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What is Financial Consulting?

By Carol Francois
Updated May 16, 2024
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Financial consulting is a service provided by Certified Financial Consultants® to large corporations, government agencies and individual clients. The role of a financial consultant is to provide an independent, expert opinion on a proposed business plan or decision. There are two main types of financial consulting: business and personal.

Companies who require expertise in accounting, finance, insurance and other aspects of finance hire a business financial consultant. Individual clients use the services of financial consultants to manage their investments, property holdings and long-term financial plans. The skills required for these two roles are slightly different, as are the client expectations.

A Certified Financial Consultant® (CFC®) is a professional designation obtained from The Institute of Financial Consultants®, upon successful completion of an education program and examination. This designation is internationally recognized and is an important professional credential to obtain a position in this field. CFC®s are required to complete professional development courses each year to ensure they are up-to-date on the latest theories and business practices.

In a business financial consulting arrangement, the client has a specific plan or concept they want an independent opinion about. The role of the consultant is to review the proposed plan and identify strengths and weaknesses. They are also expected to provide advice on risk management, pending government regulations, industry trends and long-term viability.

This type of work requires a background in accounting, finance, insurance and business management. Consultants usually have ten to fifteen years of practical experience in a wide range of related positions, prior to becoming a consultant. These experiences add value and perspective.

Personal financial consulting is usually a service required by people with significant financial resources and a complex investment portfolio. These services include investment advice, taxation planning, income management, risk assessment and long-term planning. These issues must be actively managed by a professional to obtain maximum benefit with the lowest amount of risk possible.

Consultants who specialize in this area usually have a background in accounting and financial planning. A minimum of five years experience in personal finance management is important, as is an open communication and review process. Although some firms offer estate planning, always consult with a lawyer on these issues to avoid any problems for your beneficiaries. Financial consulting offers a wealth of opportunities for employment, career advancement and professional growth. If you have an interest in a financial career, explore consulting as a career path.

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Discussion Comments
By Bertie68 — On Jun 02, 2011

@sweetPeas - I've been in a similar situation. I didn't really know the consultant that I had hired. I didn't have time to personally visit with him very often. So, I didn't really know if he was always paying attention to what was best for me.

I got to thinking it was more important to pay a lawyer to take care of my estate planning. Going to a few financial clinics and reading books and articles on money management helped me learn a lot. When I had enough confidence, I stopped the financial consultant services, and started taking care of things by myself.

I simplified my finances, and I'm taking care of things just fine. It's nice to be in control.

For people who just don't want to be bothered taking care of financial matters, it's probably best to hire a financial consultant.

By sweetPeas — On May 31, 2011

For five years now, I've been divorced and single. When I divorced, I didn't know much about finances so I hired a financial consultant. My assets are adequate, but not huge. I pay this consultant a large fee to give me investment and tax advise. Managing my income and planning for retirement are also part of his job.

I'm just wondering if I really need the services. I would like to take a class in money management and try to take care of my money matters on my own.

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