Professional Practice For Consultants

Sell your expertise to the world. This course is a valuable guide to setting up and operating a consulting business in any profession.

Course Code: BBS301
Fee Code: S3
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Want To Start a Consultancy Business?

Consultants are people with expertise in a particular area who offers advice to others. Usually, a consultant is employed on a temporary basis until a particular task has been completed. Consultants can represent a broad range of professions and industries.

This course is a valuable guide to setting up and operating a consulting business in any profession. Experts are always in demand by business, government bodies, public organisations and private individuals.

Everyone needs help from time to time from someone with experience. If you have training, and/or significant experience in you may have the potential to become a consultant in your field of expertise.

Examples of industries utilising consultants include:

  • Engineering
  • Management
  • Human resources
  • Marketing
  • Information technology
  • Strategic planning
  • Real estate/estate agency
  • Architecture
  • Corporate finance
  • Financial advice
  • Politics
  • Public sector
  • Legal
  • Business
  • Education
  • Media
  • Public relations
  • Employment
  • Environmental issues
  • Psychology
  • Social work
  • Building
  • Planning
  • Health and Fitness

There are potential consultancy roles in many employment sectors. Learn how to tap the market with this course.

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Determining If a Consultancy Practice is for You
    • Nature and Scope
    • Pros and Cons of Being a Consultant
    • What is Needed to be a Consultant
    • Codes of Contact
    • Are You Ready
    • Getting Started
  2. Planning a Consultancy Practice: Part 1
    • Methods of Entering Business
    • Deciding Where to Work
    • Equipment
    • Start Up Finance
    • Business Structures
    • Insurance
    • Set Up Costs
    • Having Assistance Available
  3. Planning a Consultancy Practice: Part 2
    • Preparing a Business Plan for a Consultancy
    • Business Plan Pro Forma
  4. Knowing What to Charge
    • Determining Costs
    • Available Work Time
    • Convincing Clients of Value in Your Fees
  5. Setting Up Your Consulting Practice
    • Finding Clients
    • Marketing a Consultancy Practice
    • Establishing a Press Kit
    • Using the Internet
    • Stationary
    • Networking
    • Communications
  6. Keeping Accounts and Records
    • Keeping Records
    • Source Documents
    • Handling Invoices
    • Time sheets
    • Being Organised
  7. How to Generate Business & Keep It
    • Using Agents or Brokers
    • Sub Contracting other Consultants and Support Services
    • Propagating Referrals
    • References from Clients
    • Tenders
    • Writing Articles
    • Successful Client Relations
    • Closing a Deal
    • Keeping Clients
    • Dealing with Clients who Say No
    • Principles of Getting Business
  8. Maintaining Your Consultancy Practice
    • Hiring Staff, Expanding Business
    • Creating Passive Income
    • Working in a Changing World

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Analyse current industry requirements and your individual needs to determine if opening a consultancy is appropriate.
  • Determine the business structure appropriate for your consultancy practice.
  • Produce a business plan and implementation schedule
  • Determine costs involved in setting up a practice and how to set fees.
  • Describe different communication and marketing techniques.
  • Describe different administrative procedures including invoicing and maintaining records and accounts.
  • Determine industry best practice for obtaining and keeping your customers
  • Recognise responsibility towards yourself and employees in maintaining and expanding your practice, and to develop strategies to cater for increased demand.

How Well Do You Present Yourself?

It has already been suggested that a consultant needs to present themselves in a favourable way.  A simple strengths and weaknesses analysis can be used to identify an individual's strong points which can then be emphasised. It can also be used to reveal weaknesses and thereby identify specific areas in which a person needs to improve, such as communication, time management, and so on.


Personal skills are something which should be taken into consideration. Look at what you are good at. For instance, are you good at listening, communicating, or diplomacy? Are you enthusiastic and charismatic or do you have a more serious outlook and intense attention to detail? You will know what is required for your area of expertise for consultancy. Through evaluating the areas where you are strong as well as the areas where you are weak you can better understand yourself.  If you are not so good at communicating via email, you may need to work on your written language skills. If you are not so good on the telephone, work on this. You can enrol in workshops to address particular weaknesses you may, take training courses, or practice skills. It is important to present the right persona and types of skills if you are going to convince clients that you are the consultant that they need.

It is imperative that a consultant presents themselves in a professional and efficient way. A client is employing a consultant for advice and help - and that is exactly what the consultant needs to give, in a way that is suitable for the client.  If a consultant is a high flying expert in their field with a great deal of knowledge but poor communication skills, they may not be able to present the information in a way that is suitable for the client. Information given to the client must be coherent and useful.

The consultant should also take care of their appearance and behaviour. They should try to look professional and knowledgeable. A business consultant should dress in business attire and be well-groomed. Whilst it may seem 'cool' to dress in smart casual clothing you need to mirror the dress code of your target audience. Smart casual might be perfectly acceptable in other circumstances, for instance if you are working as a garden consultant.


A consultant should always turn up on time. You are better to allow yourself extra time to get to appointments to limit the possibility of being delayed. If you are delayed for whatever reason, then phone, text or email ahead to inform the client. You should also always be well prepared for the work which needs to be completed. A client may be paying a lot of money to a consultant for their services, so will want to be impressed with the services offered as well as the consultant themselves. If you are well prepared and have familiarised yourself with the material ahead of time, you are more likely to be perceived as competent and professional.


  • What is appropriate dress for the profession? A financial consultant may need to wear a suit, but that might not be the same for a consultant who is inspecting the structure of a building.
  • Converse with clients. Do not lecture or interrogate them. Conversation involves speaking, listening, and body language and you need to be balanced in your use of all three.
  • Build trust in the client before you fully trust what they tell you. When a client is comfortable with you, their answers will be more truthful. Until they trust you, they may give incomplete, inaccurate or exaggerated feedback.

Presentation matters -but so do a lot of other things as well!

Being a successful consultant starts with having a service to sell.
This course helps you to sell and deliver that service; and in doing so, improve your chances of building a profitable and sustainable business.


This course is a valuable guide to setting up and operating a consulting business in any profession. Experts are always in demand by business, government bodies, public organisations and private individuals.

Everyone needs help from time to time from someone who has greater expertise than themself. If you have training, and/or significant experience in just about anything;  you may have the potential to become a consultant in your field of expertise.

This course has been developed to complement studies in the various disciplines taught by ACS, including Psychology, Horticulture, Agriculture, Leisure Studies, Businesss Management and Environmental Management.



Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.

How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

Simply click on the ENROL OPTIONS button at the top of this screen and follow the prompts.

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What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course has been designed to cover the fundamentals of the topic. It will take around 100 hours to complete, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and anything else that is contained in the course. Our short courses are a great way to do some professional development or to learn a new skill.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $60 incl. GST for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exam and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Statement of Attainment. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email

Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
We are focused on helping you learn and make the most of your experience.
You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.

How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

We can prepare an invoice, quote or proforma invoice. Simply complete your details on our Invoice Request form

We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Yes, we have many students who are in locked facilities, such as prisons or hospitals. We can cater by also offering paper notes at an additional cost.

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

John Mason

Writer, Manager, Teacher and Businessman with over 40 years interenational experience covering Education, Publishing, Leisure Management, Education, and Horticulture. He has extensive experience both as a public servant, and as a small business owner.
John is a well respected member of many professional associations, and author of over seventy books and of over two thousand magazine articles.

Tracey Jones

Widely published author, Psychologist, Manager and Lecturer. Over 10 years working with ACS and 25 years of industry experience.
Qualifications include: B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), Dip. SW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies).

Dr. Lynette Morgan

Broad expertise in horticulture and crop production. She travels widely as a partner in Suntec Horticultural Consultants, and has clients in central America, the USA, Caribbean, South East Asia, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.


Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Nicola Stewart

Nicola worked in publishing before changing direction to teach Anatomy, Physiology and various complementary therapies in the UK’s post-compulsory sector for 16 years. She is the published author of 10 books, plus a range of magazine articles and has also ghost-written across a number of genres. When she is not working for ACS, she provides specialist literacy tuition for children with dyslexia.

Jade Sciascia

Former Business Coordinator, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, Secondary School teacher (Biology); Administrator (Recruitment), Senior Supervisor (Youth Welfare). International Business Manager for IARC. Academic officer and writer with ACS for over 10 years, both in Australia and in the UK.

Jenny Bragg

Jenny has experience across many different business areas including marketing, operations management and human resources, her specialty fields are events, hospitality and tourism. She has worked in a number of different service sector organisations including hotels, restaurants, bars and specialist event providers. Jenny is a trained teacher and has worked with different educational bodies in the UK, as well as providing a consultancy service to the business and events sector.

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