Using Consultants

In today's intensely competitive trading environment, the number of factors with which management must deal has increased dramatically and the speed of change is accelerating all the time.  Changes in the domestic economy, the economies and politics of other countries, social legislation and the impact of new technologies all bring challenges and opportunities calling for knowledge and expertise, not always readily available within an organisation. 

To meet these challenges and grasp the opportunities, organisations often call in management consultants to undertake specific assignments as part of good management practice in the same way that architects, designers and lawyers are engaged as needed.

Management consultancy

Management consultancy entails the provision of objective advice and assistance relating to the strategy, structure, systems, management and operations of an organisation in pursuit of its long-term purposes and objectives. This may include the identification of options with recommendations, the provision of additional resources and / or the implementation of solutions.

In summary a consultant provides external advice for organisations that require specialist expertise or an objective outside perspective on their business.

Certified Management Consultant

A professional management consultant who meets the relevant requirements of character, qualifications, experience, competence and independence established by the professional body issuing certification.

The initials CMC following a consultant's name, indicate that he or she is a Certified Management Consultant and meets the strict certification requirements of the IMCA which are based on world class standards of competence, ethics and independence set by the ICMCI (International Council of Management Consultancy Institutes).

The IMCA is the professional Institute for management consultants and business advisers in Ireland. Our members cover the spectrum of practices, from international to individual specialists, and embrace a very wide range of sectors and expertise. The following pages will help you select and use a consultant or adviser (the term consultant below refers to both):

The benefits of using consultants and when to use a consultant are discussed below.

Benefits of Using Consultants

Management consultants bring four major benefits to assignments which cannot be combined in any other manner:

Objectivity Consultants offer an independent, impartial, fresh viewpoint free of personal interest, pre-conceptions or existing traditions and loyalties.
Broad Experience Management consultants work with a wide variety of clients and frequently tackle problems which confront any individual client only once in a decade or more.
Analytical Skill Management consultants are trained in a range of analytical skills and know how to concentrate on the main problem areas and define the requirements for solution and benefits to be gained.
Full-time Attention Consultants can devote full-time attention to the assignment free of the executive responsibilities of client managers.

All members of the Institute subscribe to a Code of Professional Conduct and Certified Management Consultants are certified against international best practice standards.

When to Use a Consultant

The situations where a consultant can help are extremely varied. Typically, they arise where:

  • A problem is known to exist, but the organisation does not have the time, experience or the staff to tackle it.
  • A problem is known to exist but neither the symptoms nor underlying cause can be determined by anyone within the organisation in a completely unbiased way.
  • The organisation has tackled the problem itself already but has not resolved it.
  • Expertise is needed to introduce new technology, new techniques and/or fundamental change in the organisation's structure, nature or business direction.
  • A conflict of views on future policy exists within the organisation and an independent, skilled assessment is needed.
  • Specialist experience or expertise is required which does not exist within the organisation and secondment of a management consultant for a period can help determine the type of permanent staff to be required.
  • An independent appraisal of proposed changes is needed to confirm and/or amend the organisation's plans and help implement them.
  • In the smaller organisation, there is a need to import a particular type of knowledge or expertise for a period to deal with such matters as market research, product development or diversification, strategy, marketing, IT, human relations etc.

For more help, see Appointing Consultants or Find a Consultant.

Using Consultants

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