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A consultant (from the Latin consultare meaning "to discuss" also the basis of words such as consul and counsel) is a professional who provides expert advice in a particular area of expertise. Various consultants offer advice in management, accountancy, the environment, entertainment, technology, law (tax law, in particular), human resources, marketing, emergency management, food production, medicine, finance, statistics, software, life management, economics, public affairs, communication, engineering, sound system design, graphic design, or waste management.
A consultant is usually an expert or a professional, in a specific field, who also has a wide knowledge of the subject matter. A consultant usually works for a consultancy firm or is self-employed, and engages with multiple and changing clients. Thus, clients have access to deeper levels of expertise than would be feasible for them to retain in-house, and may purchase only as much service from the outside consultant as desired.
Ways in which consultants work
Some consultants are employed by a consult staffing company, a company that provides consultants to clients. This is particularly common in the technology sector. Consultants are often called contractors in the technology sector in reference to their employment contract.
Strategy consultants are common in upper management in many industries. There are also independent consultants who act as interim executives with decision-making power under corporate policies or statutes. They may sit on specially constituted boards or committees.
Consultants work at client places on behalf of a consultancy or Billing company.
- Pieter P. Tordoir (1995). The professional knowledge economy: the management and integration services in business organizations. p.140.