Business Counselor: Job Description, Education Requirements & Salary Info

Sep 14, 2019

A bachelor's degree in a field such as finance, business, or mathematics is typically needed for entry-level business counselor positions. However, depending on the employer, some form of professional certification might also be required, such as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation.

Essential Information

Business counselors work with a client's business in order to identify problems and improve performance. They analyze information such as budget data, performance expectations and personnel evaluations to determine the source of a problem and assess areas for improvement. Entry-level positions in this field usually require a Bachelor's degree in business, finance, management, or mathematics. In addition, some employers prefer counselors that have specific certifications, such as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Management Consultant (CMC) or Pragmatic Marketing Certification (PMC). Those seeking employment in this field should also be familiar with spreadsheet analysis and presentation software. Someone who has strong math skills, enjoys analyzing data, and is good at working with people across various disciplines may enjoy a career in this field.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in business, finance, management, or mathematics
Other Requirements Certification as a CPA, CMC, or PMC (depending on employer)
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 14% (for all management analysts)
Median Salary (2018)* $83,610 (for all management analysts)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Business Counselor Job Description

Business counselors, more commonly referred to as management analysts, advisors or business consultants, analyze a client's business in order to identify problems and improve performance. Consultants may be given a specific task, such as improving productiveness, efficiency or profitability. They may also be asked to take on a broader duty like restructuring or reorganizing the business. In addition, consultants may be asked to help implement a new system into a currently running operation such as new software or updates.

Counselors review and analyze data, including budgets, profit and loss sheets, performance expectations and personnel evaluations. Studying these materials helps the business counselor understand the sources of a problem and assess areas for improvement. Although consultants may initially work individually on a project, most analysts typically meet shortly after the preliminary stages of work. These meetings allow them to discuss research and findings, share different perspectives and collaborate on potential solutions.

Once recommendations have been finalized, counselors present solutions to the client and ways to implement the new changes. Depending on the contract, the counselors may also be responsible for negotiating with outside vendors, creating new policy and educating associates on changes. Some counselors specialize in a particular industry or business such as manufacturing, finance or sales. Other counselors are willing to take on all projects, regardless of industry.

Education Requirements

Entry-level consultants enter the field with a bachelor's degree in business, finance, management or mathematics. Some employers require a master's degree in business administration, marketing or supply chain management coupled with two or more years of experience in a specific or related field. Postings on Monster.com from October 2010 indicated that employers may prefer to hire counselors with specific certifications, such as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Management Consultant (CMC) or Pragmatic Marketing Certification (PMC). Employers also favor candidates with exceptional analytical, decision-making and communication skills. Additionally, candidates should be familiar with spreadsheet analysis and presentation software.

Salary Information for a Business Counselor

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for management analysts was $83,610 as of May 2018. Wages were highest in technology- and management-related jobs. In addition, consultants in large metropolitan areas were paid above average wages. The BLS stated that jobs for management analysts were expected to increase much faster than average by 14% between 2018 and 2028.

A business counselor is responsible for analyzing data, pinpointing problems and recommending potential solutions, and therefore it is important for them to possess excellent communication, analytical, and decision-making skills. Some counselors prefer to specialize in a particular industry or business area, such as finance or manufacturing, although this is not a requirement of the profession. A bachelor's degree in a relevant field is required, and salaries vary by specialty and location.

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