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CONCULTANCY

A consultant is an person who provides professional or expert advice in a particular field of science or business to either an organization or individual. As there is no legal protection given to the job title 'consultant', in theory, anyone can on a day wake up and decide to adopt the consultant title. Despite the broad definition that can be subsumed under the term consultant, there are in essence three characteristics that distinguish a consultant from other professions.

Firstly, a consultant provides expertise that a client lacks or support that a client is unable to fulfill. In return for their professional services, the consultant charges a fee. Secondly, a consultant operates independently from the client, implying that, from the respective consultant, there is no conflict of interests between the client's issue and the services. Thirdly, a consultant operates in a professional manner, which ranges from having the right qualifications to ensuring high quality service delivery and a solid internal operation.

 

Types of consultants

·       Strategy Consultant

The term Strategy Consultant is used to describe consultants who operate at the highest level of the consultancy market, with focus on strategic topics like corporate and organizational strategy, economic policy, government policy and functional strategy. For this reason, strategy consultants generally carry out work assigned by top managers, like CxOs, directors and senior managers. Seeing that the nature of strategy consulting differs from the other more implementation and operational driven areas, strategy consultants generally have a different profile than their peers. Their focus lies more on quantitative/analytics skills, and their job description revolves more around giving advice than overseeing implementation.

·       Management Consultant

Management consultants, in practice also known as business consultants or organizational advisors, are consultants who focus on all sorts of organizational concerns from strategy to a variety of elements within management. For that reason, management consultants form the vast majority in the advisory branch – more than half of all advisors can be defined as a management consultant.

·       Operations Consultant

Operations consultants are consultants who help clients improve the performance of their operations. Consultancy activities in this segment vary from advisory services to hands-on implementation support, for both primary functions (e.g. Sales, Marketing, Production, etc.) as secondary functions (e.g. Finance, HR, Supply Chain, ICT, Legal, etc.). Operations Consultants form the largest segment within the advisory branch, and the majority of consultants are active within one of the many underlying operating areas. Seeing as the operations is often associated with the strategy and technology side of a company, active operations consultants regularly work side by side with experts from these domains.

·       Financial Advisory Consultant

Consultants who operate in the Financial Advisory segment generally work on questions that address financial capabilities, and, in many cases, also the analytical capabilities within an organization. Subsequently, the profiles of consultants active in these segments can differ greatly, from M&A and corporate finance advisors to risk management, tax, restructuring or real estate consultant. Consultants specialized in forensic research and support disputes also fall under the Financial Advisory segment. The majority of financial consultants work for the large combined accounting and consulting firms, or else for niche advisory offices.

·       Human Resource Consultant

HR consultants help clients with human capital questions within their organizations and / or with improving the performance of the HR department. Chief topics central to the job description of HR consultants are, among others, organizational changes, change management, terms of employment, learning & development, talent management and retirement. HR consultants are also brought in by organizations to help transform the business culture within their organization, or transform their HR department, which includes changes in the area of organizational design, processes and systems, among others. HR consulting forms, together with strategy consulting, the two smallest segments of the consultancy industry, and the number of consultants active in this domain is, therefore, lower than those in other parts of the industry.

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