Lexington, Mass. (Oct. 3, 2003) -- Consultants will have to work harder to prove their value, according to a survey that shows that eight of out ten senior executives want consultants to become more results-oriented to deliver more quantifiable outcomes.

Among 200 U.S. companies surveyed that have hired consultants within the past five years, two-thirds of respondents say they're pressing consultants to complete projects in shorter time frames, and 68 percent suggest that management consultants should be held legally responsible for their advice and actions, according to the report, "Management Consulting in the USA 2003," commissioned by Celerant Consulting.

"I expect a consulting engagement to deliver payback within two quarters," one respondent said, according to the report. The firms surveyed operate within the energy, manufacturing, financial services, processes, infrastructure and fast-moving consumer goods industries and have annual revenues in excess of $500 million and 500 or more employees. Respondents were senior managers responsible for hiring external management consultants.

According to the report, consulting firms as a whole saw an average decline in annual revenues of from 6 to 8 percent in 2002, driven by changes in client demands and needs and in client expectations of project delivery and outcomes. Forty percent of executives surveyed rated the consulting projects they engaged in the past two yeas as being "very" or "extremely" successful in their roll out. The same percentage forecasted a shift in demand from strategy consulting to implementation consulting.

Implementation was cited by 48 percent of respondents as the most difficult part of the project delivery process. The primary hurdles to implementation included lack of support from staff (51 percent), problems with engagement in the project by management (50 percent), and a discrepancy between theory and putting recommendations into practice (45 percent).

-- WebCPA staff

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