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经济学人:咨询公司 战略举措

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Business

商业报道
Consultancy firms
咨询公司
Strategic moves
战略举措
Big consulting and accounting firms are making a risky move into strategy work
大型的咨询和财务公司正在战略上铤而走险
OPERATIONS consultants sit at the front of the classroom, says a partner at a strategy consultancy. Strategy consultants stay in the back, not paying attention, throwing paper airplanes.
一家战略咨询公司的合伙人说:运营顾问坐在教室的前排,战略顾问坐在教室的后排投掷纸飞机,
But they still get the girls and get rich. Like so many caricatures, this one is cruel but contains a grain of truth.
尽管没人搭理,可是他们仍然能金钱美女双收。和众多的讽刺漫画一样,尽管残忍,它却道出了事实。
Operations consultants—the fine-detail guys who tinker with businesses' internal processes to make them run better.
运营顾问是一些细节家伙们,他们对贸易的内部流程进行粗略的处理,以使其运行更流畅。

generally do not enjoy the same glamour or financial rewards as strategy specialists, whose job is to advise firms on make-or-break deals, adopting new business models and other big stuff.

一般来说他们不如战略专家抢手,也没有他们赚钱多。战略专家则是负责建议公司做孤注一掷的交易,采用新的商业模式或者其他大型事务。
Although in practice their work overlaps, the two have until now remained distinct businesses.
尽管在实际中他们的工作有重叠的部分,可是这两者至今仍泾渭分明。
Strategy firms like McKinsey, Bain and the Boston Consulting Group hire from the top universities, are packed with highly paid partners and whisper their counsel in CEOs' ears.
战略公司,比如麦肯锡,贝恩和波士顿咨询公司,他们从顶尖大学雇佣大量的高薪员工,专门给总裁出谋划策。
In contrast, operations specialists such as IBM, Accenture and the Big Four accounting firms employ armies of lower-paid grunts; and tend to answer to the client firm's finance or tech chiefs.
相反的,譬如IBM、埃森哲咨询公司和四大会计师事务所这样的操作专家则雇佣低薪大军,往往他们却做上了客户公司的财务或技术主管。
This year, however, that line has begun to blur.
然而今年,他们的界限就变得模糊了。
In January Deloitte became the largest of the Big Four by scooping up the assets of Monitor, a strategy firm that had gone bust.
一月,德勤公司通过收购破产的战略公司莫尼托成了四大会计师事务所之一。
And on October 30th its closest rival, PwC, said it would buy another strategy firm, Booz & Company, for a reported $1 billion.
十月三十号它最有力的竞争者普华永道会计师事务所宣称将斥资十亿美元收购另外一家战略公司博斯公司。
If Booz's partners approve the deal, it will vault PwC back into first place.
如果博斯的合伙人批准了这笔交易,这将会帮助普华永道重登第一宝座。
The accountancies' push into strategy has been a decade in the making.
会计师们推进战略的形成已经十个年头了。
During the late-1990s technology bubble they beefed up their IT-consulting arms.
20世纪90年代末期,科技的进步使得他们不得不加强他们的IT咨询武器。
But in 2001 Enron, an energy-trading firm, went bust and took its auditor, Arthur Andersen, down with it.
但是2001年一家能源交易公司安然破产了,它的审计员也被拖下水了。
In response, America's Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate-governance reform, which banned firms from doing systems consulting for companies they audited.
于是,美国国会通过了萨班斯-奥克斯利公司监管改革法案,该法案禁止企业为他们审计的公司做系统的咨询。
As a consolation prize, the Big Four made a fortune helping clients comply with the new law.
作为安慰奖,四大会计师事务所通过帮助顾客遵守新的法律而大发横财。
Their advisory businesses, full of potential for conflicts of interest with their auditing side, by now seemed dispensable.
他们的咨询业务与他们的审计方面充满了潜在的利益冲突,现在看来也是可有可无了。
All but Deloitte had sold off those divisions by 2003.
除了德勤其他会计师事务所都在2003年前处理掉了这些部门。
Just as the workload from Sarbanes-Oxley began to dwindle, the 2008-09 financial crisis hit, causing consulting revenues to dip.
正如萨班斯-奥克斯利法案的出台减少了工作量,2008年到2009年的金融危机的冲击造成了咨询工资的减少。
But once the economy recovered, the climate for the Big Four started to resemble the 1990s.
而一旦经济复苏,四大会计师事务所又会像20世纪90年代那样如日中天。
They began to rush back into consultancy, encouraged by its high margins and double-digit annual growth rates at a time when revenue growth from auditing and tax work had slowed.
当审计和税收工作的工资增长缓慢而咨询的工资年翻一番时,受高利润的诱惑,他们又开始重操旧业。
In particular, Deloitte and PwC began gobbling up operations consultancies as they sparred for the top spot.
尤其是德勤和普华永道,在坐上头把交椅的过程中,他们狼吞虎咽一般并购咨询公司。
For years the strategy firms remained beyond the Big Four's grasp.
几年里战略公司都不被四大巨头看重。
During the 2000s they had mostly prospered on their own, and their partners shuddered at the thought of being subsumed into giant bureaucracies.
2000年里它们自己昌盛了,他们的合伙人想到要卷入复杂的官僚政治就战战兢兢。
After the financial crisis, however, midsized strategy consultants hit hard times.
然而金融危机之后,中型战略咨询公司遇上了寒冬。
Cost-conscious companies with globalising businesses wanted either to hire boutiques with deep knowledge of their industries, or to benefit from the scale of generalist firms with offices everywhere.
注重节约成本的全球化企业要么雇佣有着丰富行业知识的精品店,要么就从到处都有办公室的多面手公司的规模上受益。
Too big for some clients and too small for others, Monitor went under, and Booz—a spin-off from Booz Allen Hamilton, which now focuses on operations work for governments—went on the block.
像莫尼托这样不大不小的公司倒闭了,而现在将重心放在操作工作上的博斯艾伦的子公司博斯则继续步履维艰。
Both Booz and PwC say that the two sides of consulting are converging, and that more clients want a one-stop shop that can both devise a strategy and execute it.
博斯和普华永道都表示双方正在合并中,而且更多的客户都表示想要既能出谋划策又能去实行策略的一站式商店。
Deloitte and Monitor claim their integration is already bearing fruit.
德勤和莫尼托则宣称他们的合并已经初见成效,
There's been a very healthy two-way cross-selling opportunity, says Mike Canning of Deloitte.
德勤的迈克坎宁说:双方有着非常良好的交叉销售的机遇。
Nonetheless, Booz's leadership still faces a hard sell to get the deal passed.
尽管如此,博斯的领导地位仍面临一笔艰难的交易的完成。
In 2010 the company's partners voted down a proposed merger with AT Kearney, another midsized strategy firm. This marriage involves far more risks.
2010年,博斯的合作伙伴投票否决了合并另一家中型战略公司科尼尔的决议。
A significant number of Booz's clients would immediately be in doubt because PwC audits them—strategy consulting for audit clients is banned in many countries, and even where it is legal it is frowned upon.
这桩联姻的风险大得多。相当一部分博斯的客户立马就会犹疑,因为普华永道审计他们,在很多国家替审计客户作战略咨询是明令禁止的,即使合法也是令人不悦的。
Since the Big Four are structured as associations of national partnerships, Booz's staff would probably end up being divided by country, hindering the global co-operation that many big clients seek.
由于四大巨头是国家合作伙伴组织,博斯的员工最终可能被国家分开,阻碍许多大客户寻觅的全球合作商机。
Most important, each of Booz's 300 partners would have to trade meaningful sway over the direction of a highly profitable firm for a minuscule stake in a diversified, lower-margin empire.
最重要的是,为了从高盈利的公司转化成一个极小的股权多元的、低利润的帝国,博斯的300个合作伙伴每一个都要作有意义的贸易。
If the sale is approved, the test of its success will come in a few years, after Booz's partners receive their full payout and can head off.
如果销售被批准了,博斯的合作伙伴收到了全额支付并能转移方向后,接下来的几年里对它成功与否的考验将会到来。
An exodus would leave PwC empty-handed.
大批合作伙伴的离去将会使得普华永道一无所获。
The Big Four are also running a risk far greater than the cost of their purchases.
四大巨头也在运行风险,比他们所购物花销要大得多的风险。
A decade ago they placated regulators by retreating from advisory work.
10年前他们退出咨询工作稳住监管者。
High-profile deals like the Booz-PwC tie-up put the conflict of interest between auditing and consulting back in the spotlight:
诸如博斯和普华永道的结合这样高调的交易使审计和咨询的利益冲突再度成为人们关注的焦点:
after it was announced, Arthur Levitt, a former head of America's Securities and Exchange Commission, warned that the firms were slipping back towards old, bad habits.
消息传出后,美国证券交易委员会前任掌门人亚瑟莱维特警告说该公司正在向陈旧和恶劣的习性倒退。
Any gains from pushing into strategy work might end up being outweighed by the cost of another regulatory crackdown.
推行战略工作的任何收益也将被用在监管镇压的开销而抵消。
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benefit ['benifit]

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n. 利益,津贴,保险金,义卖,义演
vt.

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resemble [ri'zembl]

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vt. 相似,类似,像

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vault [vɔ:lt]

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n. 窖,地下室,撑竿跳 vt. 做成圆拱形,撑竿跳跃

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blur [blə:]

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v. 使 ... 模糊,弄脏
n. 污点,模糊

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v. 摇摆,摇动,支配,影响
n. 摇摆,动摇

 
consolation [.kɔnsə'leiʃən]

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n. 安慰,慰藉

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n. 匙,调羹,匙状物
vt. 以匙舀起

 
commission [kə'miʃən]

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n. 委员会,委托,委任,佣金,犯罪
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exodus ['eksədəs]

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n. 大批的离去 Exodus:(《圣经·旧约》中的)出

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v. 压榨,挤压,塞进
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