For its study “Trends and perspectives for the counseling of small and medium-sized entities (SMEs) the Berlin based German institute for SMEs (DIKMU) questioned about 2000 economic advisers in Germany on the most important issues for the future and current trends in the counseling of SMEs. The main finding: increased competition, decreasing professional fees and increasing internationalization in the counseling industry.
The current economic uncertainty is rather advantageous than detrimental to the counseling business. Thus, more than 60 percent of economic advisers questioned expect the counseling market volume to increase by more than two percent in the near future. What has changed, however, is the acquisition of new business: More than fifty percent of the professionals interviewed think that public funds do not play as much an important role any more as they still did three years ago.
What has increased, however, are the demands by SMEs. Outdated counseling methods such as the preparation of studies and reports will not suffice to satisfy them any more, said 73 percent of economic advisers questioned. Another point is the increased competition in the counseling field due to the activities of competitors whose core business is not counseling such as insurance companies and commercial banks which take occasion of topics such as Basel II to provide counseling to their clients. It is just this topic and IT issues the importance of which professional advisers think to be overestimated. According to them the topics which will become increasingly important in the future are internationalization (in particular foreign markets within the EU), coaching, financing and capital issues as well as counseling on strategy and work process policies.