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Ernst & Young, like any of the Big Four or large professional services firm, is composed of a series of “practices” or unique groups of resources, ranging from a handful of people to several hundred, which tout similar subject matter experience.
These practices are then lumped into larger organizational categories that support the firm’s overarching strategic vision. Here’s an example which should clarify things for you a bit: I’m part of the “Program Advisory Services” practice, or PAS for short.
You might be thinking at this point, “Which group is right for me, Assurance or Advisory?
” Well, they are significantly different from one another.
These “service lines” then roll into four major divisions which are: Assurance, Transaction, Tax and Advisory. The new regulation will have a significant impact on these companies for obvious reasons.
It may be a “bad luck” scenario for companies, but it could be a “big opportunity” for their professional advisors.
As advisors to industry, we provide a valuable benefit, since large businesses are regularly confronted with a bevy of challenges that range from the commonplace, such as not having the internal subject matter experience needed in order to execute upon critical initiatives, to the less mundane, such as perhaps a regulatory mandate to leverage independent third-party consultation.
The list in-between these two examples are vast to be sure and vary greatly in complexity.
Firms as you might expect are structured in such a way as to meet client demand.
This event could provide the foundation for a “business case” to create a new practice in order to address this potential need of the future.
Once the business case is formally presented and a firm commits to the investment…Recruit, train, sell and bam! This exemplifies why professional services firms cannot have a flat or rigid hierarchy.
Now, imagine twenty (random number) other practices such as PAS which falls under the RAS umbrella. Now once again try to imagine ten or so other service lines like RAS with once again a bunch of sub-service lines such as PAS. New practices form and old practices consolidate just about every year. Here’s an example: Imagine for a moment that a new regulation to govern “Wall Street” firms is passed and will be enforced in one year’s time.
These groupings also vary from country to country and region to region depending on client demand in that particular geography. This is a possible scenario, I might add, given today’s market conditions.