Financial consultants are in great demand these days. CFOs in virtually every industry outsource work to all types of consultants who can help them make crucial decisions, spruce up performance, inject fresh energy and steer their companies toward more profitable futures.
If you're an intrepid current or aspiring financial consultant, you'll likely find a range of opportunities at your disposal, including the following in-demand areas.
1. Finance and accounting
Robert Half Management Resources polled more than 900 Canadian CFOs to gauge where they were most likely to assign financial consultants and interim managers in the coming year. Of the total, 57 per cent said they would turn to the types of consultants who can optimize their finance and accounting projects.
As a consultant in this area, you'll be asked to lend your expertise to forecasts, analysis, budgets and reporting. If you like wearing multiple hats, adapt quickly and can assert your opinions, this type of job could be right up your alley.
2. Business systems and performance improvement
Almost half (48 per cent) of the CFOs surveyed by Robert Half Management Resources said they would rely on consultants to guide them in implementing business systems and handling conversion and integration. Assistance with process and performance improvement is a key need for many small businesses looking to fix existing problems, head off potential dangers and make sure the business is best positioned for growth.
Speed and problem-solving skills are the name of this game. If you enjoy challenges and innovation, you could find this area quite satisfying. Relationship management and patience will be a critical skill, as you help managers and staff switch to and learn new systems.
Taxation is the nemesis of many overworked CFOs. It's hardly surprising that 42 per cent of CFOs polled by Robert Half Management Resources would gladly rely on the types of consultants that handle this area. Your consulting services could range from putting out (or preventing) seasonal fires to overhauling a company's entire tax approach.
Saving the company money can earn you kudos, monetarily and otherwise, and you'll likely also be valued for guiding teams and managers on how to apply smarter procedures.
4. Governance, risk and compliance (GRC)
The only sure thing about regulations is that they constantly evolve, as financial executives know all too well. Four in 10 in the Robert Half Management Resources survey said they were likely to bring in interim managers in the next 12 months to offer essential advice on how to integrate or update their GRC programs.
As regulations shift and tighten and accountancy practices come under greater scrutiny, managing the changes while reducing compliance costs is a must. That's where you, as one of these types of consultants, come in. You'll likely be asked how to optimize risk-return outcomes, improve business performance and help reduce personnel time and costs.
5. Finance optimization
Thirty-six per cent of CFOs surveyed by Robert Half Management Resources plan to call on consultants to streamline their financial cycle. Your know-how could be vital to reducing error rates and saving a firm processing time and costs.
You'll be asked to help implement standards and tighten up business unit functions so that the ship runs more smoothly, with less need for rework. The organization may also want your opinions on remediation, financial restatement, mergers and acquisitions, and even the CFO's role.
Whether you're seeking a change of pace or yearning for a complete career switch, learning about the various types of consultants is a great first step to figuring out where you can best apply your talents and skills.