It’s possible that PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) would have spun off their consulting unit in an initial public offering even if the scandal surrounding the collapse of Enron and its relationship with Arthur Andersen hadn’t come to light.
But its recent announcement that it would make the move, along with discontinuing the practice of providing specific technology services to companies that it audits, shows the seismic shift that the Enron debacle has sparked across the industry.
Considering the current economic climate, PwC is brave to even whisper the words “IPO” and “consulting” in the same breath. But as the top accounting firm of the Big Five, the company might have a good shot at a successful IPO.
The larger issue is whether consulting firms can assure the public that they can maintain their independence despite the inevitable pressure from clients with deep pockets and lots of billable hours. What will consulting firms have to do to convince the public of their independence?
Start a discussion below and give us—and the industry—your suggestions.