consulting vs accounting

“But if you’ve been doing SEC reporting for the last 15 years, for example, you’re going to be our go-to more than a controller that’s just dabbled in it.” It can take three to four months to fill a high-level vacancy, such as a CFO or controller position, and organizations may hire a consultant in the meantime. They may also seek consultants because they are expanding or relocating and need someone to assist during a transition or to help implement software. Both consultants and auditors are frequently Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) or have backgrounds in accounting, because being able to analyze all types of financial statements is often necessary for both professions. Both management consultants and accountants must be very comfortable working with numbers since they’ll deal with figures every day.

  • Many CPAs who have made the leap to consulting, whether on their own or working with a staffing company, have found it to be a rewarding career move.
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  • For consultants, to solve a difficult business problem, analytics skills are a must.
  • Let’s examine the definition of accounting consulting and describe exactly what accounting consultants do, how to become an accounting consultant, why you should consider making the switch, and much more.
  • The advantage to working for a firm, though, is that you won’t need to find clients or market yourself.
  • Such large and diverse networks usually are not available for auditors.

It’s becoming increasing popular for many CPAs to offer their services in an accounting consultant capacity, which is a bridge to becoming the holistic trusted advisor consumers are looking for in today’s economic climate. It’s an open secret in the accounting industry that the biggest audit firms no longer get the bulk of their business from auditing. At Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, for instance, only 22% of global revenues came from audits in fiscal 2019, compared with 60% from consulting and other advisory services. That’s a reversal from a decade ago, when it was 46% auditing versus 33% consulting. Deloitte’s global consulting revenue rose 13% in 2019; auditing revenue was flat. Eminent accounting consultants usually pick one industry and specialize in it.

Customs & duties management

Maybe you can even hit a few buttons and send an invoice to clients or generate a cash flow statement. But if you don’t understand accounting basics, the information you glean from that report isn’t going to be much help when it comes to making financial decisions about your company’s future. This means that the Big 4’s strategy teams generally enjoy the same access to the C-Suite as McKinsey, BCG and Bain. It also means that strategy projects sometimes originate naturally from another project led elsewhere in the firm (e.g. a due diligence project led by the transaction services team).

consulting vs accounting

Consulting is a fancy word for giving advice and solving business problems. The scope of consulting is much wider than auditors, which covers the strategy, implementation, management and operation of the clients. Globalization is expected to drive demand for certified financial planners and certified public accountants in the years ahead. Financial managers also create financial records, but are primarily responsible for the company’s financial strategies. To maximize your procurement consulting revenue, you must invest in training and development programs for your team members.

The compensation is less generous at the Big 4 than it is at McKinsey, BCG and Bain

CPAs, you know you’re required to earn a set number of Continued Professional Education (CPE) credits each year to maintain your license. Completing one of Becker’s Consulting Services Libraries would satisfy these requirements and bring you closer to where you want to be in your consulting work. Even if you don’t have a CPA license, investing in yourself and building your skillset through consulting-focused courses is the perfect way to show your firm that you’re committed to learning and growing within your role.

  • If you’re putting up a new independent contractor shingle, you will need to market and sell yourself to various companies and individuals in order to bring in the new consulting engagements.
  • Financial consultants with a bachelor’s degree and a minimum of three years professional experience may apply for licensure as a certified financial consultant through the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.
  • Use your EIN to open a business bank account and get a business credit card.
  • They will start working once they determine the company’s financial health and any accounting services currently used through a third-party accounting agency or in-house.

As a young accounting consultant, they need to create a strong network within the industry. Along with it, for their business to grow, they need to rely on effective word-of-mouth from previous clients. To improve their image, some consultants even become part of trade unions and participate in conferences and meetings. In addition, prior to the global pandemic, client expectations were already shifting.

What is accounting consulting?

You also might say, “I know exactly which industry and area I want to focus on,” but aren’t sure how to make that transition. In either case, know that you have options on how to gain skillsets and industry knowledge on the job. However, because of the Big 4’s expertise in transaction services, their strategy teams in some locations do more due diligence work than MBB. In my interviews with 10 firms, not once was I asked an accounting related question. Again, to answer the original question posed by OP, accounting is not going to be an optimal path to consulting.

  • The latest issue of s+b explores how businesses are finding real-world value in virtual reality.
  • After completing their education, some accounting consultants may opt to turn into a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
  • They have limited expertise or resources in technology consulting, implementation, financial advisory consulting, and risk and compliance consulting.
  • Sharp, actionable insights curated to help global leaders build trust and deliver sustained outcomes.
  • The scope of consulting is much wider than auditors, which covers the strategy, implementation, management and operation of the clients.

In the remainder of this article, we’ll explore how the strategy units of the Big 4 operate in comparison to McKinsey, BCG and Bain. These firms are collectively known as both ‘MBB’ and ‘the top-3′ management consulting firms (not ‘the big-3 consulting firms’, a common misconception). Generally speaking, your clients will expect a fixed fee for consulting services. Not only that, but if you stick to hourly billing, you will need to take on and maintain more clients to increase your profits. With a fixed consulting fee, you charge for your value, above and beyond your time.

What makes Big-4 consulting firms different from McKinsey, BCG and Bain?

Therefore, if you are interested in management or strategy consulting, this specific type of work makes up a much smaller percentage of the Big Four’s revenues compared to the other types of consulting. It merged with Haskins & Sells in 1972, Touche Ross in 1989, and part of Arthur Andersen in 2002. Deloitte has made a number of acquisitions over time, most notably acquiring Monitor Group, a large management consulting firm, in 2013. Your comfort level with networking and asking for business will impact your ability to find clients.

consulting vs accounting

Make sure you have business cards and set up your own database of contacts or use LinkedIn. Think about who’s in your local network to reach out to (for example, professional membership or religious organizations, chambers of commerce, Business Network International, etc.). First, consultants have the chance to work closely with C-level clients from large companies, so the chances of widening the network with outstanding individuals are high. Second, consultants typically have strong support from the alumni group, those who have thrived in their post-consulting paths. Meanwhile, although auditors need business knowledge to understand the specific firms, auditors often face an audit or more technical problems. Due to the nature of their work, both consultants and auditors have dozens of client-meeting and collaboration with other departments.

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