Every business is to be treated like an individual, an entity in itself. We all have a system of annual health examination to be done to make sure that we pre-empt and prevent diseases before they set in. In the same way, every business should have an yearly health check up and audit done by an expert. The best person to perform this task has to be an outsider. This is because an outsider has no biased view for the organization. He has no vested interest in any of the operations of business.
We do have by law certain assessments that are mandatory to be carried out by external experts who are authorized by the state. These experts however are not all pervasive. Their services do not cover all the divisions and operations of the business. For example, in Statutory Audit, which is compulsory in many countries, only Financial aspects of the business are taken into consideration. It is carried out only to ascertain whether the books of accounts represent the true and fair view of the business operations.
Agreeing that an yearly checkup is essential and an activity that every business should do, I am listing below some of the highlights, which will be a part of the scope of assignment for Consultants:
1. Financial Health & Cash Flow:
Accuracy of accounting books does not necessarily reflect good financial health. It takes a thorough analysis to be performed by an expert to determine the financial strength of the business. Without ascertaining the same, the business owners are likely to set unrealistic goals and incur losses. The services of a financial consultant are not only limited to ascertaining the returns on investments. It extends to helping the business owners with setting right financial goals, proper risk management, investing in emerging markets, and estimating the future profitability of existing ventures.
In the current times of economic downturn, businesses need financial consultants more often than before. It is during this time that the competence of financial advisers comes into play. So, a comprehensive financial assessment of the business is recommended to be carried out by a specialist once in a year.
2. Information Flow and MIS:
Every year, businesses modify their strategy and change their methods of operations. It gives rise to various bottlenecks that remain unresolved for a long time. Into the bargain, there exist various hidden communication barriers inside the organization. The in house employees always have a hard time locating these barriers. Most of the times, they are unable to figure out where things are going wrong. They always have a hard time locating these barriers and bottlenecks.
Hiring a consultant once in a year helps keep the information systems in check. Consultants working in the field of MIS help organizations with maintaining the stability of the systems. With their experience, consultants are able to locate the communication barriers easily and suggest quick solutions. They analyze technology and industry trends and create strategic plans to reach objectives. They help ensure that the technology and systems are functioning to their optimum efficiency.
3. Employee Morale and Loyalty:
In words of Richard Branson: “Business success is all about people; employees are the biggest competitive advantage of any company.”
Like other resources, effective management of employees leads the organization towards increased efficiency. Consultants help improve the productivity, satisfaction and health & well-being of employees. They measure employee performance by assessing their behaviors and attitudes. In addition, consultants also help organizations during employee transitions such as training the new employees and implementing effective hiring practices.
Every business should perform annual assessment of the workforce. This is because the business owners have to take crucial decisions as to whether retain and train the under-performing employees or not. Other decisions include: allocating new responsibilities to the promoted employees, finding out employees’ strengths & weaknesses and delegating suitable tasks based on skills and capability. Thus, consultants can prove to be of great help when business owners need to revive and revitalize the workforce.
4. Technical Obsolescence & Upgradations:
Due to rapid changes in technology, every business is recommended to upgrade to latest solutions before losing ground to their competitors. Still, there are many businesses that are either not aware of the latest technology or they lack guidance in implementation of the same. Such businesses keep following outdated approaches. They are hesitant to adopt a new approach in absence of proper guidance.
Business owners should have their technology and working methods examined by a specialist, at least once in a year. Consultants, being specialists in their sphere, always keep tabs on viable solutions and latest approaches for their clients. They recommend the suitable approach based on the needs and capacity of the organization.
From the above points, it is clear that Consultants are specialists in multiple areas of business operations. The benefits derived out of the services of consultants are long-term. Therefore, be it financial, human resource or strategic issue, hiring a specialist consultant helps keep the overall health of your business in good condition.