Consulting is a career path which continues to hold a lot of intrigue for accountants, regardless of what stage of career they are at.
Here Aideen Murphy, Partner and expert in tax and practice careers, decided to dive a little deeper into a few of the key areas of consulting and discuss the various career options within each one.
First up – Finance Transformation…
Organisations are becoming increasingly aware that finance functions can do so much more than report on last month’s figures, or ensure the business is compliant with financial reporting regulations. Finance teams hold huge amounts of informative data, which can be used to stimulate and propel business growth.
But how can this data be optimised to ensure it is influencing strategic business decisions?
Alongside this, the efficiency of a finance function can have a significant impact on ‘the bottom line’. Ensuring finance processes are as streamlined and efficient as possible, organising finance teams in a structure which creates synergies and using technology to save countless man-hours on manual finance tasks all contribute towards saving an organisation time and money.
But how can a finance team ensure they are operating as efficiently as possible?
This is where finance transformation (FT) consulting teams come in!
FT consultants help finance functions assess how their current teams and processes operate, identify areas for improvement, devise creative solutions for change and assist with implementing these changes. Consulting teams can be hired to do just one of these steps or the whole process. For example, an organisation may hire consultants to assess the current state of their operational process (OTC, month-end close, consolidation etc.), highlight improvement areas, but the organisation/finance function may want to create their own solutions to the issues and manage the change process themselves.
FT consulting teams also provide strategic finance advice to business leaders. Whether it’s managing a financial crisis (or indeed managing finance during a pandemic!), venturing into new products/markets or considering an IPO, FT consultants work with their clients to create a finance strategy that is aligned with their goals.
As with most functions across any organisation, effectively utilising technology is a key component in a finance function’s overall impact and efficiency. FT consulting teams generally offer a wide range of technology focused services. This can span from implementing a completely new ERP system to ensuring the current system is effectively utilising the data it holds to creating cutting-edge, interactive finance dashboards so that key finance information is clearly presented and easily understood by business leaders across the organisation.
FT teams can offer one, a few or a whole range of services to their clients. Most of the Big4 firms will offer the full breadth of services and usually have specialised sub-teams within the FT consulting division. Smaller firms tend to offer more niche or bespoke services in just one or two of the areas outlined above.
If you’re looking to build a career in this space, consider where you want to become a subject matter expert in one area of FT? Or would you prefer to add to your CV in a more generalist manner? Are you happier performing as part of a sub-team of a much larger team? Or do you like to be in a team with one or two others?
Your answer to these questions will help to shape your next career move into (or within) the FT space. Different firms are known for their specialisation and expertise in the various areas, so there’s no point moving to Firm A to build your career in FT technology if the majority of Firm A’s work is in FT strategy. Make sense!?
As always, do your research, chat to people you know within the FT space and reach out to one of our Barden experts to help you decide which FT consulting team and role is the best fit for you and your career.
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