Professional Services Trends

Updated: January 6, 2014
Industry Intelligence from First Research, a division of Hoover's (a D&B company)

Revenue Often Lags Economy - On both the downside and upside, the revenue of the professional service industry lags the performance of the rest of the economy. The late 2000s recession officially started in December 2007, but declines in corporate profits peaked in 2009. Professional services unemployment peaked in 2010. The full effects of the late-2000s recession on professional services firms were felt years after the initial downturn. Since the recession, overall sector employment has recovered, reaching all-time highs in 2013.

Professional Firms Heavy Users of Technology - Because of the close coordination required between firms and their customers and among members of a firm's own staff, professional firms have made large investments in communication and portable computer technology. Larger firms also rely on computer technology to track projects, expenses, and billings.

More Value-Oriented Billing - The basic source of revenue for professional firms remains hourly billing, but some also bill according to the value of the services they provide. Value-oriented billing is easiest to apply for services where the value is explicit, such as tax savings, damage awards, ad placements, or the size of an acquisition or merger. More value billing can be expected as professional service firms become “advisers” rather than just hourly workers.

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