Accenture Federal Services may be unfamiliar to you even if you think you know Accenture up and down. Founded in 1989, Accenture has become one of the largest consulting firms in the world. The firm has annual revenues of over $10 billion. Accenture is best known for working with publicly traded corporate clients. Yet, Accenture Federal Services is the practice area that brings the firm’s technology expertise to the public sectors.
Of course, government institutions have bottom lines as well, although most manage to multiple bottom lines. Further, governing bodies at every level face many of the same difficulties private enterprise does: predicting and navigating the future, building resilient and adaptive practices, learning to avoid threats and take advantage of opportunities, etc.
In this article, we dive deep into Accenture Federal Services. This is the branch of Accenture that serves government and public institutions.
About Accenture Federal Services
Essentially, Accenture Federal Services is just another branch of the larger Accenture tree. This one offers versions of the company’s signature expertise- and innovation-driven consulting to government agencies. Government agencies, like corporations, face fiscal solvency challenges, branding & reputation issues, and need operations & management help. Accenture Federal Services exists to help its public sector clients solve these issues, although the most common type of support Accenture provides is technology implementation.
Accenture Federal Services currently operates out of seven different offices in the United States: San Antonio and Dallas in Texas; Arlington and Chantilly in Virginia; Baltimore, MD; Harrisburg, PA; and Columbus, OH. You’ll notice these are clustered around powerful state and federal level governing bodies. In particular, Accenture Federal Services helps government agencies in the diverse practice areas of national security, public health, the military, and civilian services. AFS is best known for helping government departments build adaptivity and resilience in the face of mounting digital challenges.
Accenture Federal Services has already begun the work of trying to figure out what the next several years of change and disruption will mean for government. The firm recently completed Federal Vision 2030, an initiative that focused on the near future of governance as shaped by four major insights: 1) Virtual is the new face of government; 2) Data is redefining relationships; 3) Trust is critical infrastructure, and 4) Authenticity is currency.
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Accenture Federal Services Interview
Of course, if you’re interested in a position with AFS, you’re probably skipping ahead to this section, looking for special tips to land an AFS interview, and wondering how it is different from an Accenture Strategy interview. The truth is, the processes of the Accenture Federal Services interview are quite similar to the general Accenture Strategy interview, as the skills & personality traits both practice areas look for are mostly the same.
Accenture Federal Services Interview Process
The typical Accenture Federal Services Interview process consists of four stages between application and hiring. The first interview—often conducted over the phone even in non-pandemic times—is typically quite straightforward, assessing basic considerations about resume and fit. The second interview is where things are really dialed up a notch—this step typically consists of a very in-depth technical interview in which a senior consultant assesses your skills & expertise on a very granular level. The third interview typically consists of a case study interview, something you should already be familiar with as an aspiring consultant. The final interview consists of a “personality interview,” an adaptation of the “behavioral interview,” in which the company tries to determine whether you would fit into the AFS culture. This usually means testing for such traits as teamwork and leadership.
AFS Interview Differences
The primary difference in the hiring process between Accenture Strategy at large and Accenture Federal Services is that AFS—like any government agency or government-hired contractor—conducts a much more rigorous background check than any company that operates solely in the private sphere. Many qualified applicants report being eliminated early in the hiring process for seeming trivialities in their background that other companies didn’t catch or were happy to overlook.
In addition, because of the nature of the work that Accenture Federal Services does, some positions are only open to US citizens. Have a security clearance from previous military or government experience? That’s also relevant for an AFS application.
Accenture Federal Services Internship
It does not appear that Accenture offers a specific Accenture Federal Services internship. However, Accenture’s general internship program is big enough to have a highly diverse array of experiences within it. If you’re interested in a career with AFS down the line, an Accenture internship will be a helpful experience.
Accenture Federal Services Careers
Accenture Federal Services Salary
The compensation for working at Accenture Federal Services is quite generous, though salaries are not quite as exorbitant for Accenture Federal Services jobs as they are for the commercial-focused Accenture Strategy. The average AFS salary is $83,000 per year.
Career Path / Promotion Cycles
The career path for Accenture Federal Services careers is similar to the rest of Accenture Strategy, with equivalent titles and an equivalent up-or-out promotion cycle. Most new hires are brought on under the title of Analyst. From there the hierarchy rises to Senior Analyst, Consultant, Associate Manager, Manager, Senior Manager, and Director.
Working with AFS does not offer the same exit opportunities as working with Accenture Strategy or any of the MBB firms. However, it does give you the potential to transition to other federal strategy agencies, to (some) commercial consulting firms, or to an MBA program. Whether fair or not, governmental consulting has a slight stigma attached to it—it is less lucrative and usually less dynamic than commercial consulting. However, there is no real shortage of movement between the government & commercial spaces. And the quality of your exit opportunities depends on the story you make out of your experience.
Most aspiring consultants are drawn to the opportunity to work with globally significant companies and to help shape the future. And yet, many overlook governmental consulting and its potential for helping positively shape the future. Accenture Federal Strategy brings all the resources and innovation of a global commercial consulting firm to work hands-on with government agencies. If you want to help shape & implement the governing policies that will impact our shared future, Accenture Federal Services could be the place for you.
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