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Why it pays to engage management consultants

By 11th March 2010No Comments

Divorce lawyers aside, it’s difficult to think of a group of professionals viewed with more world-weary cynicism than management consultants. Steal your watch and then charge though the nose to tell you the time, that’s how it goes, isn’t it? An unnecessary luxury and first thing to cut back on when times get tough? Well, turns out it might be time to re-assess; cost management consultancy actually adds value to UK businesses and delivers an impressive return on investment.

According to a study called ‘The Value of Consulting’ by Tim Morris, Professor of Management Studies at Oxford University and commissioned by the Management Consultancy Association‘s new Chief Executive, Alan Leaman, some 58% of clients said they were satisfied with the work their consultants did and estimated it to be worth between 2 and 20 times the amount it cost. Most reported a return on investment of between 8 and 12 times. The study analysed 1,800 consulting projects and in-depth interviews with 30 clients in both the public and private sectors.

Averaging this out and taking into account other projects where the value is equivalent to the price — presumably the less-satisfied clients — then the MCA calculate the value to UK companies of management consultants is around £6 for every £1 spent, or an impressive £56 billion. As Alan Leaman says,

“Too many conversations about consulting start and end with the assumption that it is just a cost; we can now see that there is a significant return on this investment as well. This work is based exclusively on the views and experience of clients and the methodology was cautious. The UK is substantially better off because it has a vibrant and competitive consulting industry. ”

For further information about ‘The Value of Consulting’, or to receive a copy of the report, contact hilary.downes@mca.org.uk or call 020 7321 4810.

Acknowledgements: Antony Hilton, London Evening Standard