By: Camille G. Mason, Sr. Assistant Director
In order to understand what a consultant does, you have to understand that different consultant specialties solve different problems. The four popular specialties are strategy, financial, information technology, and human capital (HR) consulting.
In a nutshell, strategy consultants solve organizational issues. Many consultants need education in several key areas: management, strategy, operations, logistics, mergers and acquisitions, manufacturing and government relations among many others.
Typical strategy consulting projects include:
- Determining a new strategic direction for a company interested in growth
- Analyzing why a company id losing market share to a competitor
- Revitalizing a well-established company/brand and relaunching it on a global scale
- Streamlining the raw materials purchasing process of a major consumer goods manufacturer
Financial consultants provide advice on several issues such as capital budgeting, corporate restructuring, financial control, capital budgeting, corporate restructuring, profit-and-loss reporting and risk management.
Typical financial consulting projects include:
- Assisting companies with capital budgeting, financial statement preparation, and project valuation
- Applying an individualized financial model to improve a company’s earnings or profits
- Helping a client remain in compliance with tax regulations
- Assessing the implications of a proposed merger between two large accounting firms
Information Technology Consulting
IT consultants need additional skills in technology in order to be considered for this sector. In general, IT consultants need knowledge in computer and telecommunications hardware and software, cloud computing, and data-mining skills.
Typical IT consulting projects include:
- Creating a future growth plan for an online retailer with a need for increased capacity
- Implementing strategies to protect an IT system from hacking and fraudulent transactions
- Helping a healthcare system transition from hard-copy records to a digital record-keeping system
- Transitioning a company from one IT system to another
Human Capitol/Human Resource Consulting
Before any company can make changes, human capital is always considered. This is especially true for larger companies. HR consultants will help in that development of a recruiting plan, hiring new employees, and training existing staff, and maximizing the skills of employees to achieve the organization’s goals.
Typical project for HR consultants include:
- handling recruiting and hiring for a particular project
- creating job descriptions for a company creating a new department in any industry
- developing employee skill-sets by creating efficient training programs
- assisting with layoff procedures, including counseling laid-off employees and assisting them in job searching