By hiring a consultant, clients have access to deeper levels of expertise than would be financially feasible for them to retain in-house on a long-term basis. Moreover, clients can control their expenditures on consulting services by only purchasing as much services from the outside consultant as desired.
- Consultants provide their advice to their clients in a variety of forms. Reports and presentations are often used. However, in some specialized fields, the consultant may develop customized software or other products for the client.
Ways of Work:
The range of areas of expertise covered by the term "consultant" is wide. One of the more common types is the management consultant. Consulting and the means by which the (external) consultant is engaged vary according to industry and local practice. However the principal difference between a consultant and a temp is generally one of direction. A consultant or temp is engaged to fulfill a brief in terms of helping to find solutions to specific issues but the ways in which that is to be done generally falls to the consultant to decide. An information systems or project management consultant is also referred as just a consultant who manages constraints such as budget and resources agreed with the client.
- An external consultant, on the other hand is normally fulfilling a non-employee role that usually exists within the organization and is helping to bridge a gap caused by staffing shortages, skills and expertise. They are directed by the normal management structure of the organization. There is, however, a hybrid form where a consultant may be hired as an interim manager or executive, bringing a combination of specialist expertise to bear on a role that is temporarily vacant (usually at a senior level).
If a management consultant is providing advice to a software firm that is struggling with employee morale, absenteeism and issues with managers and senior engineers leaving the firm, the consultant will probably spend a good deal of time at the client's office, interviewing staff, engineers, managers and executives, and observing work processes.
On the other hand, a legal consultant asked to provide advice on a specific property law issue might only have a few meetings at the client's office, and conduct the majority of his work at the consultant's office and in legal libraries.