Can Consultants Serve Two Masters?

The ones that go public have to worry about earnings and stock prices, say critics, who insist that partnerships are still the best model

For PricewaterhouseCoopers it was a sharp about-face. Before announcing on July 30 that it would sell its consulting arm to IBM for $3.5 billion, the firm was well down the road to an initial public offering. Over the past few years, in a bid to build their businesses and separate themselves from conflicted audit partners, many of PwC Consulting's rivals have gone public -- including Accenture, formerly Andersen Consulting, and KPMG Consulting.

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