The Accredited Consulting Practice designation recognizes management consulting firms who have committed to ensuring all consulting members of their firm meet/exceed professional standards as outlined by CMC-Global & its various national Institutes of Management Consulting.
Consulting firms that meet our audit standards and continue to advance in these aspects are granted the ability to use the ACP designation to distinguish their firm from others not meeting such standards. An ACP Branding/Logos “kit” is available from CMC-Global for IMC’s to distribute to ACP firms upon certification.
ACP Firms commit to recruit, select and train consultants towards the CMC standards.
As their consultants are deemed “ready” by the firm, they can present their consultants as candidates for the CMC assessment process by the national institute of management consulting – with advanced standing for the ethics & final examinations, plus peer review. Each national Institute will be responsible for determining the final examinations and processes required for the ACP‘s consultants; yet will be required to ensure they meet the common standards expected.
The ACP Standard
During our 2012 – 13 major rewrite of the standards for the CMC designation, this also provided the opportunity to update the standards for achievement of the Accredited Consulting Practice designation and the process of assessing candidate practices. This is embodied in:
Training and guidance for assessors of Accredited Consulting Practices
There is also supporting documentation as follows:
ICMCI ACP002 Specimen Declaration of Intent
ICMCI ACP003 Specimen Statement of Equivalence – CMC Assessment Process
ICMCI ACP004 Specimen Statement of Equivalence – Professional Development Process
ICMCI ACP005 Specimen ACP Assessment Form – for Institute Assessors of ACPs
ICMCI ACP006 Specimen ACP Certificate
Benefits and Promotion of the ACP Designation
CMC-Global has developed global standards for the competence and professionalism of management consultants which are accepted by its member institutes, which currently operate in 49 countries. These standards are embodied in the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) qualification; consultants who have this qualification are deemed to have achieved high levels of consultant competences and professionalism to a consistent standard recognized all over the world.
ACP Firms are also expected to contribute to the advancement of the professionalism in management consulting, and in return, benefit from recognition of the ACP designation:
- Clients want assurance that the consultants they hire are competent and professional. Consultants who are CMC-qualified can demonstrate that they have met high standards in this respect, certified by an independent not-for-profit, professional body..
- CMCs are required to belong to their national institute, which will have an approved code of conduct. CMCs are required to adhere to this code, and clients can therefore be assured that their consultants will behave according to strict ethical guidelines.
- The CMC is a competence-based qualification and its retention requires consultants to engage in continuing professional development. Clients can be assured therefore that CMC-qualified consultants keep their knowledge and skills up to date.
The Accredited Consulting Practices designation allows a practice to be recognized for its recruitment, training and development, as well as its operating standards, as being of a standard consistent with those for an individual CMC professional.
Promoting the ACP Designation
The attraction of the ACP designation will vary according to different types of consulting firms, which can be distinguished as follows:
- Larger firms with well-defined management consulting processes and infrastructure. This category also includes business advisory practices of the audit and accounting firms, a number of whom explicitly avoid the use of the term 'consulting', using “business advisory” instead; but are, by any measure, actively involved in consulting to businesses.
- Small and medium sized firms that do not have well defined and managed processes for recruiting, training and development, appraisals and performance reviews.
For large regional or global consulting businesses, significant effort is given to ensuring their individual brand will be a key determinant of market awareness and perceptions related to ethics, professionalism, professional development, etc. The ACP designation is still beneficial, and can provide an added feature for how they are perceived in the market and by their clients.
In large, multi-service firms, where management consultancy is but one element of their service offering, ACP arrangements may be of particular attraction to the partners or directors responsible for the management consultancy strand by giving them a means of protecting their professionalism from the pressures from the rest of the firm to dilute professional standards.
For the larger firms that are interested in becoming an ACP, the value proposition needs to have an explicit economic benefit. Typically, these might include:
- The potential for reduced attrition. Recruiting and training consultants is a significant cost and unwanted attrition adds considerably to the costs of running a practice. Becoming an ACP demonstrates a practice’s support to consulting as a career choice, and reinforces the professional standing of consultants. The opportunity to acquire CMC status should increase the attractiveness of a practice as an employer and reduce attrition.
- Institutes might offer advantageous subscription rates to CMC members through an ACP, provided the number of members exceeded a minimum volume.
NOTE: For those large consulting companies operating on a multi-country or global basis, CMC-Global has introduced the new CMC-Firm designation program, offering worldwide accreditation awarded directly from the CMC-Global.
Small and medium sized firms benefit by having their core management processes defined and, through the ACP process, plus review and audit by our external NFP professional body. For the smaller firms, the ACP can help ensure that effective management processes are in place to manage and grow their business.
The other benefits as outlined above for larger firms, would also apply to the medium sized and smaller firms.