Consultants are oftentimes viewed as a necessary evil to accomplishing the larger goal of ensuring one has all the information needed to make the wisest decisions in a business or personal transaction. Without them, you may be led down the wrong path by a biased source or someone without the knowledge and experience to provide you with the leverage needed to make informed choices.
Typically, consultants are engaged in transactions where both independence and expertise are critical to a successful outcome, whether that be in a financial endeavor, business combination, professional dispute, arbitration, or litigation proceeding. Accountants, appraisers, insurance advisors, statisticians, and legal experts, to name a few, are engaged by one or both parties in a situation where there is a significant need to comply with regulations, and settle cases where disagreement on key issues is apparent.
The answer to the question in this article's title lies predominantly with the individuals you choose to work with.
Ask yourself the following when considering engaging with consultants:
- Does the consultant fully understand the larger picture in play, and can they keep this perspective while focusing on their specific role?
- Can they remain fully independent in the case at hand, regardless of who hires them?
- Does their experience and expertise fit with the specifics of the transaction or dispute?
- Are they accredited and/or certified as a professional in their practice?
The most effective consultants understand their role in each unique situation and can work seamlessly with the parties involved, without trying to influence areas in which they are not requested to participate.
Credentials on paper can speak to much of this, however, a more personal vetting process should complement the review process, to ensure you are bringing the right consultants to the table. Don’t necessarily prioritize cost over quality, as it may come back to haunt you down the road.
In the end, a strong team assembled to accomplish the specific goals of any transaction or business dispute settlement will likely avoid a lot of unplanned costs and damages in the long run, and lead to an equitable outcome.