Most people probably don’t have the time to look into, or think about the history behind the services that they use daily, a great example is that of consulting, or consultancy. Many businesses make use of consultants for a wide range of services, they usually employ a consultant for advice about complex areas of business, or law that, if not managed properly, could be extremely detrimental in terms of reputation and that of financial penalties. The most common definition for the term consultant, is “a person who provides expert advice, professionally’, they could even, be a volunteer;
Consultancy, what exactly does it mean?
The term ‘constituency’ refers to the process, or an act that takes place when a consultant is hired for the purpose of providing professional advice regarding something that is of vital importance, and, or value to the business that needs the consultant’s advice. Sometimes, a business will hire a consultant because they want to, however in some circumstances, they may be required to seek the services of a consultant, as a ‘tick box’ exercise, especially when it comes to the law and regulations.
The world of consultancy is a big one at that, because different business sectors will be regulated differently, some more so than others. As such, you’ll find consultants that specialise in specific areas of consultancy although they can give general advice as well. For a business, the most valuable areas in that they hire consultants for are;
- IT consultancy – Probably the biggest area of consultancy because tech is ever changing and, more vital day by day however, most people use IT Consulting because, they are not ‘whizz kids’ when it comes to IT and how it all works
- Business – Such a broad term, although this usually refers to overall business practices that a company owner may wish to get a professional, second opinion about.
- Environmental – A growing area of constancy as the world becomes more and more littered, businesses are required to adhere to some strict rules and regulations. Having a second set of eyes can make all the difference.
- Software – Kind of comes hand in hand with IT consultancy although IT is normally a broad term that refers to the actual hardware rather than the software which is used to operate the hardware
- Sales – The world of sales is a minefield especially in eCommerce, it didn’t used to be that way, but then sales people could quite literally walk around saying whatever they want in order to get a sale.
- Strategy Consulting – Many business owners aren’t strategically minded and, even if they were, having the professional help of somebody that isn’t ‘attached’ to the business in an emotional or financial sense can sometimes be needed. It’s a lot easier for a consultant to ‘think outside the box’ providing suggestions and advice that might not otherwise have been considered.
- Financial Advisory – Most businesses will use the services of a financial consultant for general business finance matter, they may also employ the services of somebody like an IFA (Independent Financial Advisor)
- Human Resources – People can be tricky to deal with, so when it comes to human resources, it’s pretty common for a business to use consultancy services in order to make sure they get everything right when hiring, or firing somebody.
- Risk & Compliance – Each market sector will be assessed differently but, as a general rule of thumb, all businesses take a certain level of risk when trading and must comply with certain regulations. Employing a risk and compliance consultant can highlight any areas that the business needs to alter, or start doing.
As a business owner, you’ve probably already noticed that some of the above services are not compulsory, a business can operate without some of them and, by law, they would be perfectly entitled to do so. However, if the business trades, or uses any of the above departmental services, then it is strongly advised that a consultant is used.