pipelines remain strong. If any sort of economic
correction is coming, consulting firms would be
among the first to see it. So far, that’s not the case.
The leaders we spoke to say all indicators continue to point in the right direction.
And that’s confirmed by our market research.
Based on the results of our Executive Outlook
survey, which measures what firm leaders are
forecasting for 2017, the consulting profession
remains optimistic about where it is and where
it’s heading. Consulting asked firm leaders about
their business over the last 12 months, as well
as what they’re expecting in 2017. The research
was conducted in November and December with
more than 100 Managing Directors, Partners and
Vice Presidents weighing in.
Comparing last year’s projections with this
year’s reality is a good place to start. For the year
that just ended, a staggering 94 percent of executives said they experienced real revenue growth,
even higher than the 91 percent that predicted it
in last year’s survey. And 65 percent said that the
growth was higher than 10 percent, two percentage points higher than the 63 percent who had
forecast double-digit growth for 2015. So, in reality, things were even better than what firm leaders
had forecast for 2016 at the end of 2015.
As for forecasting 2017, those numbers are also
looking up. Case in point: a whopping 98 percent
of executives are forecasting growth and 91 percent are saying that growth will exceed 6 percent.
Both of those numbers are up over last year. The
forecasts and projections of top-line growth is significant, but what about the bottom line? There’s
good news there, too.
Some 80 percent of firm leaders reported improvements to their net profits in 2016. In 2017,
a staggering 96 percent of firm leaders anticipate
net profits will improve, while only 1 percent say
they’ll be down this year. The other 3 percent say
they anticipate no change in net profits. And 57
percent, up from 55 percent last year, say net profits will be up more than 10 percent in 2017.
As part of the survey, we asked participants
to rate how concerned they are about certain
internal and external issues. There, the survey
showed even more positive signs as new client
business development and client retention continue to top the list. In previous years, pricing
pressures and sales cycles were top of mind.
Meanwhile, internally, the biggest concerns in
2017 are setting new strategic goals/direction,
resetting compensation expectation and voluntary retention.
FIRM SIZE (employees)
More than 10,000
Less than 250
TYPE OF FIRM:
Who Took the Executive Outlook Survey?