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MCA report: UK consulting industry “generates benefits worth £56bn to UK clients”
   A new Management
Consultancies Association
(MCA) report released
today reveals that the UK
consulting industry
generates annual benefits
worth £56bn to UK
clients. The MCA’s report
The Value of
, based on
pioneering research
involving analysis of
1800 consulting projects
[1] and in-depth
interviews with 30
clients, found that the
majority of projects in
both the public and
private sectors generate
financial returns of
between two and 20 times
their cost.
   The MCA report
provides a simple yet
meaningful and
authoritative way to
quantify the value
consultants add, to both
their clients and the
wider economy.
   Key findings from the
MCA report indicate that
in 2008:
    • The UK consulting
industry spent more than
£180million on
innovation, £85million on
training and £80million
on pro bono work for
   • 58 per cent of
clients say they are very
satisfied with the work
their consultants do; 41
per cent are satisfied.
   • For these very
satisfied clients, the
value of the benefits of
using consultancy was
between two and 20 times
its cost or, on average,
around 10 times the fees
paid2. This suggests that
the benefits of using
consultants are worth
around £56bn to UK
clients, a return of £6
for every £1 invested.
   Alan Leaman, Chief
Executive, MCA said: “Too
many conversations about
consulting start and end
with the assumption that
it is just a cost; we can
now see that there is a
significant return on
this investment as well.
 professional service
   Tim Morris, Professor
of Management Studies at
Oxford University,
commented: “This was an
important but difficult
project to carry out. It
has involved clarifying
how we can understand the
ways in which consultants
can add value to clients,
developing a robust model
to reflect this and then
operationalising it to
generate results, which
as far as we can tell,
stand up to critical
review. As a result, the
findings and implications
are worth taking
   Next steps...
   The MCA report is the
first step towards
developing a
understanding of the
contribution consultants
make. The MCA’s
conceptual framework,
developed to help analyse
and explain the value
that consultants bring,
 will also be a useful
tool for clients to
assess their reasons for
using management
consultancy, and help set
expectations about the
outcomes that are being
sought. The framework can
be downloaded from
   Alan Leaman concluded:
“The results of this
initiative will help
consultancies engage in
the sort of dialogue they
need to have with their
clients, and help clients
to be demanding and
intelligent customers.”
   [1] This is the
largest ever survey of
client satisfaction with
consulting services. MCA
member firms were asked
to provide all the data
they gather directly from
clients. To ensure
validity of this
research, firms had to
send complete years’
worth of data: they were
not allowed to pick only
those where feedback was
 This work is based
exclusively on the views
and experience of clients
and the methodology was
cautious. The UK is
substantially better off
because it has a vibrant
and competitive
consulting industry.”
   Experts involved in
the development of the

   The MCA worked with a
steering committee of
industry experts to
develop a robust and
objective research
methodology for this
project. The steering
committee was made up of
senior representatives
from the consulting
industry, from both MCA
member and non-member
firms, and Tim Morris,
Professor of Management
Studies at Oxford
University, who
specialises in