The business consultancy industry is, by and large, an unregulated market. Unlike a majority of the financial services market, to set up a consultancy firm tomorrow you can proceed with a website, a mobile phone and some business cards. At Akcela, all of our management consultants have a postgraduate degree in professional consulting, an MBA and years of real world experience. This is not to say that there aren’t some excellent management consultants with no formal training. As the other half of the consideration on individuals capabilities has to be around their track record with projects.
There are a number of ways to check the credibility of a consultant. What projects have they previously ran. What projects have they previously ran similar to your request. Does this match up to your expectations? What do their clients say about them? What accreditations do they have?
In the UK consulting is an unaccredited market, this means anyone can do it. However, having accreditations is a marker of quality and served practice. Such accreditations can include membership to bodies such as the Institute of Consulting, educational qualifications such as Diploma in Professional Consulting or CMC qualifications.
You do not need any level of education to become a consultant, as it is an unregulated market. Degrees in business management such as an MBA are a good marker for someone with excellent, rounded business knowledge.
Offering consultancy in the UK requires a level of professional indemnity insurance. What level is this at and does it sit with your expectation. If it doesn’t match, are they willing to increase it?
Beyond the standard checks on running projects relevant to your industry, you can look into the credentials of the business and individual. Industry credentials demonstrate an ongoing commitment to professional development, as well as a safety network for best practice. Some key things to look out for include:
This will invariably form part of a company’s due diligence, but I feel, especially important in such an unregulated market.