The Importance of CPD for Business Consultants

The Importance of CPD for Business Consultants

21 Mar 2024

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Business consultancy is a diverse and evolutionary field consisting of a variety of unique problems and situations. Many consultancy professionals are required to engage with CPD and it's essential to offering a valuable service and maintaining a productive consultancy practice. In this article, we will cover what business consultants do and the relevant professional bodies in the UK. It will also highlight valuable skills for consultants and importance of further learning through participation in Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

What is Business Consultancy and why it's important?

Business consultants offer professional services in specialised areas pertaining to a variety of fundamental business operations. These areas of specialisation can include management, strategy, accountancy, law, security, digitisation, marketing, human resources, as well as a further array of specialised fields such as engineering and research. Business consultancy services often involve a process of providing clients with an audit followed by professional advice with the intention of highlighting key areas of improvement for organisations. 

The value proposition of a business consultant may vary depending on the specialisation of the consultant and the requirements of the organisation. Some examples of areas a business consultant may aim to develop are value adding, lowering costs, compliance, product development, management structure, customer feedback, digital ecosystems, exit planning and scientific research.

Who are the professional bodies for Business Consultancy in the UK?

The term business consultancy covers a broad range of specialised services. Due to this, professional bodies for business consultants can be highly specific depending on the type of service a consultant may be providing. For example, if a professional offers consultancy services in the field of business management they may require a membership with the Management Consultancies Association (MCA) in order to practice. However, if a consultant provides services in the field of accounting they may need to follow the guidelines of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) to remain compliant and continue practicing as an accounting consultant. 

Aside from the specialised professional bodies that govern specific areas of business consultancy, professionals need to comply with the guidelines of the Institute of Consulting (IC). The IC is the only UK professional body that formally charter individuals in the broader field of consultancy. The IC was established to maintain standards and encourage growth within the consulting industry in the UK.

What are some of the most essential skills as a Business Consultant?

As businesses seek outside expertise to gain competitive advantages and drive growth, consultants increasingly require a variety of general skills in order to provide a valuable service to their clients. Furthermore, business consultants may specialise in certain fields that require a more in depth understanding and skillset. We have listed some examples of the most important skills that a business consultant may want to have before offering their services to clients.

Problem solving

Consulting for businesses can often be idiosyncratic and unpredictable. Different clients may require different solutions, presenting new problems for a consultant to solve. It is important for consultants to develop sophisticated problem-solving skills and methodologies in order to match the needs of clients and provide continuous value.


One of the main skills required for many business consultants is the ability to research different areas effectively. Research can often be expected to be completed under time pressure, so building reliable research methods into consultancy practices can be a cornerstone to many successful business consultancy services.


Business consultants may work with a large array of clients with a variety of brand points and specifications. Professional consultants may also work in highly competitive and dynamic fields. It is paramount for a majority of business consultants to be adaptable and flexible in their practice in order to offer a valuable service.

Key skills required as a business consultant

Business strategy

Understanding the broad field of business strategy can help consultants better recognise where their services provide the most value to clients. Specialised consultants may require a more holistic understanding in situations where they need to problem solve and offer solutions that may not be restricted to the consultant’s field of specialisation.

Dedication to lifelong learning

A dedication to lifelong learning is a crucial skill for business consultants. It is important for consultants to understand the value of lifelong learning to prevent skill gaps, and to engage with regular training and professional development in order competitive in their specific field.

Data analysis

Many business consultancy practitioners require an understanding of data analysis in order to compose research-led value propositions. Understanding how to access relevant data and how to present data in a manner which is conducive to the needs of a client can be an important skill for many business consultants. You can find more information on the benefits of data analysis here


A fundamental skill of consultancy involves the presentation of information. Presentations can take many forms and can be structured in a variety of ways. Some presentations may be held in person and in front of a large group. You can find more information about presentation skills here. Other presentations may be conducted asynchronously and through a number of visualisation tools and reports. It is important for consultants to understand to best method convey information to clients, as this can be the determining factor of whether a consultant’s services are effective or not.

With the huge variety of specific situations and circumstances a consulting professional may encounter in their career, developing the right skills as a business consultant can be difficult. It is important for consultants to maintain continuous and consistent learning practices as to avoid situations where they could find themselves under-skilled, not up-to-date with trends and technologies or generally inadequate as an advisor.

What are the benefits of CPD for Business Consultants?

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a holistic approach to learning that can provide an array of benefits for business consultant professionals. CPD can help consultants acquire crucial skills and knowledge that allows them to continue to provide a valuable service throughout their careers. It is key for business consultants to stay up-to-date with their learning. Some of the benefits of participating in CPD can include staying informed with new trends and technologies, closing skill gaps and increasing adaptability through a commitment to lifelong learning.

Business consultants in certain regulated industries may have CPD hours they need to complete on an annual basis. We have selected some of the main regulated industries for business consultants in UK, as well as their respective CPD requirements.

  • Accounting – 20-40 CPD hours per year depending on CPD category.
  • Finance – A minimum of 35 CPD hours per year, of which 21 hours must be comprised of structured CPD.
  • Law – CPD requirement for the legal sector depend on role. For example, newly qualified barristers are required to complete 45 hours of CPD learning in their first 3 years, followed by 12 hours of structured CPD each year thereafter. 
  • Engineering – At least 30 CPD hours per year.

If you are a business consultancy professional, it is important to know whether you are required to complete CPD in order to continue practicing. Make sure to research regulatory bodies in your industry and country for specific details on how much CPD you are required to complete.

Where can I find CPD for Business Consultants?

Within the CPD Courses Catalogue, there are a range of courses for business consultants, as well as other beneficial CPD learning including educational events, eLearning programs, conferences, workshops and seminars – all of which have been formally CPD certified. To find out more about a particular CPD course listed on our website, complete an enquiry form and the details will be sent directly to the relevant CPD provider.

How to become an accredited CPD Provider

Established in 1996, The CPD Certification Service is the world’s leading and largest CPD accreditation organisation working across all industry sectors. If you are looking to provide training courses, seminars, conferences, workshops, eLearning or educational events that may be suitable for Continuing Professional Development, please visit the Become a CPD Provider page or contact our team to discuss in more detail.

Alternatively, if you are looking for a free online CPD record tool to help manage, track and log your ongoing Continuing Professional Development, as well as store your personal training record and CPD attendance certificates in one simple place, please visit the myCPD Portal page.

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For more information from CPD News Team, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

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