Why You Must Engage a Consultant
What is consulting and who is a Consultant?
According to Block (2011), He said, anyone in a staff or support roles in firms are really consultants, even though, they don’t formally call themselves consultants. He continued by saying that, support staffs take action in any establishment by assisting, planning, advising or recommending in such matters like; Financial analysis, Auditing, Systems analysis, Design, Long-range planning, organizational effectiveness, Human resources or Personnel, Training and development etc.
Consulting involves engaging in the business of giving expert advice to people working in a specific field. it deals with providing professional or expert advice on a particular subject matter to people that are not familiar to that subject matter or want to go into the business relating to that subject matter.
Consulting deals with providing of proficient knowledge to a third party for a price tag (fee), for example, when an emerging company want to go into a particular business they are not familiar with before, they have to pay for consulting, so they can be exposed to what the business entails.
A person that carried out consulting duties is called a Consultant. A consultant tends to be a professional that provides expert advice in a particular area which can be; management, law, engineering, science, security, public relations, education etc. He has a wide knowledge of the subject matter and most times, they are often given a name that suits what they are well versatile on. E.g. Doctor (who can be a medical consultant), Auditor (who can be a Financial consultant) etc. A Consultant can either be an internal consultant or external consultant.
- External Consultant: External consultant is employed externally to relate with the client and his expertise is provided on a temporary basis for a price tag. External consultant normally has their own office and has at least two (2) employees working with them. External Consultant deals with multiple and changing clients which are always governments, companies or not-for-profit making organizations.
- Internal Consultant: This type of consultant operates within the organization and they are always available for consultation based on their area of specialization by various departments or individuals in their organization.
Consultants give advice to their clients in a various ways; which can be either reports or presentations. A consultants most times develop software or other products for their client and this always depend on the nature of the client’s business or what the client’s wishes to use. Most times, consultant made their advice public or confidential based on the agreement made between them and their clients.
2.0 Why you need to engage a Consultant
Consultation is mostly used to describe any work someone take with an administration of which you are not part of. Every time you give suggestions to another person who is in a place to decided, then, you are consulting. For you to be referred to as a consultant, you must have at least bachelor’s degree with a major in business, accounting, finance, management or finance etc. Apart from those course mentioned, you must possess various skills like; Good Communication skill, Interpersonal Skill, technical skill and consulting skills.
There comes a particular time in the evolution and growth of every business when some important decisions have to be made on how to move the company forward. The organization might have built a solid foundation for their business and now it is right time for them to restructure their processes or ponder on hiring Consulting Executives and this executives will have to be those who are expertise in that path of business. In this type of scenario, the type of consultant needed` is a Strategic consultant; A strategic consultant are experts that specialize in assisting companies to discover their most pressing questions. They work closely with the management and executive team to appraise the current status of the business and its marketplace so as to improve strategies for growth, establish workable goals and strategies for their attainment while streamlining the company’s systems to accommodate the growth that is coming along with those strategies.
Some of the benefits of engaging a consultant will be explained below:-
- A consultant employs diplomatic but provocative approach when consulting for a A consultant provides leadership and as well manages so many personalities by forming a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect within the organization. Consultant does this, so as to avoid conflict in the organization while asking the staff of the organization some challenging questions that will help him in carrying out his consultancy job.
- Investment in a consultant is an important decision which helps in growing business. A consultant has a clear and unbiased perspective. They introduce creativity and originality into the business and most times, they tends to think out of the box in ensuring that a solution is been given to the problems confronting the business/company.
- When a company engages a consultant, they are actually bringing in someone that can contribute fresh and new ideas to how things are done in their entity. A solid consultant should have the ability to initiate a new perspective and formed new ideas that the company haven’t already been considering for their business.
- The major role a consultant play in an organization is to help them get results that their staff is not likely to get without external support. A consultant tends to have a clear view of their own role in the company, including when they will be involved in the company, so as to set the right goals before their set-time elapsed.
Apart from the benefits in engaging a consultant, the various skills possess by a consultants are among those reasons why a consultant is need in an emerging business, an existing business or companies that is folding up. Some of the skills are:-
Interpersonal skills: –
When it comes to working with people, interpersonal skills are needed, like, listening, encouraging, not agreeing rationally, maintaining a relationship This made it possible for a consultant to change how staff think, how they reason and why they have to see a particular issue from their (Consultant) own point of view.
A consultant always tends to know what the client is talking about. They have the skills of understanding questions because they have gone through training and has solid experience on everything they are consulting for.
This type of skills encompasses a lot of phases and a skilful consulting is been competent when a framed set of five stages are been executed. The stages are:- Entry and contracting stage, Discovery and dialogue stage, analysis and the decision to function stage, involvement and implementation and extension stage., recycle or finalization stages.
A consultant is someone that has the skill and capacity to work while making use of the five important skills in consulting skill.
These stages are the major reasons why a consultant is been needed. These stages can only be handled very well by a consultant and not just anyone
These stages are: Entry and Contracting stage, Discovery and Dialogue stage, Analysis and the Decision to function stage, Involvement and implementation stage and Extension, recycle or finalization stage.
Taking those stages one after the other, I will be explaining the meaning and why there is need for a consultant to handle them.
- Entry and Contracting stage: This is the first stage of consulting, it involve meeting with a client about a particular project or business by the way of having a meeting with them (The client). During the meeting, the client will know the consultant’s expectations and the consultant will also know the client expectations. Here, the client will explain what and what he wants the consultant to do for him and what he wants to actually be the end means.
- Discovery and Dialogue Stage: At this stage, the client and consultant reason together; the consultant might be ask to come up with his own sense of reasoning so as to achieve the aims of consulting him. At this stage, the consultant will tell the client how he intends to do the work, the ways he will use to do it, who is going to join him (the consultant) in doing the job, the type of information that will be required ( is it grapevine or direct enquiry etc). At this stage, the best way of doing the job is discovered and a go-ahead notice is given to the consultants to start the consulting fully.
- Analysis and the decision to function: At this stage, all the information gathered by the consultant in relation to the project are been analyzed; and in analyzing them, the consultant must have reduced the information excess to minimum useful level. The consultant can also decide to involve the client in the information gathering process and also in the process of analyzing the data. For example, if a company wants to know how they can surpass their major competitor in their industry, they can engage a consultant to help them make enquiry on how the competitor ends up been at the top of the industry and while engaging the helping hand of a consultant, they will also ask the consultant to work with one of their senior staff, so that, at the end of the job, the senior staff will be so versatile with what the consultant discovered. And that is why this stage is referred to as analysis and the decision to function; in as much that some of the client senior staff is involve in this project, then they have make the decision for the project to function from the beginning. This stage can also be called planning stage because it involves setting targets for the project and choosing the best function steps or changes they want.
- Involvement and Implementation: This stage is very important in consulting job, it involves implementing the strategies and way forward discovered all through the first three stages. Most times, the implementation could bring about having several meetings with the clients to make some changes or pin point what and what is needed from the client side so as to arrive at the best result. This could also involve, training the whole staff or some of the staff of the client on what they are lacking which they need for the company to grow and flourish. We will get to know that, it’s only a consultant that can quickly identify these lapses and recommended it for the client. This stage can be so complicated and might involve different style of work by the consultants.
- Extension, Recycle or finalization stage: At this stage, the consultant either extends the period of consultation by the consultant, or recycles (that is, reprocess it) or finalized it. A client will extend the period of consultation when he see that, the aim of the consulting have not been achieved. And he may also reprocess the consulting work, this involves, going back to drawing board and reprocess how the consulting job is to be done. An extension may also occur when the client demands for it. Likewise, finalization is made when the aim of the consulting has been achieved and both the client and consultant have reached a certifiable stage. Note that, it is not until after some implementation appears that an obvious bigger fraction of the entity confirms the eligibility of the work done by the consultant.
Many companies fidget with the decision of engaging a consultant or not. Some senior management staff of an organization often felt that such a decision implies that they are not inadequate in running the affairs of the company and maybe endangered by the expert of the consultants; but in a real sense this is not suppose to be so.
As a common saying that goes thus “experience is a best teacher”, what makes a consultant best for a particular field of study is the experienced he or she has gathered over time. As a senior manager in an organization, you might only be exposed to only things that concerned your career or probably your present office, but a consultant is exposed to so many issues surrounding a particular field of study or even beyond his own personal field of study. Consultants come to an entity with fresh eyes, they tends to see what a manager has not seen happening in his or her organization for a long years; having fresh eyes help them to spot the true issues holding companies back relatively.
Finally, a consultant comes into a company with a mindset of accomplishing a lot of goals within a short period of time. When a professional consultant is brought into an entity, substantial time and money that would be involved in retraining employees, organizing and prioritizing their schedules and executing the strategy are been saved. Likewise, a consultant tends to introduce new skill of how things are done to employee of an organization. One of the major parts of consultants is to be updating themselves with current business trends, strategies and methodologies and they must be able to explain these new trends, strategies and methodologies to their clients when needed.
About the Writer
Olusipe Abiodun Yinka is an Audit Associate in Bulls Capital Limited. He has a National Diploma in Accounting from Abraham Adesanya Polytechnic, Ijebu-Igbo, Ogun State; as well as a Degree in Accounting from Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ebonyi State. He is a creative copywriter and a Trendsetter. Apart from writing, Olusipe is also an entertainer.
In case you need our service in relation to this post, please call 08023200801, 08075765799, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you may complete our request for proposal form hereunder.