Professional Services market insights

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8 October 2020, CB Insights

Killing Strategy: The disruption of management consulting

Since former BCG consultant Clayton Christensen first used the term "disruptive innovation" in 1995, nimble startups have challenged incumbents in every field from music to manufacturing. Now, a tectonic disruption is hitting management consulting just as it has hit many other industries.

The industries that have proven the most vulnerable to disruption have been those with:

  • One or a few major players;

  • Relatively outdated business practices;

  • Slow technology adoption.

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August 2020 - 4 big FY20 results for the "Big-Four"

The Big 4 Release their FY20 Performance Results

Despite dramatic changes to the market and their businesses, the Big 4 posted solid results for FY20 in Australia:

  • The largest of the Big 4, PWC, was flat on FY19, earning $2.6bn in revenue in FY20.

  • Deloitte was the 2nd largest, earning $2.5bn in revenue, growth of 10% over FY19.

  • EY was the fastest growing in FY20, earning $2.13bn, 13% over FY19.

  • KPMG, the smallest of the Big 4, earned $1.905bn in FY20, growing 7% on FY19.

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June 2020 - Source Global Consultancy

All or something: A different approach to M&A in the consulting industry

We’ve written elsewhere on this blog about the extent to which clients are disaggregating traditional consulting services (strategy, operational improvement, etc.) and paying more attention to the more basic building block—the capabilities a firm has. But could this approach provide a different way of thinking about investment and inorganic growth in the consulting industry.

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10 June 2020 - Harvard Business Review

What M&A looks like during the pandemic

Is the coronavirus pandemic and corresponding economic downturn a time to halt acquisitions or pursue them? There are high profile examples of each. Boeing, for example, has abandoned a $4 billion deal to acquire 80% of Embraer’s commercial jet business and a 49% stake in a joint venture producing a new military cargo jet. At the same time, companies such as Google Cloud, Nestle SA, BlackRock, the British clothing company Boohoo, and others have all publicly stated that they are open to acquisitions despite the uncertainty created by coronavirus.

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17 May 2020 - Harvard Business Review

The case for M&A in a Downturn

Most companies are still in the early days of assessing the impact from the Covid-19 crisis on their business. But as they begin planning for the future, there may be opportunities to make one or more long-sought acquisitions.

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14 May 2020 - Source Global Research

Consulting's new frontiers of competition

It’s difficult to imagine a world with Coca-Cola but no Pepsi. Or with Roger Federer but no Rafa Nadal. Would Mercedes make the cars it does if there was no such thing as a BMW? Would Barça fans care as much about their team if Real Madrid didn’t exist? In life and in business, we often define ourselves by our competitors—and consulting is no different.

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25 March 2020 - Source Global Research

Coronavirus: impact on the global consulting market, APAC best off

Coronavirus to slash $30 billion from global consulting market, APAC best off.


The global consulting industry is facing a $30 billion coronavirus vape-out, but the Asia Pacific would be the most insulated according to one early analysis


February 2020 -

Consulting firms working on new Attack-class submarines

More than 130 companies have been selected to work on Australia’s Attack Class Submarine Programme, including over 25 leading consulting firms. The programme is a joint venture between Australia’s Department of Defence and French Defence Contractor Naval Group.

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January 2020 - AFR

CEOs reveal why they use Consultants

Australia's top chief executives believe consultants are useful for their outside view and specialist skills but are wary of having advisers replace staff in core operations.

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October 2019 - AFR

Top 5 most powerful people in Consulting - according to the AFR

Skipp Williamson, Founding & MD of Partners in Performance

The AFR Magazine's hotly-anticipated annual Power issue includes lists of the key players across six different industry sectors. Here are the top five most powerful people in consulting.

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October 2019 - IDC MarketScape

Worldwide Digital Strategy Consulting Services 2019 Vendor Assessment

Satisfaction with Digital Strategy Consulting Vendors Is Generally High Overall, digital strategy consulting services buyers are satisfied with what they are buying. IDC asked digital strategy consulting services buyers to rate their vendors on a scale of 1–5 across a range of capabilities and strategies (for more details, see the Strategies and Capabilities Criteria section).

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July 2019 - McKinsey Quarterly

How lots of small M&A deals add up to big value


Nearly a decade ago, we set out to answer a critical management question: What type of M&A strategy creates the most value for large corporations? We crunched the numbers, and the answer was clear: pursue many small deals that accrue to a meaningful amount of market capitalization over multiple years instead of relying on episodic, “big-bang” transactions.


May 2019 -

Australia's M&A Outlook shows reasons for optimism, says Deloitte

Merger & acquisition (M&A) activity in Australia is not only on the rise in tandem with the global economy, but also appears to be undergoing significant changes in composition and priorities. This is according to a new M&A report from global professional services firm Deloitte.

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April 2019 - AFR

Big Four forced to split UK consulting, auditing arms

The UK competition regulator has recommended the audit and consulting arms of the big four consulting firms Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC be split into separate operating units to reduce the influence of the consulting practices upon the smaller auditing divisions.

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May 2019 - IDC Marketscape

SAAS and Cloud enabled operational ERP applications report

IDC provides a different perspective on ICT markets, informed by its global research assets and its culture of methodological rigor. As the industry's leading ICT forecast and market share provider, IDC is uniquely positioned to provide a robust and unbiased vendor assessment.

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October 2018 - Innovation Consulting Services Provider

The eight providers that matter most and how they stack up

The Forrester Wave

It's imperative for business to innovate and reinvent themselves over the long term. Business and technology leaders are increasingly looking for support to strengthen their own innovation capabilities.


September 1982 - Harvard Business Review

Consulting is more than giving advice - Arthur N. Turner

Each year management consultants in the United States receive more than $2 billion for their services.1 Much of this money pays for impractical data and poorly implemented recommendations.2 To reduce this waste, clients need a better understanding of what consulting assignments can accomplish. They need to ask more from such advisers, who in turn must learn to satisfy expanded expectations.

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4 September 2020, Choe Tse Wei

The shifting M&A landscape amid Covid-19

A look at the trends that are becoming noticeable as business models are restructured, and the principles that could be relevant to decision-making.

The Covid-19 pandemic has challenged businesses in every sector across the globe, forcing many companies to rethink their strategies to survive and/or to emerge stronger. The scale of the crisis has impacted the merger and acquisition (M&A) landscape. Certain categories of M&A transactions have become more relevant, while other categories of transactions no longer make much sense .

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August 2020 - Michele Wucker

Why managing uncertainty is a key to leadership skills: The ability to cope with ambiguity is at a particular premium.

As it brutally disrupts life and business as we know it, COVID-19 has brought into sharp relief a crucial business skill: the ability to navigate uncertainty. That means knowing what you can control and what you cannot, aligning your company and employees with a shared purpose, holding to a clear vision of where you want the company to be, and trusting your team to help your company get there.

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21 May 2020 - Bain

Back to work

Recovery from Covid-19 will require resilience as companies advance, retreat, adapt - and repeat as necessary.

The post–Covid-19 world will accelerate some existing trends and create new ones, and all business models will have to evolve in order to grow and thrive. But there’s no way to accurately predict the coming year, and it’s a dangerous mistake to rely too heavily on forecasts, which have to be complemented with highly adaptive and resilient business models.

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2 June 2020 - McKinsey

Coronavirus: 15 emerging themes for boards and executive teams

As Winston Churchill said, “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” We are seeing some faint signs of progress in the struggle to contain the pandemic. But the risk of resurgence is real, and if the virus does prove to be seasonal, the effect will probably be muted. It is likely never more important than now for boards of directors and executive management teams to tackle the right questions and jointly guide their organizations toward the next normal.


17 May 2020 -

The state of M&A as Australia emerges from Coronacrisis

The global and Australia’s sharp turn in economic outlook is transforming the backdrop for mergers & acquisitions this year, according to a new study by Deloitte. While it is slowing down deal appetite, unique times also create unique opportunities.

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13 April 2020 - Harvard Business Review

10 questions to guide boards through the Pandemic

A useful guide to navigate unprecedented circumstances.


Some say that corporate boards only have value when companies are in crisis. If that is true, the 2020 global pandemic presents a moment for corporate boards to step up like no other.

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March 2020 - McKinsey & Company

Beyond coronavirus: The path to the next normal

The coronavirus is not only a health crisis of immense proportion—it’s also an imminent restructuring of the global economic order. Here’s how leaders can begin navigating to what’s next.


February 2020 -

Four major trends impacting professional services firms


The professional services industry is growing, with revenues and headcounts rising across the board. But the industry is increasingly being issued with a stark warning that cracks in its traditional model are starting to show. Four major trends that are driving change in the world of professional services.

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November 2019 - AFR

Top 100 Accounting and Consulting firms in Australia - according to the AFR

Advisory the path to growth for Accounting Firms

Accounting firms that have expanded beyond traditional auditing and taxation work into higher-margin consulting are the big winners in a year in which the 100 largest outfits grew revenue by a healthy 9 per cent to $12 billion.

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October 2019 - Source Global Research

How Consulting firms in Australia can help to future-proof their business

It may have enjoyed a long period of growth, but the Australian economy has hit some big bumps in the road recently, and the jury is out as to whether things are set to change for the better. In the meantime, it’s clear that the business community is feeling shaken by the sheer range and potential severity of the negative indicators facing it, and a nervous client base is rarely good news for consultants.

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August 2019 -

Australia's management consulting industry books record growth

The Australian consulting industry grew by its fastest rate in seven years, with the value of the local advisory market up more than 8% to $5.4 billion (AU$7.7 billion) in 2018, growth at level almost three times that of the national growth rate of 2.8% because organisations and governments are turning to consultants to navigate the era of digital disruption.

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July 2019 - Microsoft Inspire 2019

Partner conference: 11 key quotes from the major Corenote addresses

Microsoft wrapped up its annual Microsoft Inspire partner conference last week in Las Vegas with a lot of product news, business initiatives and demos.

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March 2019 - Harvard Business Review

Digital transformation is not about technology

A recent survey of  directors, CEOs, and senior executives found that digital transformation (DT) risk is their #1 concern in 2019. Yet 70% of all DT initiatives do not reach their goals. Of the $1.3 trillion that was spent on DT last year, it was estimated that $900 billion went to waste. Why do some DT efforts succeed and others fail?

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February 2019 - Source Global Research

The end of the leverage model in consulting?


Not all revolutions involve blowing up imperial palaces or slicing the heads off a generation of aristocrats: Some are hidden in plain sight. And I’m starting to wonder if a silent revolution may be taking place in the consulting industry at the moment.

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November 2018 - AFR

2018 Top 100 Accounting firms

Audit now just a side business for the big Four

The percentage of revenue that the big four accounting and consulting firms received from their core service of auditing financial statements has fallen to an all time low with Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC now all firmly focused on high-growthconsulting services.

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August 2018 - Global LegalTech Ecosystem

Exploring the Global LegalTech ecosystem 

Fueled by a combination of mushrooming LegalTech startups, an increasing interest from corporate legal departments, law firms looking into LegalTech strategies and most importantly, the legal media, LegalTech has come in the legal industry's mainstream consciousness.