Consultancy is one of the most trending industries amongst Management and Finance students, and while a great portion of these wants to be a part of the elite “problem-solvers” group, I found that most still have some difficulties explaining what the different types of consultancies are and, more importantly, what do they do!
Depending on which author you read, you will find a different division of the consultancies companies, but in the end, they all depend on the type of services that the company provides. It is important to note, however, that some companies do provide more than one type of consultancy.
Ultimately, there are around 4 core categories of consultancy:
Strategy & Management consulting (including Operations and Business Consultancy which sometimes are considered as different categories); Strategy consultancy normally focuses on the direction of the company as a whole, overseeing a variety of topics from government policy to corporate strategy. Some examples of strategy focused consultancy companies are BCG, McKinsey and Bain. Their main objective is to identify what to do, for this reason they normally advise more senior managers and directors when compared to management consultancy, where the focus is usually related to the implementation of said strategy. This type of consultancy is typically attributed to companies like EY, PWC, KPMG and Deloitte.
Financial consulting; This type of advisory tries to help companies tackle a multitude of financial issues from the evaluation of a single company project to providing Risk Management advice and even compliance related topics. Most Strategy&Management companies also provide services in this area, this being said the majority of Financial consultancy projects tends to be done by companies who also provide accounting/auditing projects due to the synergies that the these services can create.
IT consulting; One of the fastest growing types of Consultancy, Information Technology advisory helps companies integrate technology systems in their business model and/or adapt their business model to technology shocks. Mainly related to change periods, this kind of consultancy assists corporations in issues from cyber security to software and hardware implementation. (Accenture, IBM Global Services and Capgemini are good examples of companies in this sector.)
Human Resources consulting; Finally, HR consultancy provides clients with solutions to Human Capital related problems. Unfortunately, there is a bad perception of this type of consultancy projects, as it is highly associated with firm restructuring, nevertheless Human Resources Consultants handle a much more diverse set of issues. From Talent management to diversity incorporation, their job description is much wider than just contract termination. (Good examples of HR focused consultancy companies are Aon Hewitt, Hay Group and Mercer.)
Sources: Vault; Consultancy.uk; Factiva; advisoryhq; Investopedia; Forbes; Bloomberg.