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Introduction to the Consulting Industry, Business and Industry Trends Analysis

Global consulting industry revenues (including HR, IT, strategy, technical, operations, management and business advisory services) will be an estimated $625 billion in 2022, according to Plunkett Research estimates.  In the U.S., consulting of all types, including management, scientific and technical, generated $330.3 billion during 2022, up from $303.3 billion the previous year.  Accounting and related services (such as tax return preparation) generated an additional $184.5 billion in 2021, up from about $170.9 billion during 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of the Census and Plunkett Research estimates.
The Coronavirus pandemic dampened budgets and spending at many types of corporations, government agencies and other enterprises.  Some consulting projects were postponed or reduced.  At the same time, however, consultants who work in the areas of ecommerce, online systems, HR, cybersecurity, strategy, supply chain and other areas may have seen booming business.  Going forward, structural changes in business, industry, education and government will create opportunities for many types consultancies that can deliver a true return on investment along with innovative ways to cope with rapid change.

Positive factors for the consulting industry over the mid-term:
1) Continued growth in health care expenditures and significant changes in health care coverage are creating demand for consultants.  This includes a focus on greater operating efficiencies and cost controls for care providers, creating a perfect environment for consulting.  Also, consultancies that assist enterprises in data analysis, in such areas as personalized medicine and patient outcomes, will be in demand.
2) In nearly all business sectors, consultancies that focus on projects that clearly reduce business costs and enhance operating profits in a reasonably short period of time will find a ripe corporate market (such as consultants who focus on cash flow enhancement, supply chain efficiency and automation).
3) Vast labyrinths of government regulation in the U.S. and in the UK/EU, for example in the ecommerce, consumer privacy and banking and investment industries, are creating numerous opportunities for consultants who can show companies how to navigate rapidly changing relationships between government and business, or how to deal with government oversight.
4) Consultants who assist firms in lowering employee costs are in high demand, as are those who specialize in change management (such as work-from-home) and employee productivity enhancement.
5) Consultants and advisors in information technology will be in high demand in the hot areas of artificial intelligence (AI), automation, the internet of things (IoT), data analytics, cybersecurity and technologies that enable remote/mobile workers.
6) Defense spending in the U.S. and some EU nations may lead to additional opportunities for defense-related consulting.
Source: Plunkett Research, Ltd.

     The top specialties in the consulting field are led by management consulting and technology consulting.  Management consultants assist companies with restructuring or strategy development, in order to enhance operating efficiencies, increase productivity and increase return on assets, as well as significant assistance in identifying and merging with other firms that are targeted for acquisitions.
Technology consultancies offer skilled services across the full spectrum of technology needs.  This includes consulting in telecommunications, software development, supply chain enhancement, factory automation, systems implementation and enterprise-level databases.  In recent years, much of this work has shifted to projects involving cloud computing, data analytics, mobile apps and mobile tools for workers in the field.  Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) work will be among the fastest-growing specialties for the long-term.  Consulting firms based in India have carved out a very significant market share in this field.  Other significant sectors within consulting include human resources and employee benefits consulting; risk management; and environmental and regulatory compliance.

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