What is a management consultant and what do they do?

Management consultants help businesses improve performance by offering objective advice to an organisation’s management. They can be involved with establishing and meeting growth objectives, solving problems and finding new and improved ways of doing things.

Management consultants are there to provide insight and recommendations to an organisation, though they can be asked to remain involved until projects are completed. Assignments vary, however, some typical examples include: improving the efficiency of business processes, restructuring advice, running outsourcing programmes and advising on post-acquisition integration.

Management consultants are employed for their knowledge, expertise and experience. They will have strong understanding of the risks and commercial drivers of the sectors in which they work and the technical knowledge necessary to review current procedures, recommend improvements and offer achievable, prioritised action plans.

Key responsibilities

Examples of responsibilities include:

  • Conducting research and collecting and analysing data in order to understand the organisation.
  • Interviewing employees, the management team and other stakeholders.
  • Conducting process walkthroughs and workflow mapping.
  • Preparing business proposals and presentations.
  • Identifying issues and formulating solutions.
  • Presenting findings, updates and recommendations to clients.
  • Project management, including leading projects and improvement programmes.

Why are they important?

Management consultants are a valuable resource that help organisations adapt to change and meet growth objectives. The key benefit of a Management Consultant is that they can often provide a perspective that those within the organisation cannot. They can also offer unique knowledge about industry best practice and give insight into what other organisations within the industry are doing.

Competences needed for this role

Being a management consultant balances strong analytical proficiency, problem solving ability and excellent communication skills. Relationship building and stakeholder management is essential as this role needs to be able to successfully influence at executive and board level.

Strategic Professional Options examinations linked to this role

Advanced Performance Management

Advanced Audit and Assurance

Career opportunities presented by this role

Management consultants are often exposed to a wide variety of projects at many different organisations, encouraging the development of a broad range of skills and experiences which promotes wide and varied career opportunities.


High level competencies required include:

  • Advisory and consultancy

    A. Gathers and understands financial and non-financial information to develop complete knowledge of the client business and the environment in which it operates.

    B. Provides expert advice that will add value to the business and gain advantage.

    C. Identify and advise on business partnering to develop strategic relationships to create opportunities, improve performance and solve business problems.

    D. Prepare and present business plans and advise on the actions to implement these plans.


  • Audit and assurance

    A. Advises on and communicates effectively the role and scope of audit and assurance engagements to relevant stakeholders.

    B. Applies regulatory, legal, professional and ethical standards relating to audit and assurance engagements.

    C. Plans and prepares for audit and assurance engagements.

    D. Performs effective audit, and assurance engagements.

    E. Reviews and reports on the findings of audit and assurance engagements.

    F. Guiding efficient and effective operations.


  • Data, digital and technology

    A. Identifies strategic options to add value, using data and technology.

    B. Analyses and evaluates data using appropriate technologies and tools.

    C. Applies technologies to visualise data clearly and effectively.

    D. Applies scepticism and ethical judgement to the use of data and data technology.

  • 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.

  • Stakeholder relationship management

    A. Positively develops relationships with internal and external stakeholders.

    B. Communicates and gains commitment from internal and external stakeholder.

    C. Uses emerging technologies to collaborate and communicate effectively with stakeholders.

    D. Applies professional and ethical judgement when engaging with stakeholders.

    E. Aligns organisational strategic objectives with stakeholder needs and manages expectations.

  • Strategy and innovation

    A. Applies business acumen and commercial awareness to deliver business objectives.

    B. Recommends a range of suitable strategic options from which to develop sustainable plans and objectives.

    C. Evaluates, justifies and implements suitable strategic options.

    D. Adopts and applies innovative methods to implement strategy and manages change.