each received gold recommendations in financial services.

The top consulting firms in the UK (40 - 60)

With austerity driving authorities to digitalise their operations in order to cut costs, and a huge amount of work to be undertaken in order to ready the nation for Brexit, the public sector still makes up around a quarter of all demand for UK consulting. In terms of public sector consulting, Accenture, Deloitte, KPMG and PwC were joined by smaller firms BAE Systems and Korn Ferry – who each received a gold recommendation in the category.

The other sector which initiates the most consulting work in the UK is the consumer goods & industrial products segment – accounting for 16% of the consulting sector’s business. Again, Accenture did well across the board, picking up gold recommendations in the consumer goods & retail section of the analysis, as well as in the industry & metals category. In the former, the firm was joined in its high rating by Bain & Company, BCG, Deloitte, KPMG and PwC – while in the latter it was joined by IBM Global Business Services.

In terms of the key trends impacting the consulting industry in Britain looking forward, digitalisation and technological remain top of the agenda. Many firms have seen huge spikes in work from clients looking for expert support in digital transformation efforts, so performing well in this regard is essential for a firm’s long-term success.

Deloitte dominated in this field, picking up gold ratings in the data analytics, IT implementation and IT strategy fields, as well as two in digital transformation for its subsidiaries. Accenture also picked up four gold recommendations across these fields, alongside IBM Global Business Services – which might have been expected for the business IT giant. KPMG and PwC also picked up gold recommendations for their data analytics efforts.

The UK’s 60 leading consulting firms

KPMG
Number of recommendations: 36
Gold: 14 | Silver: 13 | Bronze: 9

Deloitte
Number of recommendations: 34
Gold: 24 | Silver: 9 | Bronze: 1

Accenture
Number of recommendations: 32
Gold: 24 | Silver: 4 | Bronze: 4

PwC
Number of recommendations: 30
Gold: 17 | Silver: 8 | Bronze: 5

McKinsey & Company
Number of recommendations: 29
Gold: 5 | Silver: 19 | Bronze: 5

Boston Consulting Group
Number of recommendations: 27
Gold: 2 | Silver: 18 | Bronze: 7

EY
Number of recommendations: 24
Gold: 1 | Silver: 15 | Bronze: 8

Bain & Company
Number of recommendations: 23
Gold: 3 | Silver: 12 | Bronze: 8

IBM Global Business Services
Number of recommendations: 16
Gold: 8  | Silver: 5 | Bronze: 3

Kearney
Number of recommendations: 15
Gold: 1 | Silver: 12 | Bronze: 2

Capgemini Invent
Number of recommendations: 15
Silver: 11 | Bronze: 4

Atkins
Number of recommendations: 14
Gold: 1 | Silver: 11 | Bronze: 2

PA Consulting Group
Number of recommendations: 14
Silver: 3 | Bronze: 11

Grant Thornton
Number of recommendations: 13
Silver: 8 | Bronze: 5

Baringa Partners
Number of recommendations: 12
Gold: 2 | Silver: 2 | Bronze: 8

BearingPoint
Number of recommendations: 12
Silver: 2 | Bronze: 10

Oliver Wyman
Number of recommendations: 9
Silver: 2 | Bronze: 7

Vendigital
Number of recommendations: 8
Silver: 5 | Bronze: 3

BDO Advisory
Number of recommendations: 8
Silver: 4 | Bronze: 4

L.E.K Consulting
Number of recommendations: 7
Bronze: 7

BAE Systems Applied Intelligence
Number of recommendations: 6
Gold: 3 | Silver: 3

Korn Ferry
Number of recommendations: 6
Gold: 2 | Silver: 3 | Bronze: 1

Cognizant
Number of recommendations: 6
Silver: 3 | Bronze: 3

Charles River Associates
Number of recommendations: 6
Bronze: 6

Tata Consultancy Services
Number of recommendations: 5
Silver: 3 | Bronze: 2

Arthur D. Little
Number of recommendations: 5
Bronze: 5

Egremont Group
Number of recommendations: 5
Bronze: 5

Arup
Number of recommendations: 4
Silver: 2 | Bronze: 2

Mott MacDonald
Number of recommendations: 4
Silver: 2 | Bronze: 2

Infosys
Number of recommendations: 4
Silver: 1 | Bronze: 3

Alvarez & Marsal
Number of recommendations: 4
Bronze: 4

Clarasys
Number of recommendations: 4
Bronze: 4

Curzon Consulting
Number of recommendations: 4
Bronze: 4

FTI Consulting
Number of recommendations: 4
Bronze: 4

Moorhouse
Number of recommendations: 4
Bronze: 4

OC&C Strategy Consultants
Number of recommendations: 4
Bronze: 4

RedQuadrant
Number of recommendations: 4
Bronze: 4

Arcadis
Number of recommendations: 3
Silver: 2 | Bronze: 1

ERM
Number of recommendations: 3
Silver: 2 | Bronze: 1

Gartner
Number of recommendations: 3
Silver: 2 | Bronze: 1

AlixPartners
Number of recommendations: 3
Silver: 1 | Bronze: 2

Kantar
Number of recommendations: 3
Silver: 1 | Bronze: 2

Savills
Number of recommendations: 3
Silver: 1 | Bronze: 2

31ten
Number of recommendations: 3
Bronze: 3

ASE
Number of recommendations: 3
Bronze: 3

Basis
Number of recommendations: 3
Bronze: 3

BJSS
Number of recommendations: 3
Bronze: 3

Chaucer
Number of recommendations: 3
Bronze: 3

Infinity Works
Number of recommendations: 3
Bronze: 3

Publicis Sapient
Number of recommendations: 3
Bronze: 3

Roland Berger
Number of recommendations: 3
Bronze: 3

The Berkeley Partnership
Number of recommendations: 3
Bronze: 3

BMC
Number of recommendations: 2
Silver: 2

Fujitsu Consulting
Number of recommendations: 2
Silver: 2

Aon
Number of recommendations: 2
Silver: 1 | Bronze: 1

Atos
Number of recommendations: 2
Silver: 1 | Bronze: 1

Decision Technology
Number of recommendations: 2
Silver: 1 | Bronze: 1

Gameshift
Number of recommendations: 2
Silver: 1 | Bronze: 1

Mercer
Number of recommendations: 2
Silver: 1 | Bronze: 1

Simon-Kucher & Partners
Number of recommendations: 2
Silver: 1 | Bronze: 1

Wood Mackenzie
Number of recommendations: 2
Silver: 1 | Bronze: 1


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