How to become a successful consultant in 7 steps

When companies encounter challenges, they often hire consultants to help identify and prioritise changes in operations or technology. Consultants are professionals who examine business practices and underlying systems to help companies find solutions to complex problems.

Consultants Using Laptop In Office

Knowing what a consultant is and how to become one can help you determine whether consulting in Australia is the right career path for you. In this article, we will look at what a consultant does, discuss their skills and qualifications, answer some crucial questions about consultants, and explain the steps for becoming a consultant.

Importantly, we will also dig into the risks that consultants can face, and how consultant insurance* and management insurance can come to the rescue when things don’t go to plan.

As a consultant, you may be exposed to a range of claims related to instances of:

  • providing inadequate or incorrect advice;
  • lack of appropriate due diligence;
  • confidentiality breaches;
  • fraud and dishonesty;
  • lawsuits; and
  • conflicts of interest.

What is a consultant?

A consultant is a professional who helps a company solve specific problems or business challenges so it can remain profitable and competitive. For instance, a consultant might help a company streamline operations to become more efficient. They might also help reduce costs and increase revenue by recommending changes in the business’s operations, human resources or workflow.

Consultants work in various sectors, such as financial services, technology, public service, telecommunications and manufacturing. They focus on the various aspects of a business, from strategy to profitability. Some of them work for consultancy firms while others work as associates in private consultancy businesses.

It may take several years of practice and a strong network to grow a consultancy career. But for aspiring consultants in Australia, it’s worth noting that the top consulting firms in Australia include some of the largest consulting firms in the world, including the ‘Big Four’ of KPMG, PwC, EY, and Deloitte.

Consulting career tips: How to become a consultant

Consulting can be a rewarding and diverse profession with different paths of entry. However, there are certain education and training requirements for becoming a consultant. Consider following the following steps to help you begin a career in consulting:

1. Enrol in and complete an undergraduate degree

Enrol in an accredited university to earn a bachelor’s degree in business, finance, accounting, commerce, business administration, or a related field. A full-time undergraduate program typically takes four years to complete. You can also enrol in courses to improve your understanding of the industry and develop technical skills such as strategic planning, analysis, organisational change, and business process reengineering.

At this point you will likely be thinking about a specialisation to pursue in your consulting career. This is important as it can put you on a specific path in your consultant career and will factor into what specific courses you will enrol in.

2. Complete a consulting internship

Another key consulting career tip is enrolling in a consulting internship. Having an internship at a reputable consultancy firm can allow you to get work experience. Training may last from one month to four months.

During the first few weeks, you’ll likely work with a senior associate who will teach you how to solve problems, use productivity tools, and communicate effectively within the business. You might later work on a project with a manager who offers on-the-job training.

3. Reduce your exposure to risk with consultant insurance

Consultant insurance is the term used for business insurance products that reduce consultants’ exposure to risk. Some of the most critical business insurance products for reducing consultants’ exposure to risk include:

Professional Indemnity:
Most consultants provide a professional service or specialist advice; it’s their bread and butter. Professional Indemnity insurance (PI) helps to protect you from losses claimed by clients that are incurred due to your actual or alleged negligence in the provision of your professional service or advice.

Your PI policy will cover compensation payable to a third party and your defence costs, such as lawsuit fees, and investigator fees.

Public Liability: Public Liability insurance (PL) provides consultants with protection for consultants and their business in the event customers, suppliers, or a member of the public is injured or occurs property damage as a result of your negligent business activities.

Business Insurance: Also referred to as a ‘BizPack’, Business Insurance provides cover for your business contents, stock, tools and commercial premises when insured event happen, including fire, storm, theft, and accidental damage.

4. Apply for consultancy jobs

Once you complete your internship and commence your ANZ consulting career, create a consultant resume and start applying for consultancy jobs in your field. There can be many employment opportunities for qualified candidates, such as working as an associate consultant at a firm.

If working for yourself is appealing, you can also venture into private practice. Typically, mid-senior level consultants must show commercial credibility as business advisers and have experience with market or industry issues. Senior associates and managers often need over 10 years of consulting experience.

5. Get certified in your industry

It’s important for aspiring consultants to get certification in a particular area or field. Certification requirements often vary by industry and company. If you want to enhance your standing with potential employers, it may be helpful to get a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) accreditation from the Institute of Management Consultants (IMC).

This is a competency-based certification that shows expertise in the consulting profession. You may also need work experience if you intend to work as a specialist in one of the top consulting firms in Australia.

6. Earn a master’s degree

Completing a master’s degree may help you advance your consultant career and work in client-facing roles. Specifically, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) might create more opportunities for you and boost your credentials. Consider taking courses such as strategic planning, analysis, organisational change and business process reengineering.

You may also consider joining a master program that lets you pair your MBA with classes from your field of specialisation. For example, if you want to excel in a specific specialisation and (for example) work as an education consultant, you can enrol at a university that offers an MBA with an emphasis on education management.

7. Build your professional network

Another consulting career tip is to consider joining associations like the Institute of Management Consultants (IMC) to meet and network with like-minded professionals. As an associate member, you may have access to many professional training opportunities. This can include access to books and business journals, as well as access to work requests from large firms and government agencies.

Types of consultants

Throughout an ANZ consulting career, many consultants share the same basic duties and responsibilities, regardless of their different industries or fields. Below are examples of different types of consultants and their duties. It’s worth noting that each of these consultants have different target markets.

Strategic consultants: These consultants help senior managers create long-term plans and implement strategies to achieve their long-term goals.

Management consultants: These professionals address various organisational issues and challenges. Sometimes, their work overlaps with the duties of a strategic or operations consultant.

Operations consultants: When companies want to improve their sales, finances, production or human resources, they may speak with operations consultants for advice or solutions.

Financial advisory consultants: These types of consultants address issues regarding taxes, risks, mergers, acquisitions and real estate.

HR consultants: These professionals focus on talent management, employment and organisational culture.

IT consultants: The major work for these consultants involves developing and implementing technological changes, including upgrades to business systems and security systems.

Make business consultant insurance easy with BizCover

As a busy consultant, you may often feel like you’re running to keep up with your clients’ demands. However, one important way that BizCover can help you is by making purchasing your business consultant insurance fast, easy, and cost-effective.

Choose BizCover and enjoy a better business insurance experience today. Compare competitive quotes online, get covered in mere minutes, and get on with your day – no dramas!

Consultant FAQs

Do you need a certificate to start a career as a consultant?

While there are no formal or mandatory certificates required for becoming a consultant, to regularly attract clients and succeed long-term, consultants need to be able to actively demonstrate their expertise and knowledge to their clients. Doing so can inspire confidence from clients and lead to long-term advisory roles for consultants

At the same time, industry-specific certification programs can cover some of the hard and soft skills that consultants can benefit from having under their belt   They also make it easy for potential clients to see your dedication, professional knowledge, and commitment.

Is consulting in Australia a good career?

While consulting work can be a great fit for many professionals, it may not be a great fit for everyone – even if you are competent in your field and are passionate about your work. Before you wholeheartedly commit to becoming a consultant, consider these questions:

Do you enjoy periodically working long hours, followed by a few days of down time in which you can take it easy?

Do you want to be able to decide when, how, and where, you work?

Do you like being your own project manager and being held accountable for all facets of your work?

This information is general only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It should not be relied upon as advice. As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording.
© 2023 BizCover Pty Limited, all rights reserved. ABN 68 127 707 975; AFSL 501769

Compare multiple quotes online in minutes

Compare FREE quotes

Compare multiple quotes online in minutes

Trusted by over 220,000 Australian small businesses.

Compare FREE quotes

Popular Searches