Consulting is all about flexibility and choice. There are many types of consulting jobs, offering good choices for experienced professionals who want to improve their work-life balance or have more say about the types of projects they take on. Consulting is also an attractive option for those who no longer want the demands of a full-time position but are not ready for retirement or professionals who wish to test a slightly different career path at their own pace.
Businesses rely on senior-level consultants for the specialized expertise they can apply to key projects or business initiatives. These can last weeks, months or even longer. In addition to a flexible schedule, consulting offers advantages such as the ability to expand your experience in a number of industries and select assignments based on your preferences and availability.
Eighty-three percent of top financial executives polled in a Robert Half Management Resources survey said they consider consulting an attractive career option. However, consulting isn’t limited to those who have C-level titles on their resumes; experience, skills and knowledge are what matter most.
Increasingly, companies engage individual consultants through specialized staffing firms that serve the fields where their clients need experience and targeted expertise.
What types of consultants are there?
Financial consultants are in demand in virtually every industry. Their expertise is especially critical in the following fields:
- Business systems and business performance improvement
- Finance and accounting
- Finance optimization
- Governance, risk and compliance(GRC)
- Operations management
Fifty-five percent of CFOs in another Robert Half Management Resources survey who plan to bring in consultants said they expect them to be for finance and accounting projects. Forty-five percent of CFOs in the survey said they plan to use project professionals for taxation projects, while 50 percent cited governance, risk and compliance as priorities.
Types of business financial consulting roles range from senior tax consultant and financial project manager to corporate accounting specialist and business systems analyst. Consultants are also often called for these roles:
- Accounting manager
- Finance and financial planning and analysis management
- Internal auditor
- IT auditor
- Senior accountant
- Senior financial analyst
- Systems/ERP/business analyst
Skills and experience in demand
As businesses struggle to keep pace with technology and understand the associated risks and opportunities, they also seek consultants proficient in the following:
- Cloud-computing platforms
- Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems
- Information security and data-mining tools
- Integrated financial reporting systems
- Systems conversion projects
How consultants can support existing staff
The different types of consulting opportunities available to skilled professionals can also be viewed according to how a consultant will integrate with existing staff members. Options include:
- Interim management — Consultants are brought in to assist companies in transition by serving in key management, such as CFO or controller.
- Project management — These types of consultants have the expertise and experience to lead projects with defined deliverables and timelines, such as the implementation of an ERP system or preparation for an initial public offering.
- Staff augmentation — When workloads spike,companies enlist the help of consultants to ease the strain on core staff without having to add full-time headcount that won’t be needed long term.
See this post to learn more about the value that project management professionals can provide to businesses.
Are you considering a career as a financial consultant?
Learn what type of consultant salaries to expect for various positions if you decide to pursue a career in financial consulting.