Business advisors provide information, advice, support and guidance to those running and leading organisations.

The role of business advisors is to help their clients meet their strategic and organisational objectives.

Advisory often refers to services not provided by the audit and tax teams in an accountancy practice.

Advisory services encompass:

  • corporate services
  • mergers and acquisitions
  • business management
  • risks advisory
  • finance function effectiveness
  • loan applications support
  • corporate restructuring
  • business development and operational effectiveness.

Business advisory is a sought-after career for financial professionals using technical expertise with commercial awareness to provide services which clients value highly.

Entry and progression

Business advisors usually work in practice where they work with clients across all sectors:

  • private
  • public
  • not-for-profit.

Candidates looking to work in practice enter at associate or trainee level with progression to senior management or partner level. Candidates are often educated to graduate level, and those with MBAs are in the most demand.  

ACCA develops the skills and knowledge required by forward-thinking professional accountants, including business advisors.

Exam options

Those who work in business advisory, or aspire to be a business advisor, should think about the area in which they wish to specialise. Once they have decided on a specialism they can take the most relevant specialist options exams that ACCA offers.

For example, for those working with clients in the corporate and public sector the most relevant exam option is:

Performance objectives

Remember it’s not just about exams. You need to have the right experience so that you are competent – you have the experience and knowledge – to start and continue your career as a business advisor.

Performance Objectives (PO) which would provide great experience and must be signed off as part of the Practical Experience Requirement (PER) could include:


High level competencies required by business advisors include:

  • Governance, Risk and Control

    A. Evaluates organisational structures and governance to protect the long-term interests of stakeholders.

    B. Recommends appropriate strategies to ensure adherence to governance structures and application of best practice internal controls.

    C. Identifies and manages risk appropriately.

    D. Uses risk management for the best interests of an organisation and its stakeholders.

    E. Monitors and applies relevant legislation, policies and procedures.

  • Ethics and Professionalism

    A. Develops advanced ethical values and professional skills in the promotion of public interest and the profession.

    B. Demonstrates personal effectiveness in fast changing environments.

    C. Encourages innovative thinking within the context of professional scepticism.

    D. Thinks proactively about the future, applying professional judgement and commercial intelligence and seeks specialist input when needed.

    E. Communicates effectively and influences others.