Dinesh Divekar
Business Mentor, Consultant And Trainer
V.Raghunathan
Process Industry Consultant / Soft Skill
Nashbramhall
Learning & Teaching Fellow (retired)

Dear members,
On one of the WA groups of HR, Administrator of the groups, Mr Rajaram Thorve, had raised the topic for discussion. The topic for the discussion was on role of consultants. He had raised the following questions:
Q. 1 Is the consulting more lucrative profession than working as full time professional in the organization?
Q. 2 Are the consultants working as the change agent for organizational development?
Q. 3 Can the consultants work as the authorised signatory to sign any denomination cheques and documents of the organization?
Q. 4 Why aren't the consultants held responsible for execution of any strategic plan or process to be able to get desired results or failure of any project or financial mess?
Somehow, I could not give my reply to this discussion. I have given the reply today. The replies to his questions are as below:
Q. 1 Is the consulting more lucrative profession than working as full time professional in the organization?
Reply: - To be a consultant, need not be lucrative per se. There is a limit to their earning. Today senior management professional in India earns anything between Rs 25L to Rs 1 Cr. How many consultants earn that kind of profit is a matter of debate. If they have that kind of capacity to earn, they do not remain as consultants and start their own company. Secondly, many persons enter into the profession of consulting after their retirement. Nevertheless, they may not have a zeal to grow. They consider it as just a “time-pass” activity. Others may start consulting before their retirement, but there could be few other reasons. In few cases, persons become unemployed in the mid of their career and to hide their unemployment, they become consultant.
Q. 2 Are the consultants working as the change agent for organizational development?
Reply: - To give the reply, first it merits clarification on the role of consultants. Consultants are Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). Because of their past tenure in various companies, and especially in MNCs, they acquire unique knowledge and skills. Once they feel that they no longer required to do regular work, they share their knowledge by charging some fee. Consultant’s role is advisory. They themselves cannot be change agent per se. Change agent has to be somebody from the organisation especially CEO.
Q. 3 Can the consultants work as the authorised signatory to sign any denomination cheques and documents of the organization?
Reply: - Consultant’s work externally. Therefore, generally organisations do not authorise them to sign important documents or financial instruments like cheque. Unless there are some vested interests, consultants are not empowered to be authorised signatories.
Q. 4 Why aren't the consultants held responsible for execution of any strategic plan or process to be able to get desired results or failure of any project or financial mess?
Reply: - Consultant can help in preparation of the strategic plan but execution is always the responsibility of CEO or MD. What if there is mismatch in the actual strategic plan and it’s execution? Why consultant should be held responsible?
Thanks,
Dinesh Divekar
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Let me try to add my thoughts following the elaborate detailing done by Mr Dinesh Divekar.
1.0 A consultant's job profile is different from a regular employee in many ways. The hours of work and responsibility levels are also different. We can also call it a case of PAY disparity according to role played by both.
2.0 Consultants are employed for making improvement or create development. We can say they are enablers or instrumental in doing certain things.Use of external expertise for internal gains by the organization, is one way of describing it.
3.0 An authorized signatory is supposed to represent his company. The client and consultant have their own companies and hence consultant cannot sign any instrument for the client's company.
4.0 Consultant's role is advisory. If a student fails teacher cannot be held responsible (save for exceptions). It is upto the client to take all of OR the part suggestions made by the consultant.Implementation is invariably client's purview. How well it is done is also a moot point.Once the client accepts the consultant's view, the responsibility becomes his. Many Consultants sign a contract where the limitations of their role and liability are clearly mentioned.
V.Raghunathan
Chennai
Dinesh Divekar and Raghunathan have given adequate answers to questions 2, 3 and 4. The answer to Q 1 depends upon how one defines a consultant. For example, there are a large number of consultancy firms that employ consultants who are hired out. Hence, whether these consultants get paid more than what an organisation's person gets, depends on the company and the level at which a person works.
Dear Mr Divekar,
Your reply to your questioner is well set, relevant and appropriate. Some of my views are given.
Submission 1: - To be a consultant, needs unique quality i.e. subject knowledge as well communication skill both verbal and writing. Even if quality of knowledge and communication skill is not all rather should have courage to stand-up alone, wide contacts and known in sphere.
Moreover, there is no fixed earning but are self-content. Consultancy and Service are two different aspects, where a consultant can turn to service holder but difficult for a service holder to turn consultant.
Submission 2:- The change agent role is taken by the employee but not by the consultant. The consultant can only guide if consulted over the matters of change and confusion.
Submission 3:- The consultant cannot be signing authority for the company as an outsider. In other cases, if consultant’s agency has been appointed or work sublet to act as to deal with the bill processing and make payments on behalf of the client.
Submission 4:- The consultant can be held responsible where one undertook the execution and key result. It depends upon nature of work clients upload with consultant. Does a legal consultant held responsible for court cases? The answer is always “No”
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