Accenture is a leading professional services company specialising in strategy, consulting, digital, technology, and operations.

The organisation offers specialised talent to more than 40 industries and has offices in 120 countries including a North West Hub based here in Manchester.

Accenture has several high-profile clients including Amazon, Dell, and Microsoft.

We caught up with Andrew Finlayson, North West lead at Accenture, to find out about his role and Accenture’s recent involvement in the Innovate Manchester challenge.

Andrew Finlayson Accenture

Andrew, what does your role as North West lead at Accenture entail?

As North West lead, I specialise in facilitating cross-functional collaboration and have fully immersed myself in the understanding of emerging trends in digital experiences. I’m an advocate for ventures & acquisitions, sustainability, events, training, and performance, bringing to life the unlimited potential of imagination, technology, and intelligence.

I’m also dedicated to developing up-and-coming talent in the North West. Each year, I attend and support over 50 events that go beyond my involvement with Accenture, as well as being an executive coach for a number of tech client leaders. There is a community of entrepreneurs in the North West that are yet to be unlocked, so I try to encourage and inspire the young starters, entrepreneurs, and leaders of the future. I devote a day each week to helping young people take chances and grasp opportunities.

Beyond this, I work alongside many social value initiatives and I’m highly involved in helping the North West regional talent that is underserved, from lower socio-economic backgrounds and those with physical and mental disabilities. Working with charities which specialise in using technology to enrich the lives of those with a disability, I utilise Accenture’s skills and position of influence to support the local community.


Accenture relocated their North West hub to Circle Square in 2020. What sort of activity takes place here and what was the motivation behind the move?

Regarding the motivation behind the move, to put it simply, there were two interlinked motivations for us to make the move. One was that we are committed to contributing to regional prosperity around the UK, and the North West is at the heart of our growth plans. It has a thriving business sector and felt a natural fit for us. Beyond this, we felt that the best way to serve our clients, both in the region and beyond, was to have a central hub in the North West.

In terms of the activity that takes place, our Circle Square presence supports activity in three areas.

The first and primary is to provide our teams with the space to collaborate within a place that is accessible, culturally significant, and welcoming.

The second is to connect with community groups, business groups and special interest communities – seen day to day when we open our hub to support initiatives driven within the region.

Third is to support skills improvement and education through delivery of courses, modules or working groups to ensure our talent in the North West continue to lead in their respective fields. We run apprenticeship programmes and other Early talent programmes and feel that the hub is ideal for their needs.


How is your location ideal for the nature of your work and what makes Manchester a good place to live and work?

The hub will allow us to better serve clients both locally, in the North West, and across the UK.

We see amazing potential in the region and the hub will have a particular focus on driving innovation in the financial services and digital manufacturing sectors.

We enjoy strong, productive relationships with both the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Manchester Metropolitan University and we believe having a hub in the city can only help these relationships grow.


Recently, Accenture took part in the Innovate Manchester challenge. Why did you decide to take part in an initiative like this?

Innovate Manchester offers SMEs an opportunity to work collaboratively with ourselves and develop their skills alongside us. We are constantly seeking ways in which we can adapt and strengthen our own sense of community at Accenture, which is why we launched the challenge in partnership with Innovate Manchester, to tap into the talent of the local community, allow SMEs to help us and vice versa.


What challenge did Accenture present to the SMEs to provide solutions for?

Over the last few years, our ways of working have been transformed and navigating this shift to hybrid working has presented a challenge, not just for Accenture, but for many businesses. We believe we can solve this challenge by harnessing the power of North West SMEs, that’s why we set out to hear from SMEs with pioneering and creative ideas for ways we can implement gaming techniques, automation and leading UX to increase employee interaction and engagement across our geographically diverse project teams.


The workshops provide great exposure for SMEs. What would make an SME stand out to you? 

As well as sharing their thoughts with us, SMEs must be open to collaboration in order to really stand out. We’re also looking for those with significant expertise in team engagement and online platform development to bring people together. They need a passion for their expertise and to really make the most of their talents – highlighting how we can translate this to our community and benefit our people.


Finally, what should we look out for next from Accenture? 

Accenture are continuously publishing thought leadership and research pieces and we are meeting frequently to review how we can target these to benefit the North West.

We have leading perspectives on Generative AI, Technology Trends and how businesses Transform to meet the needs of tomorrow – and we are looking to get these shared at local events and with clients we have in the region. If anyone is looking for speakers at their events and want to cover the latest trends in Technology, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.