Although you may never see or recognize them, consultants work in most industries. From the mall you visit every week to government organizations and educational institutions, consultants evaluate customer satisfaction and marketing campaign success to improve brand engagement and performance of companies around the world.
This gives people with different passions, skills and strengths the opportunity to become part of the consulting industry.
Looking at the different types of advisory roles available, there are five typical categories: strategic advisory, operational advisory, financial advisory, IT advisory, and recruiting.
If you are thinking of getting into the consulting business and want to know which types are best for you – let us help you sort it out.
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Strategy consultants work on a company’s long-term goals and the bigger picture. You will identify ways to increase profitability and competitiveness, and ways to implement them cost-effectively while tracking results and profits.
McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), are among the best-known strategy-oriented consulting firms.
Example: Despite decades of doing business, an adult sleepwear and fitness apparel retailer notices more competition and this hurts its bottom line. The dealer employs a strategy consultant who examines the company’s marketing and sales strategy in comparison to the competition. The consultant finds that sleepwear and fitness wear for young people is not a major focus of the competitors and creates a plan to expand the retailer’s products in this segment.
If “systems” and processes are your thing, then Operations Consulting could be right for you. They evaluate the operation from the perspective of production, sales, distribution and customer service. They will aim to streamline processes to reduce costs, time, and the staff involved, while at the same time ensuring that the customer meets or improves their goals.
Strategy consulting and operational consulting are closely linked. As mentioned earlier, strategy consultants focus on the big picture, while operations consultants focus on what’s going on behind the scenes. Because the two types of advice are so closely related, you will find that many of the big leading companies specialize in both services.
Example: A business consultant could work with the retail customer to lower their production costs, which ultimately allows the customer to sell products at a cheaper price, which makes them more competitive.
Financial advisors evaluate a client’s financial details and records and then find a way to improve the company’s financial health.
This can be a look at wage and marketing expenses, taxes, business expenses and investments, and insurance.
This type of advice would best suit someone with a degree in finance or accounting.
Example: A retail customer has expanded their business around the world but has a financial advisor to help them better understand the markets they entered and the various tax laws they must operate in.
Information technology consulting (IT consulting)
An IT consultant helps a company get the most out of technology. A consultant can identify opportunities to change or upgrade equipment and software programs, or develop custom software for a specific need. The demand for IT consultants is increasing due to threats to business such as hacking and security breaches that can compromise important information of a company and that of its customers.
IT consulting work can also be referred to as tech consulting, IT advisory, business technology services or IT consulting.
Well-known companies that offer IT consulting are Accenture, Capgemini and IR.
For example, an IT consultant could develop an app that allows retail workers to make sales remotely on the floor without a customer queuing or standing at a sales counter. The consultant would design the app, manage its roll-out along with staff training, and fix issues.
Personnel consulting (personnel consulting)
Recruiters handle matters related to company hiring, employee relationships, and health and safety in the workplace.
You will work with clients from the start of hiring new employees to managing job descriptions and employee expectations. They create systems to support employees during and outside working hours and ensure remuneration. They are expected to maintain the culture of a company and to provide advice on expansions, consolidations or mergers.
Example: A retail customer who opens stores that sell sleepwear and sportswear for teenagers needs a recruiter to help them expand and recruit leadership roles.
Where to from here?
The five most important types of counseling have specific skills and qualities. Be sure of where your interests and experience fit, but make sure you choose a trail that you know you will enjoy.
Another thing to consider for all types of advisors is getting professional indemnity insurance, which is very important as all of these advisors provide a lot of services and advice to their clients. If a client alleges negligent act, error, or omission and tries to sue the company, professional indemnity insurance can help keep the advisors financially secure.