Financial Consultants


Exploring this Job

You can learn more about financial issues by reading publications such as Barron’s (, the Wall Street Journal (, Forbes (, Bloomberg Businessweek (, Fortune (, and Financial Times ( (You might have to become a subscriber to be able to access certain sections of these publications online.) You should also check out professional journals such as Financial Executive ( and CFO (

Try to find a part-time job at a bank or an insurance company to get a basic introduction to the field.

Speaking with someone who has firsthand experience in the profession will provide helpful advice and tips. Ask a business teacher or a school counselor to arrange an information interview with a financial consultant. Prepare questions to ask during the interview to learn about the field, the responsibilities of the job, training requirements, and more.

The Job

Financial consultants apply their expertise in one or more financial areas to help clients with matters ranging from mergers and acquisitions, to risk management, to ensuring compliance with complicated financial laws. Internal financial consultants work as salaried employees for companies and other organizations, and they provide advice only to their employer. External financial consultants are employed by financial consulting firms such as Promontory Financial Group or by general management consulting firms such as McKinsey & Company and Oliver Wyman that have financial consulting practices. They work with clients on a project basis, and clients are billed by the hour for consultants’ services. Other financial consultants are self-employed and run their own consulting firms.

Financial consultants have a wide range of duties, depending on their employer and the needs of their clients. Examples of typical financial consulting engagements include the following:

  • Assisting clients with capital budgeting, financial statement preparation, and/or project valuation
  • Identifying and studying potential financial risks, and helping clients control their various risk exposures
  • Creating analytical tools for clients who need customized information on a wide range of issues that affect their industry—from corporate profit trends to federal tax policies
  • Helping an investment firm identify a strategy to reach a new target market
  • Consulting on methods of structuring mergers and acquisitions in order to minimize taxes
  • Evaluating and deciding on the optimal amount of liquidity for a private equity firm
  • Performing pre-merger due diligence and planning for aviation sector companies
  • Managing the integration of two multibillion-dollar acquisitions for a global tech company
  • Explaining the financial benefits and consequences of business decisions to members of top management
  • Assisting in corporate restructuring or offering “turnaround” consulting, in which consultants often step in and serve as temporary management when a client is facing challenging situations such as Chapter 11 bankruptcy
  • Developing financial strategies to create profits and shareholder value
  • Conducting internal business audits
  • Developing and managing information and financial reporting systems that track a company’s costs (such as manufacturing expenses, the cost of providing services, or the cost of labor and raw materials)
  • Helping a Fortune 500 computer manufacturer determine the expected financial impact of a new environmental regulation
  • Evaluating potential investments
  • Developing capital-raising plans to fund new programs
  • Designing compensation plans, retirement plans, and fringe benefit offerings for client companies so that the companies can provide financial incentives to employees at an acceptable tax and earnings cost