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September 30, 2023

We Finally Found a Service That a Big 4 Firm Won’t Provide

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One thing we talk about around here from time to time is the fact that Big 4 firms want to be the proverbial Walmart of professional services. If you’re a business and you need a service, you can pick one firm and they’ll do pretty much anything and everything. If you’re an important enough client, they may even make something up just for you (see: General Electric). The exception, of course, is assurance services which have those pesky independence rules. So pick one firm to be your auditor and then give the rest of your work to another firm. Simple!

One area where mega firms have made some noise is creative aka digital services. This is essentially an advertising agency within an accounting firm that does design, development and user experience and a slew of other things that a typical accounting firm has no business doing. Big 4 firms, however, have money to burn so they can throw some money at a boutique agency if they feel like it and presto they offer that creative service now.

However! It seems that we’ve found a limit to at least one Big 4 firm’s ambition when it comes to digital services. PwC Digital is not interested in doing your media buys:

[O]ne thing PwC Digital Services doesn’t have an interest in building is its own agency trading desk to run programmatic campaigns for clients.

“Media buying is not the most complex marketing problem that our clients want to solve,” said John Swadener, chief operations officer for PwC Digital Services. “We are working with clients on in-house media, but we don’t want to — and will not — get into media buying.”

Okay, so PwC won’t do that, but they will help you spend a gazillion dollars building your own:

[I]f a software company wants to move programmatic in house, Swadener’s team will help the brand figure out how many people it needs to hire in order to manage the new processing, how to structure the teams, the proper technology platforms and how to implement the technology.

Always ready to serve.


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