Category Archives: Business Management

Top Management Consulting Firms

Top Management Consulting Firms

Management consulting is a sought-after, high rewarding field of work for many. The profile of a management consultant is considered among the highest paying jobs. It is a job that demands filling up technical gaps that exist in an organization to improve its productivity and efficiency. The management concepts are the cornerstones of these firms. Firms hiring such consultants are many, but the ones that top the list are only a few. Getting there takes a great deal of effort, which includes formal training and a good work experience. Consulting firms are breeding grounds of the best intellectual, analytical, and creative minds in the present day’s highly competitive and fast-paced corporate scenario. Here’s taking a look at list top firms with a brief overview.

Accenture
Leading the list is Accenture, the world’s largest, and the most famous. It is considered to be a leader in the areas of systems integration and business process engineering. The company has presence in over 80 countries around the globe. Accenture is a spin off, of Arthur Andersen Consulting, a famous firm in its own right. Accenture grew bigger in terms of revenues and presence than Arthur Andersen by 2001.

McKinsey
Closely following is McKinsey. This is a privately owned management consulting firm with more 80 offices around the globe and odd 15,600 employees. This firm also finds itself in the top financial consulting firms. McKinsey has divided its work in 7 broad verticals, each having its own specialist skilled consultants to provide thoughtful, in-depth solutions to any problems the client might be facing. McKinsey’s clients range from nearly every sector and from every country, from automotive giants in U.S. to some government department or NGOs in India.

Deloitte Consulting
Consulting arm of Deloitte & Touche, Deloitte Consulting has a workforce of 15,000 professionals spanning over 33 countries. The impressive list of clients comprises more than one-third of companies in Global Fortune 500 list. It’s services includes consulting for tax advisory and financial advisory services, strategic and operational management consulting. Managing consulting verticals also include strategy and operations management, technology/systems integration and human capital. The main targets of this consulting firm are public sector, real estate, life sciences and health care, consumer business, financial services, manufacturing, technology, media, and communications, energy and resources, aviation and transport.

Boston Consulting Group (BCG)
Privately held management consulting company, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) was established in 1968 by Bruce Henderson. Their major claims to fame have been contributions to management theories and practices, like the BCG Matrix for example. With 6,000 employees spread over 65 offices, this is one of the top most firms, as none can match their high quality strategic consulting work. For those seeking high management consulting salaries, this is the place to be. This intellectually driven company has an insightful and out-of-the-box solutions for its esteemed list of clients.

Bain and Company
Focus of Bain and Company is at developing and increasing operational efficiency and developing marketing strategies. Bain is also heavily involved in consulting in financial domains like mergers and acquisitions, private equity investments and transformation plans. Bain has over 4,000 professionals and shares a close affiliation with Bain Capital, an elite private equity firm, known for outstanding large investments.

Booz & Company
The oldest management consulting firm Booz & Company, was founded in 1914, and was the first one ever to coin the term “management consultant”. It provides consulting for both public and private sectors. The company employs more than 3200 people operating in 57 offices in 33 countries. Booz Allen Hamilton, is Booz’s venture which only provides consulting services to the U.S. Government.

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC)
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) is one of the world’s largest providers of assurance, tax, and business consulting services. With 757 cities across 154 countries and employs over 161,000 people the company posted a profit of $26.6 billion in 2010. It is the largest provider of management consulting jobs related to accountancy. This is the reason why PwC hired a number of CFAs, CAs, and lawyers.

Profits posted, businesses acquired, and returns yielded on investments decides the management consulting firms’ ranking. Such consulting firms usually work on a hybrid model of pricing. Traditionally the firms billed the clients solely on the basis of time and material. In this model, the consultant’s man hours and other out of pocket expenses or overheads were charged to the client. By the mid 2000s there was a dramatic shift towards a more result oriented approach to pricing, and the two models have been combined and adopted by major firms to charge their clients.

World over there are many management consulting firms that deliver services in various areas of management and operations. Mainly we can define seven broad areas of management services that these firms cater to, namely, business technology, corporate finance, marketing and sales, operations, organization, risk, and strategy. Today many non-consulting companies and IT companies are making great strides in the world of consulting too.

Basic Business Management Skills

Basic Business Management Skills

The verb manage comes from the Italian word maneggiare which means handling (especially a horse), which is derived from the Latin word manus meaning hand. In the 17th and 18th centuries, meaning of the English word management evolved from the Old French word mesnage.
“Management is the art of getting things done through people,” says management consultant Mary Parker Follett. People are perhaps the most valuable resource of a business. But there are others, like financial resources, infrastructural resources, inventory, and technology, whose optimum use is essential for effective business management. According to Peter Drucker, “Managers give direction to their organizations, provide leadership, and decide how to use organizational resources to accomplish goals.”
Management skills are classified as political (used in building power and business networking), conceptual (used in analysis of situations), diagnostic (used in taking an action in response to a situation), technical (domain knowledge), and interpersonal (people skills).
Management quote by Peter Drucker
Frenchman Henri Fayol describes management as a composition of five functions, namely planning, organizing, commanding, coordination, and control. Modern texts have reduced them to four, which include, planning, organizing, leading, and controlling.
Planning in management
Planning
Planning involves identification of your business goal and finding the way to reach it. It involves the estimation of various costs that will be incurred and evaluation of the time required to attain the business goal. A business plan has to be documented and reviewed on a regular basis. A plan is worth it if the attainment of the business goal is feasible with the allocated resources.
Organizing
It involves the assignment of tasks and allocation of resources throughout the business organization. It includes determining the primary goals of the business and strategies to reach them. It includes division of activities into tasks and assignment of the tasks to suitable and deserving employees.
Commanding
Commanding or leading is a management skill in itself. A true leader builds confidence in his followers and instills a feeling of admiration in them. He develops in them a sense of commitment towards business. A leader influences others to follow him. Understanding the need of the time, leaders need to be flexible and adaptable to change. They should help encourage the development of flexibility and adaptability in the team members.

Being innovative is important for business growth. Leaders need to be open to new ideas, they need to innovate, bring in positive change as and when needed, and progress. Progress is hardly possible without innovation. A leader should not just dream big but also provide his followers with a framework to fulfill those dreams. Innovation includes both imagination and action in accordance with it. Delegation is another important aspect of leading. It refers to allocation of tasks to the right people. It involves entrusting deserving candidates with work that they can do best.
Coordination and control in management
Coordination
Coordination involves effective communication between team members and across teams. It is useful in tracking activities towards achievement of goals. Mary Parker Follett, an American social worker and management consultant, says that coordination is the “Plus value of the group”. That is, a well-coordinated group can achieve more. Coordination involves integrating and synchronizing the efforts of team members towards fulfillment of a common goal. It is crucial for taking decisions about the future lines of action.
Control
Control refers to setting standards, ensuring that the performance meets the set standards, and taking corrective action as and when necessary. Taking a corrective action needs prior analysis of the causes of performance deficit. Control is best-implemented in the form of able guidance given to employees by their manager. Evaluations are necessary to track employee and business performance.

Coordination and control are important for the success of a business. Business is ‘busy-ness’. In simple words, it refers to the act of being busy in productive work. Management is the process of measurement of the amount of work being done. It also involves assessing the quality of work and productivity.
Business management skills cannot be confined to the definition of any one management theorist. The definition of management has evolved over time and the role of a business manager is no longer limited to only planning work and overseeing its execution. Considering the competition and changing market trends, a business manager needs to be a thinker and communicator. He needs to have an in-depth understanding of his business and its resources. Here, we look at these and certain other skills that make a good business manager.
Directed Thinking
Simply put, it refers to thinking towards a specific goal. The ability of directed thinking is crucial to develop a business idea as it involves logical, purposeful thinking to reach a particular goal. It is an important part of problem-solving, and can fall under both, conceptual and diagnostic business management skills.
Effectiveness
One more quality that a skilled manager should possess, is the willingness to work effectively towards the achievement of his business goal. Management guru Peter Drucker made a distinction between ‘efficient’ and ‘effective’. According to him, performing an activity swiftly and economically refers to being efficient, while doing the right thing at the right time, with efficiency, refers to effectiveness. Good business management skills lead you to the right goals. On the other hand, doing the wrong things or doing things in the wrong direction is a waste of time and resources. In other words, it’s the exercise of efficiency to no avail. A leader should know how to prioritize business activities. He should be able to understand what’s important for the business and differentiate it from what is urgent. It is important for effective business management.
SWOT analysis for management
Knowledge of Strengths and Opportunities
Effective business management asks for a complete knowledge of the strengths and growth opportunities a business has. Knowing the strengths requires an understanding of the availability and potential of the business resources. A complete understanding of the business and competition can help a manager understand the prospects of his business.
Knowledge of Weaknesses and Threats
As a leader, one should be able to understand the weaknesses of his organization and try to improve on them. A manager must be able to identify the threats to his business and fight them effectively. He should have the skill to endure every setback and learn from mistakes or bad decisions. Successful business development strategies used by others can help a business manager devise his own. This is where the skill to ‘experiment’ comes in the scene. Experimentation needs to be accompanied by the right judgment of actions and results.
Business management includes management of all business/organizational resources. And that includes management of money, time, and people. Proper prioritizing and scheduling of tasks for oneself and the team is an important constituent of business management. Management of money is integral to running a business. The activities of buying, selling, and pricing have to be done skillfully. Business management is not a cakewalk. It includes everything from planning, supervising, right up to being the spokesperson for your business.
People Skills
A business manager needs to possess people skills for effective management of human resources. A manager should be able to bring out the best from his team. Difficult people, those with rigid opinions and those not adaptable to change, need to be dealt with. Identification of errors followed by instructions for improvement need to come from a manager. He needs to imbibe in the minds of others that improvement is a continuous process and is essential for growth. A manager should take every opportunity to appreciate the efforts of his team members and celebrate the team’s successes. This encourages them to work to the fullest of their capacities. A manager should have the ability to keep the team’s spirits high and keep the people motivated. It’s human psychology to like getting noticed for one’s work. It’s not unnatural for one to expect recognition for his work. One of the most important business management skills is to be able to encourage your team members, extract work from them and appreciate them for it.
Approachability
Another managerial skill is to create and maintain an open atmosphere in the team. The team members should feel free to voice their concerns and always feel assured of their concerns being heard. There should be a proper hierarchy for communication within the organization. It is a good practice to assign relatively experienced employees as buddies for those newly-joined so that the new recruits do not feel unheard. This way, everyone in the organization has a point of contact.
Communication Skills
Communicating in a way that everyone understands is a skill a manager should have. That’s essential for teamwork and thereby for business management. In the words of Henry Ford, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” This is what teamwork means. Developing a team spirit and maintaining it through thick and thin of a business is indeed a management skill. Keeping people together needs a manager to be a good communicator. Being able to convey one’s ideas to people, and getting good work done from them, is a skill. Communication should be effective. A business manager needs to exercise his communication skills, not just when interacting with the team, but also when communicating with external agencies; for example, during business negotiations or when addressing customer issues. That depends on your job responsibilities in the organization, but communication is an important part of a managerial role.
Foresight in management
Foresight
It is important in business management. A business manager needs to be able to sense trouble ahead of time. He needs to be prepared for it and plan work and devise strategies accordingly. Foresightedness helps a manager assess future needs of the business and identify emerging fields for diversification.

An excellent example of a business developer with foresight, was Steve Jobs. “You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new,” he said. He believed in anticipating customer needs in advance to be able to give them products they would start wanting.
Management is about taking the right decisions at the right time and getting them implemented by the right people. Effective business management requires a manager to have certain basic skills like the ones given above. And one very important, yet not-so-common thing he needs to have is common sense.

Management Styles and Techniques

Management Styles and Techniques

A leader or a manager should be very careful, while choosing the business management styles and techniques for an organization. This is because the success of an organization depends upon the kind of management styles and the management skills which the managers exhibit. Some management styles are people oriented, while others are project or work oriented. Here are the three management styles which are primarily used by the managers in today’s organizations.

Management Styles

Teamwork Style

Here, tasks are accomplished by constituting teams first, and then dividing the tasks among the teams. It is commonly observed that tasks are accomplished more efficiently through teams. That is why most organizations follow this style of management. The different team members bring their knowledge to the table while accomplishing various tasks, and hence, tasks can be done more quickly in teams rather than by individuals on their own. In order to function properly, there should be proper workplace communication between the various team members and also between the manager and the team members. “Team spirit” is a prerequisite for the success of this style of management.

Directing Style

In this style of management, the manager communicates the “goals, expectations, and standards” to the employees very clearly in the beginning itself. The manager is in direct control of the situation literally, i.e., he dictates to the employees what tasks have to be done, how they have to be done, and the deadline for those tasks. The manager has all the decision-making powers and seldom asks the employees for a feedback. This management style is considered slightly impersonal, but sometimes, such situations arise in organizations, such as meeting a deadline or when the number of employees is too huge, that only top-down management approach or directing style of management can bring desired results.

Participatory Style

Participatory style of management is based on the principle of “faith”. Under this style of management, the leadership and management places full faith in the abilities of the employees. The tasks are given directly to the employees and are well-explained to them in advance. Their inputs on the tasks are also given due importance. The employees know how their work is fitting into the organization’s big goals. When their inputs are sought and they are also made aware how important they are to the health of the organization, their motivation levels become very high and they perform better. This style is usually seen in smaller organizations with lesser number of employees.

Management Techniques

Management techniques are those management concepts or strategies, which are followed to run an organization efficiently and profitably. Management techniques, whether pertaining to employees, the customers of the organization or the partners, in case of partnerships, should be chosen only after evaluating the needs of all three. An example of a management technique pertaining to employees is the use of incentives, so as to motivate them, or to provide them with training in order to update their skills. Management techniques pertaining to customers are usually aimed at keeping them happy and satisfied so that they keep on coming back. An example of this, could be the various discount offers that are given to the customers on special occasions, such as Christmas. Whatever management techniques are chosen by organizations, the main thing to consider is that they should fulfill the needs of the organization and also, of the employees, customers and the partners.

According to business experts, the most effective techniques are those that are a mix of all the styles. The management styles that are followed, should depend upon the situation that an organization is facing. In the fast changing business environment, it will neither be practical nor profitable, to stick to only one style. That is why the management gurus, when giving management tips, always insist that only the organizations that evolve their management techniques, according to the ever-changing corporate culture, will survive to see the future.

Effective Financial Management Tips

Effective Financial Management Tips

 Financial management means putting together the economic resources at hand to make efficient use of them and taking decisions that can successfully culminate in acquiring more assets for the family or business. With effective utilization of funds, you can even attract finance to meet the short-term and long-term requirements of the family or firm. The whole process is intense and deals with the selection of specific or a combination of assets to deal with the monetary issue, if any. The overall aim is to reduce the size of the problem and ensure fiscal growth of the enterprise or family funds.

Financial Management Analysis

This analysis deals with the calculated and predicted cash inflow and outgoings. The analysis is directed towards the study of the effect of existent funds on managerial objectives. It handles everything, right from procuring the funds to effective utilization of the same. Dedicated analysis handles procurement of funds from multiple sources, and since the funds are from different sources, they naturally need to be addressed, considering the difference with regards to the potential risk and control.

Tips

This management practice involves the optimum use of funds issued via equity, especially in the case of a business. This source is the best from the risk point of view since there is no involvement of any repayment. Management of business funds should ideally capitalize on equity capital, in spite of it being the most expensive source of funds. Furthermore, it should also involve calculation of risk, cost and control, and maintenance of the cost of funds at minimum. This is done with the intent of establishing a proper balance between the involved risk and optimized control.

Tapping Foreign Investments
In today’s competitive business world, mobilization of funds is very important. The implications play a very significant role in the overall growth of the venture. Financial management involves the raising of funds through the domestic and foreign market. When considering overseas solutions, direct and foreign institutional investments are major resources to tap, in order to raise the required funds. This whole mechanism designed for effective procurement of funds has to be periodically reviewed and modified, understanding the changing requirements of foreign investors.

Utilization of Funds
The ultimate goal cannot be addressed or achieved without first designing a strategy to ensure the proper utilization of funds. This helps to evade situations in which the funds remain idle or lack of profitable utilization of funds in hand. When availing of funds for the business, it is important to understand the involved cost and risk factors. Wastage of funds will only result in the business objectives not being met and ultimately, loss. The funds existent within the business should be critically reviewed from time to time and employed properly and profitably.

Scope and Extent
It has become imperative to address sound financial management in all types of organizations to guarantee efficient use of all resources. Research reveals that many firms liquidate because of mismanagement of funds and not, as it is commonly believed, because of obsolete technology or the lack of skilled labor. It is, in general, designed and customized according to different client needs to optimize output from the assessed fund input. In a situation where resources seem scarce and the demand for funds is high, its proper utilization is an absolute necessity.

The objectives of efficient financial management include maximization of profit. However, profit maximization is a limited objective and if it becomes the sole focus, then the approach only leads to more problems. This aspect must take into consideration, the relationship between risk and profit and work towards achieving a balance. The value of a business is analyzed on the evaluation of the stock market price. Thus, all in all, this financial practice should take into account, present and expected future income and the dividend policy of the firm to come up with a near-perfect understanding of the company’s progress potential.