If ever there was an indication of how consulting firms would fare in the current economic hullabaloo, recent statements issued by Booz & Co. and Huron Consulting Group may offer some comfort to consultants, and to those looking to break into the field.
Last week, Booz CEO Shumeet Banerji issued a statement to his employees entitled, "Navigating Through the Financial Crisis". The piece was more useful as a Cliffs' Notes version of what had happened to the economy and why (if you hadn't caught it the first 500 times the story made its way through the wires), rather than a commentary on how to steer through the crisis and what it would mean for Booz and its clients (as the title seemed to suggest it would). (If you're still unclear about things, maybe this slide show will help.) Banerji's most salient commentary came through in addressing how the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and other emerging markets) will react to the current economic condition. He notes that these countries are surprised at the corporate governance failure in the US, and that they are relieved that their banking institutions are fairly insular, which will help protect them from a recession. Their resource-based economies, furthermore, keep their economies liquid, which also offers another layer of padding in these tough economic times.
But it's Banerji's last point that speaks loudest as to the how the consulting industry fits into the big picture. He explains that situations like these can give companies new and promising opportunities?as long as their balance sheets are clean and they have clear strategic plans for growth. "To do this well, Banerji says, "[companies] need a sharp focus on operational fitness (especially working capital), clarity on what is central and what is superfluous in their portfolios, and a clear sense of which capabilities they are seeking to enhance or build. We have already seen a transition to this new reality come at astonishing speed in the financial sector. There is more to come. " That's exactly where consultants come in - and now, more than ever, there's a greater need for their services.
Walking the talk, Huron Consulting Group has stepped up with a bailout bill response team . The team will advise clients on the valuation, risk management, servicing and accounting implications of the government's plan to purchase certain troubled assets using taxpayer money. Huron is sure to be the first of many consulting firms getting a piece of the action.
Have any of your firms come up with new strategies to bolster their clients' position in these precarious times?
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