What is the importance and impact of standards set by professional bodies and trade associations in the Management Consultancy industry? The principal objective of setting standards by professional bodies and trade associations in the Management Consultancy industry is for the advancement of the professions of management consultancy and business advice but also for the establishment and maintenance of the highest standards of performance and conduct by its members in the promotion of the knowledge and skills required for that purpose to be achieved. At the heart of best practices – whether in business advice, management consultancy or management in general – is the maintenance of high standards of professional conduct and competence, underpinned by the principles of honesty and integrity. These standards apply equally to personal behaviour as professional, working relationships with team members and colleagues, interaction with clients, customers, suppliers, business partners and other stakeholders, responsibilities to the wider community, and responsibility to your professional Institute. (IMC, 2009)The importance and impact of standards in the Management Consultancy industry is essential as the management consulting companies provide expert advice to companies and fulfil client expectations which involve time, organisations people, environment and the client’s wishes and expectations. To achieve these there is a need of certain standards in the Management Consultancy. The Professional and regulatory bodies play three important roles (Harvey & Mason, 1995).
The professional bodies are set up to safeguard the public and private interest. This is what gives them their legitimacy. * The professional bodies also represent the interest of the professional practitioners and act as a professional association or trade union contributing to continuous professional development. * The professional body represents its own self-interest: the organisations act to maintain their own privileged and powerful position as a controlling body.For example, the IMCA is authorized to award the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) designation in Ireland based on strict certification requirements relating to competence, ethics and independence (IMC, 2009) Similarly, The Institute of Business Consulting provides a Certificate in Management Consulting Essentials and Diploma in Management Consultancy for members who are new to the profession or looking for formal accreditation of their skills, and the Certified Management Consultant (CMC®) Award – internationally recognised and independently awarded for more experienced consultants.
The importance and impact of these professional bodies and associations is to provide the client and customer with the best of the practices as well as to save guard the interest if their members as well by: For example, The Institute of Business Consulting and the Chartered Management Institute has set up the investigation and disciplinary process for all its members to ensure the best of the professional practices are adopted. To ensure that if any information about the conduct of a member is not in accordance with the provisions of the Institute Code, to be investigated and appropriate disciplinary procedures are in place to deal with it.Membership of a professional body in management consultancy implies that it’s the duty of every member to fulfill their professional responsibilities by adhering to the professional standards of conduct and competence, as well as the personal values, which members are expected to exemplify. The importance and impact of standards set by professional bodies and trade associations in the Management Consultancy industry is essential to ensure that all members understand that their membership may be in jeopardy if formal notification and evidence is received implying a breach of any section of the Code.If any such complaint is received, it is subject to detailed investigation within the Institutes or association agreed disciplinary procedures. It is the responsibility of the consulting companies to adhere to the rules and regulations set up by the professional bodies and work to the highest of the standards in order to meet the best of the services by adhering to the professional competence means that undertaking only those professional services that the practitioner’s can reasonably expect to be completed with professional competence.Applying appropriate planning and supervision as required in the project keeping in the view of the standards set up by the governing organization. The most important of all is to best serve the client interest by seeking to accomplish the objectives established while maintaining the integrity and objectivity.
• Critically assess the professional standards demonstrated by any major Management Consultancy listed in the tables provided on the course. The main factors involved in any consultancy assignments apart from the project itself are the time, organisations people, environment and the client’s wishes and expectations.Keeping in view all of them Accenture uses the best of the practices and professional standards to meet its clients expectations. Accenture does it by: Providing strong commitment and dedication to the organisation that its consultants are working for, in order to, accomplish the successful organisational goals and objectives. At times client may not know what is important for its business in the long run, so Accenture emphasis more on the well tested methods and procedure to get improvement to client’s business.However, it educate client and tell him clearly what is in the best interest of company.
Client satisfaction is most important. It is the only way of getting the business repeat and good reference for other consultancy assignments. Accenture does its best to satisfy its client. If client’s wishes are out of the scope, time or not realistic, it makes them aware to client at the start while setting the road map of project. Accenture aims to deliver only what it has promised not something that it cannot deliver. If at some stage it needs to amend roadmap it does it only with the client consent.Accenture believes that good and clear communication with client and people working in organisation is most important. It is important to maintain good relationship and influence decision during project progress.
Still Accenture believes that the most important thing is finish assignment on time. Client does not want to see consultants for long time on its site. Client appreciate it that you have finished assignments on time, this also encourage client to give you next assignment and helps in building healthy relationships.The value it adds to the business against cost. However relationship with client or trust depends on the degree of your professionalism, your reputations and the amount of knowledge you educate client with. If you had good relationship with client and had trust but could not deliver project by deadlines or up to the required standards, all would be destroyed.
Clients want to see results as soon as possible because he does not want his competitors to take lead or get solution of his problem when it has already outdated owing to the emergence of new trend or technology.Accenture strongly believes in building client’s trust that is if they win client trust then everything become easy; management to implementation of project. It is a guarantee to be in the business as they have a good base of clients that enables them to always remain in business. Accenture understand that ‘learn while you work’ it means that the things consultants have done in the past but there is always a way to improve. However all projects and every step in project is important for company. Accenture tries to bring all the stake holders of project on same page.They should be well focussed on achieving one objective and their interest should be well aligned. If all stakeholders are involved in the process of problem clarification, the chances of project success gets higher.
As it fully reflects the problem and needs of all stakeholders, not just views of top management. So it is important that consultant not only engage with CEO but also communicate frequently with staff. As Accenture believes that the consultants have to deal with ‘people’ problems as most business problems are people problems (Stumpf & Longman, 2000).Every consulting assignment has a human element attached to it, even if it has highly technical contents. So again the essence of consulting is in managing relationships, it is irrespective to how technical or commercial the consulting assignment might turn out to be (Applebaum & Steed, 2005), to effectively use and implement your experience and knowledge, it is extremely important to build high level of trust and emotional confidence consultant and client share with one another.
As good consultant- client relationship is a crucial factor in consulting process, Accenture emphasise on the social training of consultants before sending them to client site (Curnow, 2003). Lambert (1998) express it as “… sometimes minimal training that inexperienced consultants are given before being set free in the client’s premises can be sales training and they can be told that their first responsibility is to look for the next assignment..
As consultant’s individual characteristics are significantly important, Accenture strongly tries to implement the required standards required for the job. • Management Consultancy is insufficiently regulated. Do you agree or disagree? Why? Despite ever increasing role of management consultancy in almost all the areas of business and the consistently generation of high and growing revenues, management consultancy also consistently attracts a significant amount of criticism, both from clients, and also from management scholars.While it seems that many consultants can ‘talk the talk,’ they may not always have as much experience as is made out, particularly when it comes to responding to an actual crisis as they fail to develop plans that are executable by the client.
A number of critical books about management consulting argue that there is a mismatch between management consulting advice and the ability of business executives to actually create the change suggested results in substantial damages to existing business.It has been seen due to insufficient regulation in the management consultancy the disreputable consulting firms are often accused of delivering empty promises despite of charging significantly high fees. They are often charged with “stating the obvious” and lacking the experience on which to base their advice.
These consultants are seen to bring in few innovations, and instead offer generic and “prepackaged” strategies and plans that are irrelevant to the client’s particular issue. Most consulting companies and consultants fail to prioritize their responsibilities, placing their own firm’s interests before the clients.Due to insufficient regulations there seems to be a problem to deliver on the sustainability of results by most of the consulting companies. At the end of an engagement between the client and consulting firm, there is often an expectation that the consultants audit the project results for a period of time to ensure their efforts are sustainable. Although sustainability is promoted by some consulting firms, it is difficult to implement because the client does not want the consultants to stay on its site for too long and this creates a barrier between the client and consulting firm after the project closes.
The consultants take a lot of feed back from lower level managers as quite a few times the upper management is not available for comments. Recommendations made some time may be misleading and often result in: . Less emphasis on clarity, internal communication and buy-in; . Consultants invest more time in learning rather then finding out a solution. .
Fail to recognise that implementation planning and execution must be part of every consulting mandate .Less development of clearer governance procedures and establishing more consistent processes surrounding external consulting engagements Another criticism that comes up due to insufficient regulations is the disassembly of the business mostly by firing the employees in a drive to cut cost, the junior consultants charging senior rates, consultancies again and again selling similar reports to multiple clients, lack of innovation, overbilling for days not worked, speed at the cost of quality, unresponsive large firms & lack of client focus, and lack of clarity of deliverables in contracts.Almost every client expects a positive approach towards the professionalism of consultants, their understanding of the sense of urgency and motivation, and the efficacy of their communication. Despite these factors, most of the time it is seen that consultants fail to live up to that expectation and it might have a serious impact on the success of consulting projects at the organization.Client focus, clarity of objectives, deliverables and outcomes, adaptation to client readiness, up front learning about working environment, prototyping and emphasis on incremental successes, partnership with the project team and availability of the consultants for the implementation phase are all important but at times due to insufficient regulations result in outcomes but in projects rated as “unsuccessful” than successful.