The Future of the Firm

Conversations with experts that explore the big trends shaping the professional services industry.

The future of the professional services industry has never been so opaque. As we hurtle along an uncertain trajectory, services from audit to consulting will all need to be radically re-imagined. On this podcast, we explore the changing face of the industry, and what that means for firms that want to compete—and win—in the modern knowledge economy.

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What impact will coronavirus have on professional services?

It’s clear right now that we’re in unprecedented times for the global economy. Across the world, professional services firms are trying to understand what impact COVID-19 will have on their own ability to continue operating and on their demand pipeline. In this episode, we explore the potential impact of the pandemic on the professional services sector, and talk about what we’ll be doing to support listeners of our podcast through this challenging period.

Fiona Czerniawska; and Fergus Blair

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What even is consulting?

Consulting is, to put it bluntly, not an easy industry to navigate. The dizzying array of firms out there – all offering jargon-laden, overlapping bundles of services – make it hard for even seasoned industry-watchers to accurately describe the landscape of the sector. But what if there was a better way to talk about consulting services?

Fiona Czerniawska; Edward Haigh; Edward Edgcumbe; and Fergus Blair.

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Has anyone cracked account management?

A recurring theme of our podcast has been the way in which professional services firms are becoming increasingly complex and difficult to navigate. But as a consequence of that shift, the role of the account manager has become more important than ever. In this episode, we explore how firms are reinventing the way they manage client relationships, and what that means for you.

Our Emerging Trends report on The Future of Account Management is due to be published in March.

Edward Haigh; Alison Huntington; and Fergus Blair.


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Is there a “best” brand strategy?

Professional services firms live and die by the strength of their brand. But there is precious little consensus about how to develop and protect it; different companies have taken very different approaches to brand management. In this podcast, we explore the pros and cons of different brand strategies.

Edward Haigh; Alison Huntington and Fergus Blair.

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Should you be offering your clients discounts?

The prevalence of discounting is one of the consulting industry’s biggest open secrets. For many firms, the rate card is more of a useful fiction than anything else. Should firms be wary of the long-term impact of discounting too much? Or is it all part of playing the game?

Fiona Czerniawska; Edward Haigh; and Fergus Blair.

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What would a discretionary audit look like?

Nobody likes getting audited. But does that have to be the case? By asking what a discretionary audit would look like, we can better understand the opportunities for auditors to use new technology to make their services more attractive to clients.

Fiona Czerniawska; Edward Haigh; and Fergus Blair.

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How can you measure the value of a consultant?

Consulting is an industry with a perennial value problem; because the work that consultants do can often be relatively abstract and strategic, it can be difficult to prove the value created by a given project. Is there anything that firms can do to help make their unique value-add more concrete in the eyes of clients?

Fiona Czerniawska; Edward Haigh; and Fergus Blair.

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What if consultants gave up flying?

The stereotype of consultants is that they spend all their time jet-setting around the world; George Clooney even made a film about it. But in an age when all of us are having to think more about our environmental footprint, is it time for consultants to become a little more grounded?

Fiona Czerniawska; Edward Haigh; and Fergus Blair.

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What is the future of managed services?

The managed services model has historically been associated more with technology outsourcing than with high complexity advisory services. But in recent years, an increasing number of consulting firms have appropriated this model and begun offering continuous support to their clients in critical business areas. In this episode, we examine this trend, and ask whether it represents the inevitable future of management consulting.

Fiona Czerniawska; Edward Haigh; and Fergus Blair.

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Is it time to retire the rate card?

The trusty time and materials pricing model may have served consulting firms well for decades, but is it on its last legs? In this podcast, we look at the growing appetite for linking project fees directly to outcomes, and ask whether this really is the future of the industry.

Fiona Czerniawska; Edward Haigh; and Fergus Blair.