We had a strong foundation for our MBO. Many of us were working together at the European arm of the former BearingPoint Inc, which itself had deep roots in big professional services firms, primarily Arthur Andersen and KPMG.
These roots in consulting’s major players have added to our strengths and distinctive character. We were a newly independent firm with a long history and understanding of how to deliver quality, serve clients and operate efficiently. Between us we had a deep pool of diverse experience and expertise, a real understanding of what to do and what not to do to succeed.
In essence, we were an established start-up. From day one we have been able to draw on this great heritage in consulting – taking the best with us forward on our journey of excellence.
“We came up through what’s now referred to as ‘the big four’ professional accounting firms, predominantly Arthur Andersen and KPMG. Those firms were very heavy on ethics and values, very fact-focused. It was also a very international environment. I remember, myself, growing up through my early Arthur Andersen years. As you joined the firm, you were just so immensely impressed by the fact that we were all whipped off to foreign locations, training centers, and met people from all over the world. I still remember entering the training center outside Chicago. There was a big globe, and you came into a massive reception with 110 flags waving at you.
It was just extremely professional, and it was also very much focused on client first and foremost, to serve and add value for clients.”
Our roots go back over 100 years to the early days of two big names in professional services: Arthur Andersen and KPMG.
In 1913 Arthur Andersen started his own accounting firm in Chicago. Over the decades that followed, Arthur Andersen grew not only its accounting business but also, from the 1970s onwards, its consulting services. By the early 1990s, Arthur Andersen was the largest management consulting firm in the world.
In parallel, KPMG was developing its consulting business. In 2000 KPMG spun off some of its consulting units as KPMG Consulting Inc and in 2001 KPMG Consulting Inc went public on the NASDAQ. The company began a rapid global expansion – acquiring a majority of Arthur Andersen’s business consulting practices in 2002. The same year, the company changed its name to BearingPoint Inc and moved onto the NYSE.
Rapid growth continued but ultimately ended in financial difficulties culminating in BearingPoint Inc filing for Chapter 11 for their US operations in 2009. This tough time nevertheless created a decisive moment for the European leaders in the firm – the moment they seized to execute the MBO and create the independent BearingPoint partnership we are proud to be part of today.
“We collected best practice from different experiences we had in the firm. We had people coming from different consultancies. We had the whole experience to build on.
So we had a good level of operational excellence, and that’s something you need in consulting. It can make a big difference to the bottom line. You have to be extremely careful in the way you run the firm and learning how to do that is not a two-weeks exercise.
We started from a strong point in terms of mindset and I believe that helped us. We were not starting with the mentality of a garage firm – we knew that operational excellence was something we needed and we were already living it.”
“We have a legacy in BearingPoint. I would say that one of the strengths is that we always have been business consultants, at the interface of management and technology. We work from strategy through to execution, including IT. Clients really like to award us as partners because we understand the strategic challenges and also their company from a broad perspective, but we’re also extremely good to go from advice to support. We actually support the client in making it happen. We have a get-it-done culture that is highly appreciated. We are easy to work with – we roll up the sleeves and get things done. And of course we give strategic advice with integrity, so we implement good things not bad things.
The heart of what we do is to implement changes to get results. And the connection points are both with strategy and technology.”
“BearingPoint has really in-depth knowledge on how to make complex materials comprehensible and structured, and translate it into a strategy.”
Jan Hendrik Fleury,