Knowledge is power, as the saying goes. And in the age of information, any businesses, nonprofits, government agencies, or other organizations that do not have as much knowledge as possible of their individual lines of work are at a distinct disadvantage. They risk suffering financial losses, poorly performing workers and departments, and failing to meet their goals. Consultants are professionals who provide expertise to organizations to help them maximize their profitability or effectiveness and keep them running smoothly. Basically they are “problem-solvers for hire.”
The roots of modern consulting began in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when the first consulting businesses established in the United States studied manufacturing in an attempt to improve workplace productivity. Many companies began hiring consulting firms to help improve worker and production efficiency. Since then, the need for services has grown with the population and the expansion of business on an international scale, while the types of services provided have evolved with the economy.
There are four major types of consulting:
- Management/strategy consulting firms help to improve an organization’s structure, management, efficiency, and profits, and plan strategies for short- and long-term development. According to the Institute of Management Consultants USA, common management consulting specialties include administration, financial planning and control, human resources management and labor relations, incentive compensation, information technology, manufacturing, organizational planning and development, physical distribution, research and development, sales and marketing, strategic and business planning, and wage and salary administration.
- Financial consulting firms provide advice on financial issues such as capital budgeting, project valuation, financial information integrity, profit-and-loss reporting, risk management and insurance engagements, ...