Consultants are problem solvers.
They’re hired to facilitate or solve a client’s problems as outsiders. When clients reach out to a consultant, they’re simply looking for simple solutions to the knotty problems they have.
Consultants are like physicians. Companies approach them when they have a problem, and it’s their job to dig to the root cause of these problems and reach back with a solution.
These problems can be anything – like “our revenues are falling,” or “we’re looking to expand into a new market, how do we go about it?”
So, they approach a consultant to help them diagnose their companies’ situations and come up with solutions that they could use.
The consultant is expected to assume the role of a thought partner. They’re to structure an approach, and genuinely guide the client on what to do or how to think through the problem.
Consultants aren’t just limited to a few fields. Retail businesses, law firms, mining companies, and government organisations all hire them.
They’re also involved with everything, from evaluating customer satisfaction to protecting your computer systems from cybercriminals and hackers.
What do Consultants do?
Consulting isn’t just about dishing advise.
Consultants are in the business of helping company executives think through decisions and implement changes.
Their job is driven by passion, strategy, and practise. Oddly though, the most important ingredient isn’t any of these, but leadership – not provided by the consultant, but the client.
It’s the client’s job to provide their team with a reason that motivates them to sink into action and get things done.
- Consultants are Obsessed with data: Consultants are nothing like the self-proclaimed dating experts that will just listen to you and pull something out of thin air for advice.
Data guides the advice they give. Mind you; clients struggle with the same data. They’ll hoard it and watch as it piles up, but find it hard to confront it. Call it the fear of the unknown.
Most clients find it hard to deal with small data. So sometimes, all a consultant does is run these data into excel or PowerPoint, and suddenly everything makes sense.
That’s the first skill to learn as an aspiring consultant – you better be good with PowerPoint and excel.
Consultants love data because it’s apolitical. It also offers credibility to the advice they give.
Consultants don’t work with averages. They run what-if analysis’s to understand what lies in a set of assumptions.
- Consultants have a set of tools or methodologies that they use: Consultants don’t use their intuition or understanding of certain things to act like they have everything figured out. They have tools and methodologies that they use to understand the nature of your problem and come up with solutions.
In their work toolbox, they have evaluation frameworks, maturity models, interviews, best practises, Poka Yoke, DMAIC, Six Sigma, and so on.
However, the best part of doing their job is asking the right questions – who, what, when, why, and where.
- Consultants are lowkey influencers. Consultants can borrow authority from their clients to push for change. They can make presentations, even though the power to do that lies with the client.
They can influence your IT department to provide data, schedule meeting with executive assistants and other stakeholders.
It’s their job to nudge people into making decisions. They think, write, and communicate. And then rinse and repeat the process until they see results.
- Consultants Reason like Executives. Consultants training run wide and deep. They’re the generalists who grab anything worthwhile and add it into their knowledgebase. In other words, they never stop learning or feel like they’ve read everything they need to read in this life or to excel in their job.
They’re the master of accounting, surveys, and management trends. Their fingers never leave the pulse of what’s new in the digital landscape.
They have signed up with ivy league courses and a few other online classes. They’re also active on forums and have the first-hand experience with different lines of management.
- Consultants Love Using PowerPoints: Consultants use PowerPoints to explain their analysis and discoveries. They use it almost every day.
First, they have to understand their audience. The next thing they’ll want to do is make sure the PowerPoint structure supports their narrative and its intended purpose.
- Consultants are Smart: To be a consultant, you have to be intellectually curious. You have to be obviously smart and always eager to learn and try something new.
Good consultants are fast learners. They’re good at breaking down problems and coming up with working solutions. They can apply their consulting thinking into Olympics, elections, football game, and life in general.
- They’re focused on Making their Clients Successful: A client may present a consultant with a project scope that’s not clear. It’s upon the client to figure out a smart way to say no to the client.
Plus, things don’t always go according to plan. Consultants have to adapt and make necessary calibrations along the way. Their plan is to see their clients succeed – but only by being sure with what they’re doing.
- It’s a lifestyle: Everything about the consulting business sounds glamorous – good pay, amiable people, lots of traveling, good network, and so on.
But that’s not true. There are a lot of late nights, no weekends, and so many stressful occasions. As a consultant, you’re expected to convert all this stress into positive energy.
- Consulting Pays Well: Consulting is one of the highest paying jobs around. However, things aren’t exactly the same for publicly traded consulting agencies.
7 Key Skills that Will Make You an Excellent Consultant
The graduate recruitment market has never been this competitive. Consequently, employers are super picky with the graduates they choose to employ.
Most of the time, they’ll be looking for a specific set of skills in the people they choose to work with.
Here’s a list of top things that could make you an excellent consultant that most consultancy firms in Singapore will be fighting to hire.
Effective communication is important in any consulting work. You have to remember that you’ll be conducting interviews with employees, managing teams and other stakeholders, delivering presentations, and writing business proposals.
All these activities spin around communication. When projects stagnate, most of the time is due to a lack of proper communication skills.
Being a good communicator means you’ll have an easy time getting other people to open up to you and reveal crucial information.
Being a team player is synonymous with being a leader. A good leader knows how to conduct themselves at the front and the back.
He’s as good a leader as he’s a follower. He’s also a team player, and understands the value of working with other people.
With larges projects, you may find yourself working with a team of tens or hundreds of members. Instead of fighting to have your way all the time, you have to learn to listen to others and take suggestions.
Support your colleagues where necessary, and if you must delegate, then consider doing it fairly and in a conflict-free manner.
Part of working as a consultant is that you’ll be carrying with you a significant amount of research data to understand your clients as well as their organisations.
You need an analytical mind focused on providing solutions that have been tested and found to work. Your mind must be sharp enough to pick on small details and tie one and two together to figure out how everything plays into the big picture.
To be competent in this domain, you must be organised, well-structured, and reliable in your line of work.
This applies to fresh graduates making an entry into the consulting business. Your first few months of stepping into the field will be exciting and overwhelming at the same time.
There’ll be so much on your plate and so much to prove. Your communication, research, and analysis skills will be tested all the time, and you’ll have to come up at the top, all the time.
If you’re bright and eager to learn, you’ll have an easy time adapting and catching up.
Be prepared to undergo a series of trainings and attend lengthy meetings. Take charge of your time and commitment and make sure you’re using every minute of it to better your skills and learn something new.
Be self-driven and sign up for online classes, attend webinars, and develop a habit of reading and expanding your horizon. Do this, and you’ll have an easy time rising through the ranks and become a consultant that employers and clients can’t help noticing.
There are a lot of decisions to be made in this field. You may find it hard to assert when you’re new in the field.
You have to be committed to your ideas and show some conviction, and prove that you’re equally capable of following them through.
Your confidence must be on the roof. At the same time, never forget the fact that confidence is inspired by experience. The more you listen and experiment with more of your ideas, the more you learn to trust in your abilities and stand by your ideas.
Even more important is to learn to listen to other people and learn from them. Learn from your fellow workers and peers. Offer them support where necessary. The more you believe in others, the more you’re likely to believe in yourself too.
You can’t afford to be rigid in the consulting business. There’ll be long working days, more time on the road, and longer on-call times.
You’ll be required to dig deep and show some grit, especially when working on large projects.
Of course, you’ll be compensated for everything you do. But you’ll be driven to your limits, and all you can do is taken it up the chin and prove that you were made for this.
Consultant Salaries in Singapore
Consultant salaries in Singapore will always vary depending on two key factors – position and experience.
Senior consultants enjoy high salary amounts, while fresh graduates have to contend with the minimum starting salary.
On average, top-tier consulting firms in Singapore pay consultants with undergraduate degrees an annual base pay of about $72, 000. Their performance bonuses can range anywhere from $12,000 to $18,000.
Fresh graduates earn the lowest (S$51,600 per annum), while senior consultants with MBA and years of experience can earn up to S$144,000 per year.
But on average, their pay scale appears to always hang around S$72, 000.
Here’s a salary break down of the different types of consultants in Singapore;
Consultants in Singapore
Salary Estimates (annual salaries)
Entry-level consultants are entitled to a salary of about $51, 600 per year when they secure a job with a top tier consultancy firm in the country.
MBA hires packing years of experience are among the top earners in the field, with their salaries going up to $144, 000 with top tier consultancy firms.
Looking to set up your own consulting agency have no idea on how to charge your clients?
Well, as always, we’re here to help.
Option 1: Set a Fixed Amount/Flat rate
You’re not doing any pro bono work here. You’re charging for every piece of service rendered.
You can start by setting up a fixed amount called “engagement.” With this option, you’ll be charging your clients based on the number of hours that they’ll be consulting you.
Most consulting firms tend to charge about $125 for an hour of consultation, with a free 15 to 30 minutes offer of consultation to new clients.
These firms will also have a flat rate for other services they offer, including;
- Businesses (about $400).
- Market Research plans (about $300)
- Financial Projections ($55 per projections)
- Executive summary ($65 per summary)
- Ongoing consultancy services ($2500 to $3500 a month depending on the work involved).
Option 2: An Early Milestone
Another option would be to set up an early milestone. This should give you a mild view of how much the entire job is likely to cost.
Also, should it turn out that the job is draining you more than the compensation you’re receiving that could be a nice abandonment point.
Most clients are likely to agree to such an agreement. They only commit to that amount, and if they don’t like it, they’re free to drop the rest and leave it at that.
Option 3: Scope of the Work
This is a problem for many consulting firms in Singapore. First, the firm has to evaluate the scope of the work and reach back to the client with a quote.
The problem with this arrangement is that there are incidences when you’ll find yourself going beyond the scope of your work.
Some agencies find it hard to tell their clients “no, that’s not within the scope of our work.”
Others choose to renegotiate the charges as the scope grows. A simple response in the lines of “That’s beyond the scope of our work, but we’ll be glad to do it for an additional S$XXX” would suffice.
Option 4: If you’re not sure about anything, charge more
When a client pushes you to agree on something that you’re not sure of, always err on the side of excess. It’s not about being expensive or cheap. If your services are good, clients won’t mind paying an excessive amount for it.
Look at your fees as a statement of value. The more you’re undercutting it, the more your value drops.
Lowballing only works for those in doubt of their skills. If you’re after high-quality clients, then you better learn to put the right price on your services.
Types of Consulting firms: And Why Your Business Needs One
A consultant can help you improve one of the following major areas of your business.
- Management and Strategy: A qualified consultant will have a deeper understanding of your market and the environment surrounding it. They would know the best industry practises to throw into the mix and propel your business to the next line of success.
Are you looking to expand to a new market, widen your product pipeline, buy out one of your competitors, promote efficiency, lower your production cost, or raise your product prices?
Well, hiring a strategy consultant makes the perfect sense. Trust them to help you develop a better business strategy and even guide you on how to execute it.
- Operations: Operation consultants will help you come up with creative ways to improve the efficiency and quality of your production process.
Some operation consultants are more specialised. We have those that specialise in process re-engineering.
That is, they’ll break down your existing processes and come up with some suggestions on how to improve it and reduce some of the steps. This will see to it that you’re able to lower your production cost.
Others consultants specialise in quality control. They look at the quality of your products and identify all the defects before reaching out with suggestions on how to reduce or get rid of them.
- IT Consultants: As the name suggests, IT consultants focus on tech and the effects it has on your business and the market in general. They’re to be consulted when you need to redevelop your website, upgrade your system, or integrate an old system with a new one.
IT consultants try to enhance your online capabilities. It’s their job to provide some suggestion on what exactly you should be doing to improve the quality of your IT department and create a more dynamic environment for both internal and external customers your business attracts.
- Human Resource Consultants: HR consultant focus on the quality and overall satisfaction of your workforce. They’re to be consulted when you’re looking to hire top talents or when you’re looking for some suggestions on how to retain your top performers.
They’ll help you develop compensation strategies that are in sync with your business goals. They’ll show you how to train your employees on leadership skills and business communication.
They’ll also evaluate your teams and even suggests you a few ways to improve their overall productivity.
- Marketing consultants: Marketing Consultants focus on creating more awareness around your brand and exposing your business to more prospects. They’re dedicated to the marketing aspect of your business.
They’re there to offer you the much-needed creative spark after you hit a plateau. They’ll open your eyes to the new marketing opportunities by offering a glimpse of what other companies are doing to be where they are.
Reasons for Hiring a Singapore Consultant
Why would anyone want to hire a consulting firm in Singapore?
- Brains for Hire: Let’s say your HR manager decided to call it quits with you. What do you do? You have a limited amount of time to figure something out, lest you watch your company suffer.
Hiring a consultant can be a temporary solution to a problem you have as you work on something permanent.
Consultants also understand that they’re there to serve you for a short period. It shouldn’t be that hard on your part to break off with them should you find a more reliable person.
- Manage changes: Not every single one of your team members is receptive to the idea of change. If the changes disfavour any of your employees, you can be sure there will be some wrangles as you strive to implement them.
For this, you might want to pass the task to a consulting firm and let them take the heat for it. After all, they’re outsiders – meaning, none of your employees will feel like they’re being targeted.
They’ll shoulder all the blame and make it clear that the changes are what’s good for the company at the time.
- Train Your Staff on best Practises and how to Implement them: Consultants are the leading experts in what they specialise in. They understand the industry pretty well to know what’s best for your company.
For instance, if you’re looking for IT-related ideas on how to take your company to the next level, an IT-consultant is your best bet. They’re well aware of the latest trends, the latest digital marketing strategies, and general IT stuff that your business may benefit from. They’ve even experimented with some, and can even predict the outcome of some the changes you make.
- Fresh Perspective: Tired to doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results?
Well, it’s time you brought in an experienced outsider to help you come up with better strategies. Your in-house team may be blind to the big picture, and it helps to get the fresh perspective of an eagle-eyed third-party.
- Training: Consultants spend the bulk of their time mastering new skills and perfecting some of the things that people struggle with. They’re knowledgeable in so many areas, and the best part is that they can be hired to share this knowledge and even pass it to your team.
For instance, you may hire an IT consultant or a digital marketing consultant to help you train your IT team and marketing teams on how to handle their business like real professionals and get things moving.
Top 20 Consulting Firms in Singapore in 2020
Here’s a top 20 list of best-performing business consulting firms in Singapore, as compiled by Clutch.
Rubiks is a digital innovative consulting firm that focuses on offering training programs and business consulting services on digital execution, innovation, scaling, and discovery.
The company is also dedicated to helping businesses come up with marketing strategies that propel them towards their business goals.
Services: Innovation Talks, Scaling, Design and Gamification, Research and Development
McKinsey is a globally known business management and consulting firm. Founded in 1926 by Marvin Bower and James O McKinsey, the company is headquartered in New York with 127 office extensions in different parts of the world.
Services: Strategy and Corporate Finance, Design, Marketing and Sales, Sustainability
Contact: +65 6586 4900
Another international consultancy firm with offices in Singapore, Australia and the Philippines. The company operates with a staff of 100 consultants and boasts of catering to a wide range of consultancy clientele, including giant fortune 500 companies.
Services: Web Design, Digital Strategy, Web Development
Contact: +65 6329 9717
Apar Technologies is a Singapore-based consultancy firm, and a leading one in the whole of Asia-Pacific region. The firm operates in six different countries including Singapore, India, and Malaysia, and is part of a billion-dollar conglomerate, Apar Group.
Services: Enterprise CRM, Data Management and Business Intelligence, Portals and Content Management, Technology Consulting and Application Services
Contact: +65 6435 1961
MING Labs is a globally known digital innovation firm with offices in Berlin, Singapore, New York, and Shanghai. It’s a digital consultancy firm, currently employing more than 75 digital experts. The company builds digital products, in addition to offering IT-related consultancy services.
Services: Web Development, UX/UI Design, Business Consulting,
Contact: +65 8228 6816
Innosight has been around since 2000. It’s a growth strategy consultancy firms dedicated to helping organisations from all around the world to design and shape their future, instead of waiting to be disrupted by it and resort to reactive measures.
Services: Strategy consulting services
Contact: +65 6884 9375
Asia Leap has its roots in Singapore, where it’s also headquartered. They have one of the most creative and innovative teams of project managers committed to serving a wide range of Singapore clients by offering them the best consultancy services.
Services: HR Services, Business Consulting, Organisation and Team Development, Strategy, Enterprenuership and Investment
Contact: +65 6280 0113
Oliver Wyman is a leading management consulting firm recognised on a global scale. The company has more than 60 offices, distributed across 29 different countries, including Singapore. Founded in 1984, the company now operates as a subsidiary of Marsh and McLennan company.
It’s headquartered in New York and has employed more than 5000 consulting professionals in total.
Services: Financial Services, Business Transformation, Marketing and Sales,
Contact: +65 6510 9700
33 Talent is an HR consulting firm, offering specialized bespoke HR and recruitment consulting and coaching services to businesses in the Asia-Pacific region and other parts of the world.
The company was founded in 2012 and has grown to be one of the leading providers of HR consultancy services not only in Singapore but in the entire Asia-pacific region.
Services: Business Consulting, Coaching Services, HR Services
Contact: +65 9372 1076
Healy Consultant offers a wide range of professional consulting services, including international financial services, corporate finance, corporate taxation finance, startup services, and so on.
The company was started in 2003, and it’s one of the most respected consulting firms in the country.
Services: Financial Service Solutions, Advisory Service Solutions, Business Set up Support, Global Company Registration
Contact: +65 6735 0120
Lo Hock Ling and Co
Lo Hock Ling rounds out Singapore’s top 10 consulting firms. The company strives to build a strong working relationship with its teams. The goal is to deliver more personalised and professional consultancy services that create value for their clients in addition to helping them drive business.
Services: Tax Services, Audit and Assurance, Family Business Consulting, Business Advisory
Contact: +65 6535 6111
Foo Kon Tan
Foo Kon is one of the most established accountancy consulting firms in Singapore. It’s history dates back to 1968 when it was established. Over time, the company would undergo a series of dynamic changes to become a one-stop advisory solution to businesses in Singapore and other parts of the world.
Services: International Business, Tax Advisory and Compliance, Assurance, Business Software Solutions
Contact: +65 6336 3355
Corporate Services Singapore
Corporate Services is a one-stop financial solution in Singapore. The company is dedicated to providing incorporation, accounting, and secretarial-related services to local businesses in Singapore and multinational corporations, as well.
The company was started in 2010 where it was to operate as an accountancy and finance consulting firm, but would, later on, rebrand to a corporate service provider.
Services: Accounting Services, Incorporation Services, Taxation, Advisory Services
Contact: +65 6602 8286
PeopleNet Associate is a professional HR consultancy firm that was first established in 1995. The company has offices in Singapore, China, and Malaysia.
Services: Consulting Services, Executive Search Services, Management of Associations, Corporate Training
Contact: +65 6336 8161
Kearney is an internationally recognised management consulting firm with its headquarters in Chicago, USA. The company was started in 1926, and the time of writing this has offices in more than 49 countries, including Singapore.
Services: Financial Services, Transformation Services, Optimizing Services
Contact: +65 6298 7200
Adept was founded in 2008, and it’s one of the most recognised integrated HR service providers for consultancy, recruitment, and payment outsourcing.
The company is headquartered in Singapore and is focused on empowering businesses by delivering a full suite of solutions for all HR-related needs.
Services: Business Consulting, Payroll Services, HR Services
Contact: +65 6337 5467
Timeo Performances is no ordinary consulting firm. Since 2008, when they first stepped into the business of consulting, the company has been committed to helping businesses from all around the AIPAC region build, assess, and develop a reliable workforce.
Services: HR Services, Business Consulting,
Contact: +65 6327 9218
TDCX is an award-winning digital consultancy firm and provider of customer experience solutions to the people of Singapore and far beyond. The company was started in 1995, and at the time of writing this, has a skilled staff of more than 8, 000 employees, distributed in different regions of the world including Singapore, Philippine’s, China, Hong Kong, Thailand, and so on.
The company is headquartered in Singapore.
Services: E-Commerce, Tech Services, Revenue Generation, Customer Services
Contact: +65 6309 1688
SBS is a Singapore-based consulting firm founded in 2010. The company delivers consultation services on issues relating to company registration, payroll services, taxation services, auditing services, accounting services, software development, IT, and so on.
Services: Payroll Services, Audit Services, Accounting Services, Transfer of Shares
Contact: +65 6536 0036
MediaOne is a cutting edge digital marketing consultancy. They have won numerous international awards over the years with their ISO-certified digital solutions. MediaOne clients include large enterprises such as CapitaLand, SingTel, P&G, Fuji Xerox, NTUC, NUS, Duke-NUS, Cambridge University, WWF, etc.
Services: Search engine marketing, search engine optimisation, social media marketing, performance marketing, web development and design
Contact: +65 6789 9852
There goes our list of top consulting firms in Singapore in 2020. Did your firm make it to the list?
If not, feel free to drop us a line and recommend it, and we might consider adding it to the list provided it matches our cut mark.