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The Edge_March 2009 -


or her professional organizations and your trade associations? This

membership may be a good indicator of their dedication to the industry

and desire to increase their industry-specific knowledge.

Project B below demonstrates a priority matrix for an agency that

needs an interim CFO while the organization engages in an executive

search for a new CFO.


A. Firm size

B. Web site

C. Mission statement

D. Code of ethics

E. Availability

F. Location

G. Personality

If you are considering hiring a firm with many employees, it is important

to ensure that you evaluate the specific person that will manage

your project. Remember, however, that you must do so in the context

of the larger consulting firm. With that in mind, you may benefit from

learning about their mission statement and code of ethics.

Is the consultant’s location of any importance to you? Location becomes

especially relevant if it is a barrier to timely on site meetings.

The consultant’s web site can tell you about the firm’s employees and

their background. It can also tell you if their expertise includes the

services that you are interested in obtaining.

PERSONALITY is the # 1 factor for most people in their current hiring

practices. While important, it needs to be placed within the context of

the project at hand. If you are installing a new accounting system, for

example, the consultant’s interaction with you as the CEO may be less

important than their interaction with your CFO and the accounting



A. Importance

B. Weighting

C. Matrix

Once you have evaluated the factors above, you need to determine

their relative importance. The use of a priority matrix can be helpful.

For example, Project A reflects a priority matrix for an agency in the

process of hiring a clinical consulting firm to educate clinical staff

about PPS.

In this example, Firm # 3 has a slight advantage due to their preferred

location and association affiliation.

If more than one person is doing the interviewing or taking part in

the selection process, then the organization will need to have a

common matrix to be used by all.



B. Contracts

C. Scope of work


E. Deadlines

F. Money

It is common for people to wonder how any consultants should be

interviewed to ensure that they are performing their due diligence.

I recommend no less than three and no more than five unless

using an RFP. A RFP is a request for proposal and is usually an

open or general call to receive proposals from the consulting

community for the organization’s specific project. A RFP is recommended

for more expensive projects (i.e. IT conversions) in

such instances where the project can be clearly defined and does

not require immediate completion. The project timeline needs to

allow for writing the RFP, the RFP being sent out to the consulting

community, and receiving and evaluating responses. A consultant

agreement should be a written contract with scope of work, interim

timelines, deadlines, and fees, including treatment of travel

and support costs, clearly stated.


Having presented a logical approach to the hiring of a business

consultant, I have one last recommendation to help deal with

“ties,” or an inability to decide between two consultants. Flip a

coin. While the coin is in the air your mind will become clear on

whom you wish to hire, as your sense of “personality” will become

a tiebreaker. Personality or compatibility may still be the

single most important factor in the hiring of a consultant but it

should not be the only factor.

As demonstrated above, Firm # 1 has its biggest advantage in costs

and location. Given the nature of the assignment, they may be closer to

the hiring organization and less expensive.

Let’s go to RENO!

The Northern California PFS Committee is packing their bags and

getting ready to hit the road again. This time we are stretching

beyond California borders and heading to Reno, Nevada. The

Nevada Chapter has requested that we share in an educational

opportunity to cross the borders and strengthen the bonds of

friendship and affiliation.

We are also going to use this Road Show as our pilot for a full

Webinar presentation, which will allow members and guests who

are not able to attend to view it on their PC at work or home. In

addition, we will be archiving this presentation on our web page

where it will be available 24/7 at a modest fee for viewing.

The Road Show will be held at St. Mary’s Regional Medical

Center on March 27, 2009. More details to follow, but we welcome

all of you to come and join us in the mountains and the casinos.

The Edge - Northern California Chapter’s Newsletter 7

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