Types of Consultants: A Comprehensive Guide

This article provides an overview of two main types: operations consultant and IT consultant as well as other types such as marketing financial advice human resources leadership development and strategic planning.

Types of Consultants: A Comprehensive Guide

The consulting industry is one of the most diverse markets within the professional services industry, and anyone can be called a consultant. With the influx of independent consultants in recent years, it has become more difficult to achieve a common definition of “consultant”. This article will provide an overview of the two main types of consultants: operations consultants and IT consultants.

Operations Consultant

Operations consultants are professionals who help clients improve the performance of their operations.

Consulting activities in this segment range from advisory services to practical implementation support, for both core functions (e.g. sales, marketing, production) and support functions (e.g. finance, human resources, supply chain, ICT, legal). Operations consultants constitute the largest segment within the consulting branch, and most consultants work in one of the many underlying operational areas.

Because operations are often associated with a company's strategy and technology, active operations consultants often collaborate with experts in these fields. Consultants operating in the financial advice segment generally work on issues that address financial capabilities and, in many cases, also analytical capabilities within an organization. Therefore, the profiles of active consultants in these segments can differ considerably, from M&A and corporate finance advisors to risk management, tax, restructuring or real estate consultants. Consultants specializing in forensic investigation and dispute support also belong to the Financial Advisory segment.

Most financial consultants work for large combined accounting and consulting firms, or for specialized advisory offices.

IT Consultant

Technology consultants, also known as IT, ICT or digital consultants, focus on helping customers with the development and application of information technology (IT) within their organization. IT consultants focus on transitions (projects) in the IT landscape, as opposed to regular IT employees who work on daily IT operations (so-called “business as usual” activities). Most IT consultants work on implementation projects, for example extensive applications of ERP systems where their role can vary from project management to process management or system integration.

Within IT consulting, the fastest-growing markets are digital, data analysis (also known as data science), cybersecurity and computer forensics.

Other Types of Consultants

In addition to operations and IT consultants, there are other types of professionals that specialize in different areas such as marketing, financial advice, human resources, leadership development and strategic planning. Marketing consultants will help companies with everything from email to paid acquisition and content marketing. Usually a marketing consultant will look at how to increase conversions and will publish ads in the most efficient (and cost-effective) way possible.

This type of consulting work will involve working with companies, non-profit organizations and individuals alike. Financial consultants are responsible for managing the finances of others by identifying potential cutbacks to improve ROI, protecting and maximizing profits and restructuring a company's bottom line. Since small businesses don't usually hire finance managers, a financial consultant is a great alternative if you have a background in accounting. Human resource consultants will help organizations with everything from training to development, employee satisfaction and conflict resolution.

HR consultants with experience in human resources or even just crisis management will thrive in this position. Human resources consulting can be carried out in a wide range of industries such as healthcare and hiring. The leaders of an organization especially one that is growing are constantly looking for ways to improve their leadership techniques. A leadership consultant will help these individuals evaluate their leadership style implement a strategy for success and help build teams.

One of the most critical forms of business consulting is strategic consulting in which a consultant acts as an advisor to a company in the sense of helping the organization create and follow a strategic plan or long-term plan. This plan helps to establish the direction the company will take in the long term in addition to creating a map that defines the direction the company will take in the short term to meet all long-term objectives. This includes working with financial advisors to ensure that projects are cost-effective and financially manageable and that all plans can be achievable with current financial resources and assets. Strategy consultants typically work with a variety of high-level executives including the CEO CFO COO and CIO to ensure that all long-term objectives financial goals operational projects and components of IT infrastructure align with the business vision.

Large firms that consider themselves pillars in the strategic consulting community (worldwide) include McKinsey Bain and Boston Consulting Group among many other firms such as FirmsConsulting. Are you considering a career as a consultant? Do you want to know more about different types of consulting? This article has provided an overview of two main types: operations consultant and IT consultant as well as other types such as marketing financial advice human resources leadership development and strategic planning. No consultant is an expert at everything so they typically specialize in certain types of consulting services to help entrepreneurs leaders and managers deal with complexity within their businesses.

Rena Chinnery
Rena Chinnery

Lifelong social media buff. Total tv enthusiast. Incurable twitter guru. Incurable tv practitioner. Proud food advocate. Beer geek.