Wednesday, April 20, 2005

BearingPoint's New Slogan: "We Can't Manage Ourselves But Don't Let That Bother You."

BearingPoint--the troubled consulting/integrating/services company--explains its weird, smells-like-a-consultant-came-up-with-this name, "BearingPoint," as follows:

"The name BearingPoint means setting direction to achieve results."

The problem is, BearingPoint hasn't set much of a direction for itself.

Where do I get off saying this? Well, there are, the company web site brags, 16,000 "professional" BearingPoint employees running around the world, right now, straightening out other companies--integrating them, consultating with them, servicing them.

Meanwhile, the actual BearingPoint management team itself disclosed yesterday in an 8-K filing that:

"On April 19, 2005, our senior management determined that the financial statements ...should not be relied upon because of errors in those financial statements...

"...The Division of Enforcement of the SEC advised the Company that it was conducting an informal investigation. The SEC staff requested that the Company produce various documents, including documents concerning internal control deficiencies...

"...If we were required to repay the 2004 Credit Facility before securing an alternative source of financing, we would have limited remaining cash resources and our ability to operate our business would be materially impaired. In such event, if we are unable to obtain an alternative source of financing, we may be forced to pursue alternative strategies as we will not have sufficient liquidity to operate our business in the ordinary course and remain a going concern..."

In short, BearingPoint is a consulting company that can't manage itself. And it may not remain around as a "going concern."

But it does, however, have a cool name.

Meanwhile, many great companies are out there, creating value for shareholders and employees and retirees and consumers--P&G, Wal-Mart, Nike, to name a few--without feeling the need to explain exactly what their name means, and without internal control deficiencies or going-concern problems.

But then again, those companies aren't consultants to other companies. Imagine how the world might look if BearingPoint itself actually had good management!

Somewhere down the road to corporate integrity, I'd like to see BearingPoint change the description of its name to something more honest:

"The name BearingPoint means we paid millions of dollars to a bunch of name-consultants and that's what they came up with."

I wish I really was making this up.

Jeff Matthews
I Am Not Making This Up

1 comment:

BelowTheCrowd said...

I have taken over several projects in my career that had big five (or six, seven, eight, depending on the exact year) consultants involved.

I have ended up firing just about every one of them.

As somebody wiser than me once said, a consultant is somebody who will steal your watch and then charge you for telling the time.

(Said with some cynicism, as I currently work as a consultant myself, though not in any absurd "big five" or similar context.)