With the ever-growing importance of consulting firms to public and private sector companies, it is necessary for aspiring MBA students to understand the criticality of audit and consulting for the corporate sector.
This is not just for the experienced Management graduates, but even for the fresher MBAs who are about to take the first and raw step into the corporate sector.
As they grow within the corporate structure, it becomes even more imperative to the senior managers to understand the need for timely audits and how these audits help the organizations grow.
At senior positions, many such managers are head of profit centres, responsible for running units through re-ploughed in profits. It is a must for them to know the various types of audits.
At the same time for MBA finance students, the need to understand the role that key audits has in the Indian economic scenario goes without saying.
It shapes the very strategy and planning of the companies once the audit has been done. On the other side, the audits are a moral responsibility of the auditor and the audited.
It should point out any unhealthy practices which are adopted within the company. Such practices have to be nipped in the bud in the early stage itself so that the audited firm does not tend to resort to techniques which are non-statutory and non-complaint.
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How it all Started?
With the corporate set up evolving in the last three decades or so, their activities have undergone a sea change.
The growth of the private sector economy has spawned a whole new range of services. Some of them have made a national footprint in a short span of time.
At the same time, there has also been the entry of Multinational companies into India with its range of products and services. Such Multinationals have to balance their policies and strategies with the Indian laws and statutory compliances.
Going down the timeline in the 1970’s there was the well-known case of the soft drinks giant Coca-Cola leaving India abruptly dues to differences with the government of India.
This did not benefit both the sides. Today such incidents are always avoided by the presence of corporate lobbying, i.e. specialists working in tandem with various ministry bodies.
Not just in India, but across the world, this is the norm. On the ground, these lobbying arms of such firms are backed up by audit consultants and market research specialists.
Every new project is planned well in detail and well in advance so that any impending mishaps are avoided. If there is even an iota of uncertainty, then new ventures are never taken up.
Top Consulting Firms of the World
This brings into focus a new term – Audit Consulting, as mentioned above. This means that audit firms of today are not just restricted to plain old legacy model audits of revenue books and cash expenses. It is not their duty just to prepare a balance sheet with the profit and loss statement.
The big four audit firms – Deloitte, KPMG, Ernst & Young, and PWC are involved in total management consultancy with the core focus of re-shaping the overall growth of their client organisations.
This involves business management strategies, technology revamp, integration of digital means with core business functionalities, financial market research, client-specific sectorial analysis, country-specific economic research and consultancy report presentations, turnkey projects viability, execution of core projects etc.
On the audit front itself, there are many forms that can take place – revenue, risk management, concurrent, treasury, and compliance.
Some of the best consulting firms in the global market are:
- Deloitte – It is one of the largest professional audit and consultancy firms in the world both in terms of revenue and professionals employed. It employs more than two hundred thousand professionals worldwide. In India, the company has offices in all metro’s and major cities and services clients across the country. Their core services are auditing, tax consultancy, risk management, financial advisory.
- Price Waterhouse Coopers – Known by its acronym PWC, it is one largest audit consultancy firms in the world in terms of turnover. They have been in the line of fire due to certain contentious clients in India, but regarding management consultancy and financials, it has a high brand value.
- KPMG – This is a Netherlands based firm focused on three main lines of services – tax, audits, and financial advisory. It employs almost one lac, seventy-five thousand professionals. In India, as of today, it has the highest number of chartered accountants on its payroll. It has clients from all verticals.
- Ernst & Young – This audit firm is headquartered in London and is involved in audits and consultancy end to end. It has and continues to serve many clients in India including banks and Major Indian companies. It has offices across India.
Some of the biggest names in the Indian scenario are:
- BDO International – It is a worldwide professional networked services firm which has thousand public accountancy firms as representatives of its functioning. In totality, it has about sixty thousand partner firms all over the world including India.
- Grant Thornton India LLP – It is the Indian division of the International firm which has been operational for more than hundred years. Apart from tax and audit assurance, it provides operational and risk consultancy.
- SS Kothari Mehta and Co– Among the Indian audit forms, this remains one of the most notable with almost sixty years of presence in the major cities of India and auditing of several listed firms.
The first four names mentioned control most of the audit, tax, and consultancy business in the Indian market. They are followed by BDO and Grant Thornton.
A major differentiating factor between the international names and the Indian audits firms that the former has a key role to play in consulting and business management apart from statutory audits.
The Role of an MBA in the consulting sector
- It is a good career choice for the MBA finance specializing students. They can get into various roles like risk management, business management, security consulting.
- For the MBA finance students having a deep interest in equity and shares portfolio, it gives them a chance to corporate performance analyst by an in-depth study of shares of BSE and NSE.
- There are sector specialist roles coming up in the era of start-ups which are PE and VC funded. The experts are supposed to analyse the performance of each sector and the indicative economic trends. These are specialized roles.
- There are career scopes Information Technology solution architects, ie. MBA students specialized into Systems Management and having prior experience on the customer-centric solution design. This is because many of the consulting firms also take up turnkey IT projects as part of their overall consultancy services.
In the year 2008, a century-old manufacturing firm has a traditional way of working but well entrenched into the Indian market wanted to revamp and evaluate their entire communication cost.
The company undertook several rounds of discussion with various consultants- technology and vertical focus domain specialists. These were individual consultants as well as big firms. The company also looked at the option of having a panel of specialist to manage the entire project.
Finally, they selected PWC as their consulting partner for the entire project. The role of PWC was to study the entire existing communication cost of voice and data that the company incurs nationwide.
They were then to suggest an appropriate solution which will replace the existing set up in close consultation with the companies internal IT team.
This included Wide Area Network (WAN) on a Multiple Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) technology, setting up of a New Data centre in a different seismic zone, setting up a Unified Communication (UC) network to bring all the branches and commuters on a common platform.
The reason PWC was selected at a much higher cost over the other vendors was due to their depth market research and consulting abilities.
They were entrusted with the responsibility of understanding the technology and selecting the vendors for the projects through extensive consultations.
The implementation of the project should eventually reduce the existing cost and show increased business performance every financial year due to improved communication technology.
This represents a sea change in the traditional Indian corporate thinking.
On a larger scale, the top consulting firms undertake economic research and study activities for various ministries like – Economic affairs, corporate affairs, and Finance ministries. Their findings are often taken into deep considerations while formulating economic policies for any particular sector as well for the country as a whole.
The Significance of MBAs in Consulting
- The size of the Indian audit sector regarding revenue is approximately around INR 7000 Cr. This includes the revenue of the big four as well as other Indian audit firms big and small, across the country.
The revenue of the big four itself touches around INR 3500 cr. This clearly shows the dominance of these names in the Indian public and private sector. This is because of their high financial prowess and their recognized brand names.
The “big four” also have a vast array of talent pool with them and a pan India presence in Metros and tier two cities.
- Aside to revenue market, the total consulting market size is around INR 15000 cr. This again points to the fact that with every year, consulting is the mainstream business of the big names. The audit just happens to a part of the same.
The dominance of the big names is again due to the technological skill sets that they possess and their specialised team of professional analysts. The big names of the Industry export more than one billion $ worth of services from the country.
- Regarding employment, the Indian consulting and audit sector has a workforce of around 3 lac employees, which is growing with every passing year to the increased multi-disciplinary services being offered from the consulting angle.
- Most of the public sector banks of India have at one point, or the other used the services of the “big four “or the other two names. Almost every blue-chip corporate name has partnered with them for management consultancy services.
All in all, it clearly goes to show that consulting firms have a key role to play in the Indian business sector which needs top business minds to drive them. And this importance is only set to grow in the future years.
Scope at BMU
Founded in 2014 by the promoters of the Hero Group, the campus is based out of Gurugram. The MBA programme is offered by the School of Management. Apart from MBA, it has the School of Commerce and School of Engineering and Technology.
In a short span of time, the BML Munjal University has set a reputation for itself as one of the reputed B-schools of MBA.
It has not been affected by the malaise of several other B-Schools. This is because the university has set stringent standards for admission to its 2-year full-time MBA program. The CAT or XAT scores are evaluated, and admission is through an entrance test, Group Discussion, and Interview. (Source)
For MBA finance students it may be great news to know that BML Munjal has partnered with the one biggest names in the consulting sector – KPMG. The sterling growth track of KPMG in India and the fact that last it employed the highest number of Chartered accountants speaks volumes on the core role that KPMG plays in the Indian corporate segment.
BML Munjal in partnership with KPMG is offering a two-year degree course with Specialization in Forensic Accounting and Corporate Fraud program.
This will help students to prepare themselves for a career in undertaking major corporate audits and putting the best of accounting practices in vogue. This is a specialization that hardly any MBA course offers. Trained experts from KPMG and BML Munjal expert faculties will be jointly conducting classes.