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Sta. Mesa, Manila

College of Accountancy and Finance

Management Consultancy:

Management of the Client Relationship

ACCO 3143

Submitted by:
BSA 4-13
Group 4
Rose Dominique A. Sison
Gerdan Samuel A. Villareal
Camille Joyce Lacerna
Maybelle Joy Ewan
Renz Richard Ortiz

Submitted to:
Prof. Lilian M. Litonjua

Management of the Client Relationship

Management of Client/Consultant Relations
The consultant in any consulting engagement must maintain two key relationships. One
relationship is between the consultant and the problem-solving process. The other relationship is
between the consultant and the client. A requisite to the successful conduct of the problemsolving process is a harmonious relationship with the client.

organization that engages the services of the consultant.

individual(s) with whom the consultant has the initial and/or ongoing contracts.

For example, a client may be a private business enterprise, a governmental agency, a hospital,
a hotel, or a university. This persons discusses the engagement and its process with the consultant
and, at the completion of the engagement, accepts the final report from the consultant. Generally,
the client may be one or more of the higher-level managers or administrators of the enterprise.
While in smaller-scale engagements the client may consist of middle or lower-level managers.
Relationship must also be established by the consultant with other personnel of the clients
organization such as:

Administrators and employees who have information and facts concerning the problem

Managers and employers who are likely to be affected by the implementation of solution
to the problem situation.

Managers and employees who are assigned to perform tasks under the consultants

Managers and employees who are assigned to serve as a liaison or linkage on a daily
basis between the consultant and higher-level managers or other organizational units with
the support system.

How to Develop and Maintain Harmonious Relationships

To some employees of the client organization, the entry of a consultant could be
threatening and create a feeling of insecurity, animosity and hostility. At the very outset,
however, it is important that the client or entity understands that the consultant is hired in order
to create value for the organization. The motivation to call in a consultant arises because
managers have identified a project that they think will benefit the organization but they recognize
that they are not in a position to deliver it themselves. The reasons for their inability to deliver
may be articulated in the form of resource or skill gaps. In entering to fill these gaps, the
consultant is offering to complement and develop the role profile within the organization.
The consultant from the very start of an engagement, should aim to develop a sense of trust and
openness. The presence of a consultant in an organization oftentimes creates widespread anxiety
and fear. Specific measures should be taken to counteract this anxiety, fear and possibly hostility.
These measures should have the dual effect of introducing the consultant to the managers and
employees and answering the urgent question that have formed in their minds.
Harmonious relationships may be achieved through both written and oral means. A
written announcement, prepared jointly by the client and the consultant, should be issued as soon
as the terms of the engagement are settled. The announcement should be addressed to all
employees and managers within the organization who are affected by the problem situation. Oral
presentations should be made at meetings.
Several presentations will probably be needed, since each presentation should involve a
relatively small group of employees and managers from one of the affected areas.
At these meetings, the consultant should be introduced and should be willing to answer questions
concerning the engagement. Such questions may pertain, for instance, to the likely impacts of the
engagement upon the responsibilities and status of the affected employees. While certain

questions may affect organization managers attending the meetings, polite and earnest responses
from the consultant can establish incipient feelings of good will.
Harmonious relations can also be established through a round get-acquainted interviews.
The consultant should obtain appointments to meet all the managers who are affected by the
problem situation. During a typical interview, the consultant should chat about the
responsibilities and difficulties of the managers position. The consultants main goal during this
initial interview should be to establish a friendly relationship. While the consultant may
introduce the subject of the engagement, it will probably not be wise to delve into its details at
this time. Instead, the consultant might mention that the consultant would like to return for a
more in-depth discussion of the problem at a later time convenient to the manager.
During the engagement, the consultant should reflect an attitude of helpfulness. This
attitude may be achieved in various ways. The consultant may maintain an open-door policy,
welcoming the questions and communications of anyone at any time. The consultant can also
arrange meetings for discussion of the problems and provide written summaries of the meetings.
A final suggestion concerns the solution of the problem. The consultant should not directly tell
the client what decision to make that is, how to solve the problem. Instead, the consultant should
diplomatically guide the client toward the solution. For instance, the consultant might provide
copies of articles that discuss solutions by other organizations having similar problems. The
consultant might write memoranda summarizing the key factors and relationships in the problem
situation, as well as possible alternative solutions. The consultant might chair brainstorming
sessions concerning the problem situation.
Managing client expectations
An important aspect of maintaining harmonious relationship between you and the client
is by managing the expectations that are being developed. The main danger is of creating
expectation that cannot be met. It is particularly easy to over-promised something when selling
the product. If this occurs, the recipient will be disappointed. Such disappointments will be hard
to overcome in the future.

Consideration to be observe when communicating about the consulting project:

1. Be clear to what can be offered.
2. Be positive about what can be offered, but be realistic.
3. Be honest about the limitation of the product.
4. When talking about limitations, put them between positive statements.
Credibility refers to the recipients perception of the sender ability to satisfy the expectation
being generated. It is not a one-and-for-all thing; it is an ongoing thing which is build and erodes
overtime. However credibility is provided through evidence. Particularly this will center on the

Is what is being offered viable?

Does the proposer have the expertise/ability to make the offer?

Are the necessary resources in place?

How satisfactory have previous experience been?

What is the proposers reputation?

Confidence occurs if the level of credibility suggests that expectations will be achieved to the
degree that satisfies the concern about those outcomes not being achieved.
Maintaining client interest
Managers are so busy people. They will have many commitments. The consulting
exercise will be only of the projects they are involved. As events move on, the project progress,
the managers priorities will change. It is possible, even probable, that the importance of the
consulting project will diminish. If the managers interest is to be maintained, the consulting
team must keep the manager informed and motivated about the project.
Keeping up the communication:

Give the manager regular updates

Remind him of the outputs of the project

Check on how the business in developing

Remind him on what projects is the manager involve in now

Inform them how the consulting exercise will help them

Creating opportunities for client build-up

No matter how one begins in the consultancy profession, one will need connections that reach
into areas of prospective business.
A number of consultants could trace most of their current business to the following sources:
1. Business contacts gains throughout the business community
2. Speeches in professional and business organizations
3. Book written from experience
4. Referrals from speeches, books and articles
5. Word-of-mouth referrals.
Some suggestions on how business contacts can be established and made to grow are:
1. Join at least 3 organizations that offer regular meetings and the opportunity to interact
with peers in the industry. The Philippine Institute in CPA, Management Association of
the Philippines, Employers Association of the Philippines, Financial Executives of the
Philippines and other trade associations are excellent organizations because they provide
seminars, workshops and breakfast meeting with influential authorities, books, videos,
libraries and reference libraries that can be accessed by phones or internet. The dues are
reasonable and benefits are considerable.
2. Create a reference library that includes marketing resources and other publication that
will assist the consultant in marketing, implementation and even travel.

3. Establish a circle of information advisors and it a point to contact them once a month.
4. Establish collaborations with other consultants.
5. Mail to clients items of interests.
6. Mail to prospective client items of interest.
This move is considered very vital because of its cost-effective way of
keeping the consultants name in front of potential clients. This should be done
within the boundaries of the Code of Ethics.
7. Publish items in relevant periodical.
Publishing articles provide tremendous credibility and this effect should
be an ongoing one.
8. Offer probono work for community, government and non-profit organizations.
This work provides the opportunity for the consultant or practitioner to gain
visibility, meet potential contacts and demonstrate how the consultant can
successfully apply his/her expertise and will be interacting with other community
leaders many of whom are executives in local and national businesses.
9. Accept speaking engagements at trade associations and conferences.
Even if speaking is not an income source for the consulting firm, it should
be a publicity technique.
10. Create a website.
Presence on the Internet is a wonderful, passive marketing effort. The
consultants site should feature user-friendliness; graphics that are relevant and
helpful most of all, an interactive nature. Create a dynamic presence that impels
visitors to return on a regular basis.
11. Business listing in phonebook/ yellow pages.
If one has a business phone line, he automatically gets listed for free. But
for a modest amount, one can use bold print and some descriptive lines. This is
money well spent for your prospects and business expansion.
Selling of Consulting Services/ Marketing Professional Services
New business opportunities for most professional service organizations are created through
activities in four major areas. These are:


Present client activities.


Non-client relationships


Public Relations or promotional activities, and


Potential client activities

These may be performed by individuals, by a firm as a whole or by any segment within the firm.
A CPA undertaking these marketing activities should ensure that the Code of Ethics for
Professional Accountants in the Philippines are observed at all times.
Present Client Activities
The core of most new business activities for all firms normally emanates from the present clients.
In the professional environment, a start-up situation means providing services to a single client
or small group of clients and almost always preceded by a decision to start a public accounting
practice or consulting services. As far as the present clients are concerned, the business
development activities are usually directed towards client
1. Retention
2. Expansion of services
3. Generation of referrals for new business.
Retention. Many professional firms espouse quality services to current clients and at the
same time actively monitoring client satisfaction. They believe that it is easier to keep a current
client than to attract a new one. Emphasis in new client acquisition over client retention
overlooks the fact that most professional firms have grown through referrals from satisfied
clients and b meeting a full range of present client requirements.
Some activities that can be undertaken are:
1. Gather evaluation of personnel and performance through client satisfaction
letters, surveys or meetings.
2. Ensure that regular contact with significant clients maintained by more than
one key professional.
3. Develop client service planning which includes detailed plans for providing
additional services to key clients.

Expansion of Services. Another purpose of present client marketing is the so-called

cross-marketing of services to current clients. Many consultancy firms have realized
the substantial potential in providing further services beyond those originally proposed to
the client. The full range of consulting services being provided by accounting firms is a
further indication of the development of new business within the current client base.
Generation of Referrals. Satisfied current clients are the best single source of referrals
for additional clients of professional service firms. They should develop and cultivate
service and personal relationship with clients that will encourage referrals when an
opportunity arises. Current clients should be made aware of the firms full range of
services through brochures, newsletters, seminars and other programs.
Non-client Relationships- Third Party Referral Source Activities. Another important
activity that will facilitate building a consulting practice is the development of
relationships with significant third-party referral sources. These referral services
oftentimes are fellow professional who serve mutual clients. Accountants, lawyers,
investment bankers, insurance brokers, bankers and financial planners are frequently
cited as significant third-party referral sources.

Promotional and Public Relations Activities

Scope of Public Relations
The third general area for marketing professional services involves promotional and
public relations activities and includes a wide range of traditional as well as innovative
strategies. Because professional services are highly personal, most authorities agree that
promotional activities should be viewed primarily as vehicles for creating and enhancing
awareness of the firm.
Special activities that would fall under the heading of public relations/promotion range

from advertising to the sponsorship of golf tournaments to giving a speech at an appropriate

trade organizations. The following might be considered representative:

Institutional Advertising
Product and Service-Oriented Advertising
Seminar and Workshops
Articles in Professional or Industry Publications
Press Relations
Trade Shows
Participation in Community Trade and Professional Organizations
Symposia and Panels

Effective Promotional Activity

It is important to remember that all public relations/promotional activities should be
designed to establish contacts that can be enhanced on a personal basis as a follow-up to the
activity. If a seminar is conducted, an attendance list should be maintained so follow-up mailings
and telephone calls can be made to establish and enhance personal relationships. A professional
on a fund-raising committee for a community activity should make a point of getting to know
other committee members. Far too often, professionals see the public relations activities as the
goal rather that pursuing the opportunities the activity creates. In fact, the follow-up yields the
real benefits in marketing a professional services.

Seminars remain a popular tool for any professionals primarily because they offer an
opportunity to meet a large number of people and to demonstrate indirectly the quality of the
firms people and expertise. Both business executives and other professionals acknowledge

seminars to be an effective medium for the communication of expertise. Seminars that are
designed for a specific audience on a topic of interest, that are short (2 or 3 hours), and that
provide the participants with practical suggestions are typically the most successful. Seminars or
symposium cosponsored by two groups of professionals offers the opportunity for enhancing
relationships between participants. A CPA firm and bank might cosponsor a seminar on cashflow aimed at the clients of both organizations.

Community Involvement
From an idealistic standpoint, community involvement in civic and charitable
organizations offer professionals the opportunity to repay their communities; more
pragmatically, they also meet fellow professionals and future business contacts. Participation in
such activities should be based primarily on the individual professionals interest and desire to
contribute to the community. Enhancing the firms image and generating contracts, while
secondary, will be a fairly natural occurrence if those who participate really like what they are
doing .The involvement of a firms professionals needs to be planned, coordinated and
monitored, however, for maximum benefits to be derived. If a firm is developing a practice in
executive search, for example, it would be a serious omission not to become actively involved in
local trade groups made up of personnel managers. In all cases, leadership in such activities or
at least maintenance of a very high profile is highly recommend if good results are to be
achieved .
Abandoning clients gracefully
The vast majority of consultants fail to grow their businesses because they refuse to
abandon business. Growth depends on abandoning some lines and types of business in the
pursuit and acquisition of other, more productive lines of business. Continuing to take on
everything means that the consultants growth in expertise and reputation are not advancing.
Abandoning business should however not be harshly done. There are alternatives to

simply dumping the client and there are ways to attend to clients who, while they may not
represent the consultants future were certainly instrumental in building his/her practice. Some
suggestions are:

Explain to the client that certain assignments cannot be cost-effectively handled any
more. Other consultants may be referred to the client for consideration as a replacement.
But the responsibility for choosing someone appropriate and compatible is clearly the

Establish alliances with younger consultants who may want to align themselves with
more established practitioners in order to learn, obtain business and network.

Provide the client with advance notice that the consultant will be accepting lesser
assignments and doing lesser workshops and appearances.

Offer to transfer the skills to the client, if appropriate. Suggest some internal alternatives
and work with the client to replace the consultants expertise.

Whether the consultant is a one-person entrepreneurial consulting practitioner or a leader

of a growing firm of professional and administrative people, the following business conditions
could justify abandonment of some clients:
1. Beneath the growing fee structure
2. Unchallenging
3. Providing a reputation that does not fit the consultants growth strategy
4. Overly specialized
5. Unable to attract the kind of talent the consultant wants in his firm
6. Unable to attract the kind of references the consultant needs
7. In areas and industries that themselves are not growing
8. Unpleasant and/or has rude and offensive people
9. Unethical in its actions and/or borderline illegal
10. Harsh in its demands for travel, support, and other logistics

Finally, the consultant should examine his/her markets and clients before making hard,
steely decisions about leaving some of them. No matter how easy it is to accept a small
assignment without so much effort, these bottom-end pieces of business are simply not that
profitable. They bring in revenue, not profit. As a well-known consultant, Alan Weiss, said
It does not matter at all not at all what your billings are or how much you make. The only
thing that matters is how much you keep.