What Do Consultants Actually Do?


“Consulting” – everyone has a different understanding of this broad and all-encompassing term and it’s often an attractive career path for these reasons. But what do consultants actually do!?

In the latest edition of the Barden Practice Blog series, Aideen Murphy, Partner with our Cork team, and an expert in tax and practice careers, has tried to make it a little easier for you to understand the different areas of consulting and which one might be best suited to you.

Finance Transformation

As simple as it sounds, Finance Transformation teams help to transform finance functions! “Transformation” can cover anything from devising and implementing a target operating model to ensure optimal performance within the finance function with regards to people & processes, to working with CFOs to map out their strategy, or to improving/upgrading/implementing a finance system. All these activities ultimately aim to identify areas for improvement and drive efficiency within a finance function.

Financial Accounting & Advisory

This is a broad area of consulting within itself. It can range from outsourced accounting to improving finance processes, to working with finance functions to understand how new accounting standards impact how they operate. This type of consulting can be a good option for people who enjoy client facing roles and working across a variety of industries, as opposed to working as an Accountant in one particular industry. It’s like the best of both worlds between practice & industry!

Risk Advisory

This is an increasingly growing area of consulting as businesses are under more scrutiny than ever in terms of ensuring they are compliant with regulatory standards. The ultimate objective is to work together with clients to advise and implement best practice minimising their exposure to risk across areas such as Internal Audit, Governance, IT Risk and Regulatory Risk.

Project Management

These teams often work with consultants from other teams to assist organisations who are going through change to plan projects. They assist with the roll-out of such projects, ensuring effective and efficient execution. The nature of these projects tends to be very wide ranging and varied, so each project can have a different focus/goal to the last one. Consultants in these teams often have qualifications in Project Management, as well as a natural love of working on a varied mix of projects with clients across industries.

Financial Services Advisory

These teams work with financial services clients to ensure best practice and efficient operating models in this highly regulated market. Consultants in this space have very particular expertise and are focused on providing solutions in the fast paced and ever-changing environment. A career path in this area can lead you to being a “Subject Matter Expert” in your chosen field.


This broad heading can include Data Analytics, Cyber Security and Forensics among other offerings. These teams offer organisations advice to ensure they are maximising the technology they have in place, and also suggest new technologies that offer increased efficiencies and improved ways of working. They also provide advice on privacy and confidentiality. This is a rapidly growing area of consulting in today’s increasingly tech-driven world. These teams empower their clients to use data to make key finance and strategic decisions.

HR Consulting / People & Organisation Advisory

Consultants with experience in HR, talent management, change management etc. help clients who are undergoing wider transformation projects. They also provide advice on performance management, reward, talent management, mobility etc. Organisations are constantly seeking to improve employee engagement and develop global workforces, these Consulting teams help companies future-proof their businesses.

As you can see “Consulting” offers an excellent variety of career opportunities. It’s a growing area of business and provides excellent career paths for passionate, driven and enthusiastic professionals. If it’s an attractive career path for you get in touch with the Practice Team in Barden today, at hello@barden.ie, to find out more.


Barden’s Practice Series

The Barden Practice Series aims to deliver practice focused content and interviews with the practice profession, and shine a spotlight on practice as a professional accounting career in the Irish market. Feel free to get in touch with Aideen Murphy or Kate Flanagan if you’d like to have a chat about the practice market, career opportunities, building your practice team or have an idea for a blog.

Check out our previous Barden Practice Series blogs by following the links below:

The Audit Appeal – benefits of working in and returning to practice

Why Make a Move Back to Practice

A Guide to Deciding Between a Big or a Small Accounting Practice…Beyond Your Training Contract

Culture Insights – Our latest infographic containing insights from some of the top leaders across Ireland’s leading practice firms

I’ve Just Qualified, Should I Stay in Practice?



At Barden we invest our resources to bring you the very best insights on all things to do with your professional future. Got a topic you would like us to research? Got an insight you would like us to share with our audience? Drop us a note to hello@barden.ie and we will take it from there. Easy.

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