Updated: January 6, 2014
Industry Intelligence from First Research, a division of Hoover's (a D&B company)
Greater Complexity of Corporate Operations - The operations of corporations (the major customers of most professional service firms) and the regulatory climate have become more complicated in the past decade, leading more corporations to seek expert outside advice. It may be more cost- and time-efficient for a company to hire a professional services firm than to train existing personnel about new technology or regulations. In many cases the hired firm assumes responsibility for knowledge of regulatory changes.
Corporate Outsourcing - The drive for greater efficiency through outsourcing corporate functions will continue to put more work in the hands of professional firms. Instead of maintaining a large internal staff of lawyers, accountants, engineers, and computer specialists, corporations have turned to a management model where in-house staff merely coordinate the work of outside vendors. Although hourly costs for outside professionals are higher, corporations save money because the outsiders are not needed all the time.
More International Business - Greater global trade will provide more opportunities for many professional services firms, as more overseas business is handled according to US business standards. Many professional services are easily transferable to foreign customers. In some cases US professional services firms can expand into markets where labor and operational costs are lower.
Multi-Service Firms - Some larger professional firms offer a range of services to corporate customers that may include related offerings such as advertising and marketing, architecture and engineering, or management and IT consulting services. Multi-service firms can bundle services to offer "one-stop shopping" and increase profitability. Such firms sometimes involve entities that are distinct for legal or regulatory reasons whose work is nevertheless closely coordinated.