Thought Leadership

What are professional services?

What are professional services?

What are professional services? - A broad definition - A hugely important component of the global economy - Singleton contractors through to the Big Four

The Climbing Mount Audacity series is written for professional service firm entrepreneurs and leaders – with advice for the SME start-up through to the senior directors/partners of established, multi $million companies. It makes sense, therefore, to begin with an understanding of what are professional services?

What are professional services?

Professional services is used to describe a wide array of specialist technical, knowledge-and-expert based advisory support services to other businesses. Professional service (PS) firms are, as such, primarily business-to-business ventures involved in the marketing, selling and dispensing of such professional services.

The definition is, however, broad and covers a wide range of professional service types: business consulting, accountancy, actuarial, data analytics, legal, advertising, web design, architecture, engineering, recruitment, IT support, financial services, HR, training and development, management consulting, marketing, public relations, research, tax advice and so on.

Generally speaking, if you harness the talents of knowledgeable, skilled individuals to provide advice and support to other businesses then you fit the professional services descriptive.

Professional service firms are a hugely important part of the economy. By example, the US Dept. of Commerce estimates that in 2016, the US economy has c. 896,000 companies averaging c. $1.9m/annum revenue per company. This projects the professional services component of the US economy as c. $1.7 trillion ($1,700,000,000,000,000)1 – growing by c. 6.2% on the year before.

The overall US GDP in 2016 was estimated at c. $18.62 trillion2; as such, the professional services component of this was c. 11%.

By further extrapolation, the global market for professional services is estimated to represent c. $4.25 trillion (UK: c. $170 billion; Europe: c. $1.573 trillion; Asia Pacific c. $680 billion)3.

Professional service firms range from the singleton contractor through to the average SME provider (9.8 staff)1 through to the Big Four consultancy firms (Deloitte, PWC, KPMG and EY) that each generated between $11.5bn (KPMG) and $16bn (PWC) in 20164.

If you fit one the professional services firm description and are looking to develop as a leader in such a business then the Climbing Mount Audacity series is for you.

To get started in the blog series, go here.

To understand how such businesses are valued, go here.

To learn what makes a professional service firm successful, go here.

To learn how to sell professional services, go here.

To understand why Method Grid is such an invaluable tool for growing value in professional service firms go here.

1Source: ; accessed March 2018.
2Source: ; accessed July 2018)
3Source: ; ; accessed March 2018)
4Source:; accessed July 2018

what are professional services? image 01

So, what’s next?

We’ll be releasing a new post each week. To get each post emailed to you as soon as it’s published, sign up for the Climbing Mount Audacity mailing list below.

Hopefully, you’ll join us on this journey. It’s totally free, and you don’t have to be a Method Grid customer (though you’re more than welcome to sign up for a free trial here).

We’ll be releasing a new post each week. To get each post emailed to you as soon as it’s published, sign up for the Climbing Mount Audacity mailing list below.

Climbing Mount Audacity…
From Startup to Scaleup!

We're sharing everything we know about how to build an awesome professional service firm (and enjoy the journey en route!) PLUS travel updates, reflections on our stumbles and general musings on our Method Grid journey.

See you next week. Have something you want to hear more about? Let me know in the comments below or via Twitter.


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