The financial consulting industry is one of the main subspecialties of management consulting and includes a variety of types of firms.
Large national or multinational management consulting firms are the most prestigious firms that consistently generate high revenue. The “Big 3” consulting firms—McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group, and Bain & Company—have sub-practices in financial consulting. Many large consulting firms have offices throughout the United States, and top firms also have offices worldwide. A large number of aspiring consultants, analysts, and people in other professions seek to work at these firms, but competition is strong for these positions.
Large professional-services firms (which were known as accounting firms in the past) are also major providers of financial consulting services. The “Big Four” accounting firms are Deloitte, EY, PwC, and KPMG. In 2021, Vault.com ranked the following financial consulting firms as the best in terms of prestige and a good work environment. Note that both traditional management consulting firms and professional-services firms are featured on the list.
Boutique consulting firms specialize in financial consulting or a specialty in the field such as financial reporting, tax advisory, regulatory compliance, or mergers and acquisitions. Others focus on a smaller number of industries (retail, biotechnology, health care, etc.). Some people think that a boutique firm can only be a small firm, but these firms are classified as “boutique” because of their specialized focus. A boutique firm can be helmed by a solo practitioner, consist of a small group of 10 or 20 consultants and support staff, or be a large 1,000-employee firm.
Internal corporate consulting divisions of large businesses employ a large number of financial consultants. The use of this consulting model (rather than hiring outside consultants) reduces costs and allows corporations to have a team of experts at the ready who are knowledgeable about the company and its industry.
Solo practitioners provide financial consulting services to corporations and other businesses, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and wealthy individuals or families. Approximately 15 percent of management consultants are self-employed.
Other employers include nonprofit organizations; local, state, and federal government agencies; and wealthy individuals or families.
Firms and solo-practitioners in the financial consulting industry offer services in the following areas: