With a network spanning over 50 country-based institutions, the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes (ICMCI) is the globe’s largest network for management advisory and consultancy associations and institutes worldwide. The network was founded in 1987 when country institutions from ten countries, under the direction of the US, UK and Canada, joined forces to launch the cross-border organisation. The ICMCI’s heritage however traces back much longer, with the oldest national association for management consulting, the Ooa in the Netherlands, emerging in the 1940’s.
The ICMCI has as its stated goal to drive the development of management consulting as a profession. As part of its strategic plan, the institute has over the course of the years developed several designations for the management consulting profession, in a bid to move an unprotected profession such as consulting (everyone call themselves a consultant) closer to the professional quality standards upheld by for instance accountants and lawyers.
The firm’s most common designation is that of Certified Management Consultant (CMC), which recognises consultants that operate in line with the top quality standards set by the network. Globally, there are around 9.000 CMCs – each of them is subject to maintaining their expertise and professional standards, with monitoring done by the ICMCI’s affiliated Country Institutes of Management Consulting (IMC’s). Other designations include the CMC Academic Fellows (professors who teach management consulting) and Accredited Consulting Practice (ACP) – consulting firms that commit to ensuring all consulting members of their firm meet the professional development standards as outlined by CMC. Among the consultancies that can call themselves an ACP somewhere across the globe are BDO, Deloitte, Hay Group and PA Consulting Group.
The ICMCI’s latest addition to its designation list is that of CMC Firm, which gives recognition for firms that provide management consulting services to CMC standards. Commenting on the differences between ACP and CMC Firm, Jan Willem Kradolfer, Director of the ICMCI Board, told Consultancy.uk, “We have used the ACP scheme, which is more internally oriented, for the designation of CMC Firms. The two schemes can be complementary, demonstrating excellence in consultancy standards, while in countries where no ACP scheme is in place, individual consultancies can apply for the CMC Firm title.”
The idea for a CMC Firm certification was first launched in 2013, with China’s Hejun Consulting enjoying the accolade of being named the first CMC Firm of ICMCI. Since then, many consultancies from all corners of the globe have vowed their interest in the CMC Firm designation, with a trio of firms based in the Netherlands – Andersson Elffers Felix, JBR and WagenaarHoes – the latest batch to be included in the CMC Firm directory.
Meanwhile, in Britain, the UK’s MCA has launched its own professional standard, in order to offer management consultants chartered status. In a new initiative for the industry, estimated by the federation to be worth £9.3 billion, the MCA teamed with the CMI to develop the chartered management consultant award, a unifying professional standard, after the Privy Council – a formal body of advisors to the Sovereign of the United Kingdom, comprised of senior Parliamentary politicians – gave the two professional bodies green-light to develop the chartered status for consultants.
To be awarded ICMCI’s CMC Firm recognition, consulting firms need to meet a number of requirements. Aside from the obvious need to be an active participant in the management consulting industry, through demonstrating high overall project delivery standards, consultancies should show continuity and stability within the firm. Other criteria groups need to satisfy include gaining the respect of other firms, and a commitment to a professional code of conduct, with programmes in place to also emphasise corporate social responsibility.
Andersson Elffers Felix is a management consulting firm that specialises in strategic and organisation services mainly to clients in the Dutch public sector. The firm has around 45 consultants and is based in Utrecht. JBR is an advisory firm that specialises in strategy, corporate finance and interim management. Last year the firm’s M&A arm closed over seven major deals, with its focus on deals in the healthcare, oil & gas and industrial sectors. WagenaarHoes is based just outside of Utrecht – the Netherlands’ fourth largest city – and specialises in organsiation, leadership and change management, serving a roster of public and private sector clients.
All three consultancies, which already hold the ACP status, are members of the Dutch association of management consulting firms, known as the ROA. Their CMC’s are individual members of the Dutch Ooa, which is the liaison IMC for ICMCI in the Netherlands.
Source: Consultancy.uk, 16 February 2018