The attractions of the scheme will vary according to different types of consulting firms, which can be distinguished as follows:
- Larger firms with well defined management processes and infrastructure. This category would also include the business advisory practices of the audit and accounting firms, a number of whom explicitly avoid the use of the term 'consulting', using “business advisory” instead, but are by any measure, actively involved in consulting to businesses.
- Small and medium sized firms that do not have well defined and managed processes for recruiting, training and development, appraisals and performance reviews.
The reality for global consulting businesses is that their individual brands will be the key determinant of market awareness and perceptions related to ethics, professionalism, professional development, etc. The ACP designation is beneficial, but will generally not be viewed by them as a key determinant in how they are perceived in the market and their success.
In the large, multi-service firms, in which management consultancy is but one element of their service offering, ACP arrangements may be of particular attraction to the partners or directors responsible for the management consultancy strand by giving them a means of protecting their professionalism from the pressures from the rest of the firm to dilute professional standards.
For the larger firms that are interested in becoming an ACP, the value proposition needs to have an explicit economic benefit. Typically, these might include:
- The potential for reduced attrition. Recruiting and training consultants is a significant cost and unwanted attrition adds considerably to the costs of running a practice. Becoming an ACP demonstrates a practice’s support to consulting as a career choice, and reinforces the professional standing of consultants. The opportunity to acquire CMC status should increase the attractiveness of a practice as an employer and reduce attrition.
- Institutes might offer advantageous subscription rates to CMC members through an ACP, provided the number of members exceeded a minimum volume.
NOTE: For those large consulting companies operating on a global basis the ICMCI has introduced the concept of the CMC Firm, offering worldwide accreditation awarded directly from the ICMCI.
Small and medium sized firms
Small and medium sized firms benefit by having their core management processes defined and, through the ACP process, reviewed and audited. For the smaller firms, the ACP can help ensure that effective management processes are in place to manage and grow their business. The other benefits as outlined above for the larger firms would also apply to the medium sized firms and to a lesser degree, the smaller firms.