Is your company making the right moves? No matter what your role is at your company—whether you’re an entrepreneur in the second year of running a startup, or a CFO looking for efficiencies in the finance organization—there’s a frequent need to get a fresh, outside perspective. By leaning on the expertise of a business consultant or a business consulting firm, you can get affirmation that you are headed in the right direction, or acquire new ideas about where you should you redirect your efforts.
At times throughout your company’s journey, you will want to learn best practices to understand how your company measures up in certain areas, and gain access to expertise for tough projects or transactions—to get your company over the finish line.
What Is a Business Consultant?
The term business consultant can cover a wide range of roles and expertise that you can tap on an as-needed basis for your company. In general, business consultants thrive off tackling different kinds of projects and challenges—the exact work they do often depends on their level of experience and their specialties. A business consultant could be someone who provides powerful, timely advice, and/or someone who rolls up their sleeves and does the work.
For instance, a fast-moving emerging growth company may need business consultants to build out the finance and accounting organization and systems, or serve as the first iteration of the finance team. As the CEO of this company, you may also need CFO-level guidance as you look for advice on scaling your business and pursuing funding options. If the same business consulting firm that provided CFO expertise has a range of experience with companies of all sizes, and all stages of growth, you could continue to rely on them as your company matures.
A business consulting firm with staying power can be an essential resource for a range of company types: whether the company requires interim finance support or extra hands to get the team through a strategic finance project, they can find business consultants in the USA.
A company looking for the support or insights of business consultants may need more than one person to help with a pending transaction. The CEO may need someone who thinks, acts, and speaks like a CFO to converse with the board of directors or help the company with their next round of funding. A team of business consultants may be necessary to help the company prepare for an initial public offering, interact with the auditors and Securities and Exchange Commission to get the IPO done, and then help the business make a smooth transition as a public company.
The needs vary but the premise remains the same: business consultants are not full-time members of the staff but they, for a certain period of time or an ongoing basis, become a part of the team to meet a particular need. A consultant may interact with the company once a week, every day of the week, or just occasionally when, say, the CEO is in need of some expert advice.
What Does a Business Consultant Do?
Business consultants focused on the finance and accounting aspects of running the business wear a variety of hats. For a sense of examples, these are some of the services business consultants can offer:
- Help the company understand the pros and cons of a potential M&A deal.
- Serve as the CFO on a part-time basis until the company is ready to hire its own full-time person to head the finance organization.
- Act as a finance leadership bridge as the company prepares to bring in a new full-time controller.
- Set up budgeting and forecasting systems.
- Put together financial models that can help the company make a tough strategic decision.
- Train the current finance staff on a new accounting standard, and also clue in others in the business who also need to understand the standard’s impacts.
- Provide valuable input on the type of systems the company should implement.
Independent Business Consultant Vs. Business Consulting Firm
Companies looking for finance and accounting expertise or CFO advice have a choice to make: should they hire an independent business consultant or a business consulting firm? While cost is always part of the decision-making process, it shouldn’t be the only factor. An independent business consultant may respond to your bid with a significantly lower price than a business consulting firm, but your company could end up needing a lot more than just one person can provide over the course of your project or the course of your company’s lifecycle. The initially projected cost savings may not be realized, and you’ll have to go back to the market to find the right consulting experts to help you.
When you team up with the right business consulting firm, even if your initial need starts out with just one person from the firm, you are gaining access to the diverse skills and experience of everyone at the firm. That one consultant can turn to his or her peers for insights on your latest problem or bring in another consultant as your needs expand. When you hire a business consulting firm that you trust and can rely on for a range of finance and accounting issues, you don’t have to go back out into the market to do your due diligence and hire again. You’ve connected with a valuable resource that can help guide your business to greatness.