You might be wondering, “How could ObamaCare possibly get any worse?”
Good question. After giving a $600 million no-bid contract to an incompetent Canadian company with a terrible track record whose top executive was a pal of Michelle Obama, they’ve decided to get serious and go with a company with a perfect track record.
That sounds safely bland. Like a brand of detergent. Or a website that sells imported French pants. Accenture could be anything at all.
Accenture is a multinational management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Incorporated headquarters are in Dublin, Republic of Ireland while operations headquarters are in Chicago, Illinois.
A Chicago company with an Irish address to dodge taxes. That’s regrettable, but not too surprising. But did this Accenture place happen to have another name? A more familiar name.
Accenture began as the business and technology consulting division of accounting firm Arthur Andersen. On January 1, 2001 Andersen Consulting adopted its current name, “Accenture”.
Arthur Andersen? Wait that sounds oddly familiar.
Te U.S. Justice Department today announced the indictment of embattled accounting firm Arthur Andersen on one count of obstruction of justice relating to the collapse of former energy giant Enron Corp.
The obstruction charge is based on claims that Andersen employees shredded important documents about Enron’s finances, even though they knew the Securities and Exchange Commission was formally looking into Enron. The Justice Department also alleges Andersen employees deleted relevant computer files.
Andersen served as Enron’s sole auditor throughout the energy giant’s sixteen years, also performing internal audits and consulting services.
Andersen has recently been involved in several other major auditing scandals. Last year, the SEC fined the firm $7 million for ‘improper professional conduct’, including overstating client Waste Management’s earnings by $1.4 billion. It was the first successful case against an auditor in over 20 years. In May 2001, Anderson also paid $110 million to Sunbeam shareholders to settle lawsuits stemming from its inflated earnings statements.
Andersen and Enron both had deep ties to the Democratic Party and Accenture spends a lot of money on lobbying. The top recipient for Accenture donations is an obscure Chicago politician named Barack Obama.
“The Washington Post reported on Friday that Accenture will get a year-long contract worth about $90 million for the ObamaCare website.”
But at least Accenture doesn’t have a history of failure working with national health care systems.
Accenture has pulled out of the £12.4bn NHS IT programme and terminated the £2bn-worth of contracts it was working on to deliver new patient and GP systems.
Accenture warned in its financial results earlier this year it expected to take a $450m hit on its NHS IT contracts over the next three to four years because of delays that led it to miss the deadlines for delivering working systems.
One NHS IT director in the North East region, who did not wish to be named, told silicon.com there is a mood of “anger” within the NHS at the lack of progress.
The IT director said: “Accenture have done absolutely nothing in the North East and for the past nine to 12 months they have been invisible. They have been here for nearly three years and they have done nothing, yet it has put planning blight on any progress that was being made before.
So this should go well now that Obama has brought on board a Chicago company whose name in professional circles is Accidenture.
Update: Accenture’s Senior Director of Corporate Communications James McAvoy has sent the following corrections along
Accenture is not “a Chicago company with an Irish address to dodge taxes”. Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 281,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Accenture is incorporated in Ireland, to reflect its global business across Europe, Asia and the Americas. Accenture pays tax in accordance with the tax legislation in each country in which it operates. Accenture pays, and has always paid, U.S. tax on income generated by its U.S. operation.
Accenture was never “the business and technology consulting division” Arthur Andersen.” From its establishment in 1989, until its incorporation in 2001, Accenture was a separate legal entity and operated independently from Andersen Worldwide. As you’ll see in the following link, the Huffington Post made a similar error to you on this issue, but corrected it after fact-checking.
Accenture does not “spend a lot of money on lobbying”. Accenture has a policy banning corporate contributions to political parties or candidates. The Accenture employees’ political action committee contributes to Federal candidates who represent areas where our people live and work, and to candidates who share our interest in issues that affect our company, our industry and our people. The Accenture PAC did not contribute to Obama’s Senate campaign in 2004 or his leadership PAC – the HopeFund – once he was in the Senate. Also, the Accenture PAC did not contribute to the 2008 or 2012 Presidential campaign. The figures in your graph refer only to individual contributions may by our employees. All political, lobbying and civic activity by the company and its employees comply with applicable law and Accenture’s Code of Business Ethics.
In response, I note that,
1. The taxes being referred to are not on US operations. The issue has been amply summarized elsewhere.
2. Accenture began life that way, though it eventually split from Arthur Andersen to become Andersen Consulting, but remained part of Andersen Worldwide until later than the period under discussion.
3. Open Secrets lists a number of lobbying firms hired by Accenture