In your opinion is there a difference between consulting and advising services?
What are your thoughts on the concept of consulting vs. advising when it comes to providing your clients with your knowledge and expertise for the services that you provide. Is there really a difference (in your opinion) between the two? Or is it just a choice for marketing preference purposes?
I view a consultant as a technical expert. They are hired to execute a project for which they are particularly suited. The project is defined and there are expected time frames, deliverables and budgets. An adviser need not be a technical expert but rather is one that guides and/or augments the actions taken by another. That said, it is quite possible that a consultant may advise during the course of an engagement.
Big differences, assuming you mean business advisors and business consultants. Advisors will analyze a situation, prepare a report of findings and (hopefully) recommendations and give that to you. A business consultant will do the same but will then help you physically implement the recommendations.
Some examples with my definitions: Your CPA Firm are advisors; your external CFO is a consultant. Your tax advisor is an advisor; ADP is your consultant in processing your payroll. The SBA is an advisor on establishing a corporation, your law firm or Legal Zoom in the consultant. I avoided the misconstrued definition of consultant as somebody who offers technical services.
Too often companies hire advisors and when presented with the report, have no clue what to do. Way back when, a client said that to me and from that point on we called ourselves "Solutionists" - we tell you the problems, the solutions and we implement the same.
The meaning is similar, but in practice, companies and individuals will present themselves as one or the other. This is usually depending on whether they are primarily offering expertise (advisor) or services (consultant). The point is that it is up to a person to define HIMSELF or HERSELF as a consultant or advisor.
What does a Consultant do?
A consultant is engaged in fulfilling pre-defined terms such as solving problems or underlying constraints. These terms are defined by a sponsor or stakeholder and usually the consultant is presented with a task after the need to solve a particular problem has already been identified.
Sometimes it is expected from a consultant to take care of the problems on their own and report the solution to the sponsor. More often however the consultant will prepare options of how to solve the problem and then discusses pro’s and con’s with the sponsor.
In rare cases a consultant is used to replace a management position temporarily until a long term replacement has been hired.
What does an Advisor do?
An advisor has deep knowledge across multiple disciplines and has experience in working in several functions. The role of the advisor can be compared with a mentor or guide around a wide scope of subjects and differs categorically from the scope of a task specific consultant.
The advisor is usually a long term member of an organisation and understands the organisation’s strategic targets of near-, mid- and far-future planning. He or she knows the staff, the leadership, clients and all other related individuals and their services / products very well and is able to translate perspective and verbiage from one angle to another.
Advisors identify issues (or tasks in general) before they become a problem and share their opinion and insight with the stakeholders. They raise their concern in an adequate way and help to address work items in order to clear out the “threat” of not engaging in this particular activity. The advisors usually decides on their own how much of their own time they invest in the activities, based on the issues severity.
So in a compact format, what is the difference between a consultant and an advisor?
Consultants act retroactive, advisors act proactive
Both consultants and advisors can be either external or internal
Consultants have functional roles, advisors are usually part of the leadership
Consultants are usually hands-on problem solvers, advisors lay out the plan and explain necessity
Consultants usually work with sponsors or stakeholders and not with advisors directly
There is no difference in the quality of work about these two roles, they do different work
Consultant are specialized / expert in the field of operation whereas Advisors are generalized to the business management.
Consulting and advising are just alike. They considered to be synonyms in terms of business. But if we dig deeper, we will know how the two differ from each other. I found a link that discusses the difference between the two. http://goo.gl/89CYDf
Hope it helps.
The answers you got are terrific..... Advisors to me are more general, consultants maybe a little more specific....
In my opinion, as others have stated, consultation is a give and take, interactive process whereas advising is a one-off, single-pass-over thing - just a second opinion from an expert.
All the experts have elaborated it excellently, some with even insightful examples and I would not add much, I guess! Nonetheless, I would share my own experience in this context that made me realize the difference. As long as you are analysing something and offering your advice to better it from a well-wisher’s point of view, you are an Advisor. An entity that would not be the part of carrying out the actual process that is being suggested and hence won’t necessarily be held responsible for the outcome. This makes it obvious that an advisor normally receives ‘Honorarium’ for being there whenever his/her advice is sought. On the other hand Consultant is expected to take a review of the situation, come up with effective ideas and lead the implementation from front. That makes the Consultant accountable for the outcome of the project and his/her role being a ‘strategic leader’ requires him/her to be involved throughout in the project. That’s why Consultant is paid ‘Professional Fees’ with respect to the Project turnover / profitability, as the case be. However, the roles of Advisor and Consultant could be interchangeable depending on the gravity of the situation and client’s call on that; consultant in the normal course graduates to be an advisor and in rare cases, it takes a reverse course.