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Poverty and Imposture Block the Development of the Market

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14 Iul 2004 - 00:00

BUSINESS - July 14 2004

The business consulting market is not so coherent and big as the official increasing rhythm of the Romanian economy would suggest. A great gap is to appear between the segment of the big multinational companies and the ones that take care of the little companies.

ADRIAN N. IONESCU

The financial consulting and the one of the afferent of some economic sectors, of the technological, of big engineering projects, IT, juridical sectors value about 160 million euros per year. These projects are destined to the big companies, clients of "the four important" consulting multinational societies. A margin of about 10-20 million euros could be added by the Romanian and foreign companies that are less known, which are still inaccessible.

ELEMENTARY DEMAND. There are few Romanian companies that contact PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, KPMG or Deloitte & Touche when they need help. None of the companies a little bit lower in the importance hierarchy are contacted either. Not even when they have fusion/buying projects with/or other companies. There are also some hundreds of thousands of companies that have other problems, elementary ones, with the business or marketing plans. The cogent proof is the way in which the permittivity of the state’s legislation is used.

The most wanted services are the fiscal-bookkeeping and the financial ones. This is where the big confusions appear.

THE IRS. In the first case, the consulting demand is limited to "the bookkeeping itself", without any losses "in the giving segment". In the second case, the companies demand the making and supervising the credit files for banks or for granting programmes.

The artificiality of a confuse demand confronts with the stratification of the well defined offer of the important consulters. For example, 905 of the Teaha Management Consulting clients, a company that works in the fiscal-bookkeeping sector, are companies that need specialized reports in German.

"The turbulence is total on the market. There hasn’t appeared yet a coherent hierarchy of the consulting companies which work on specified segments, according to the needs and the paying abilities of the companies", says Teofil Teaha, the president of Teaha Management Consulting.

THE FINANCING. In this sector, a company like Relians in Iasi emphasizes that they take care of the project management, not of the files. The recommendation of the most proper financing source is just a step that occurs after the diagnostic-analysis of the demander and of the project. Before "the making of the file" there’s a need for a design of the investment.

A solid consulting company won’t say her work is done once the customer received the money, but it will insist on assisting its client until the project is implemented.

IGNORANCE. "Many don’t see the importance of the consulting. There are others that don’t know what to ask from such a company. There are some others that can’t afford paying for the services", says Ovidiu Rata, the Relians director and member of AMCOR (the Romanian Management Consulters Association).

Cristian Parvan, the executive director of the National Confederation of the Romanian Employers, himself a consulter, attacks "the lack of managerial culture of many company leaders, which appreciate that the consulting services don’t have a specific finality".

"In Romania there is not the habit of consulting demanding at the level asked by the economy development", admits Eugen Ovidiu Chirovici, the president of the National Agency for the Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), who also blames enterprisers’ lack of interest.

THE FALSE MARKET. "The quality of the pseudo-consulting is rarely worth the price and affects the activity and the price lists of the real pros", admits another consultant, himself unsatisfied by the market.

The careful selection of the offers is often blocked by the existence of some ad hoc monopoles, whose services are the only way to the credit file. These aren’t the smaller or bigger subsidiaries of the banks. This is what Cristian Parvan defines as "major economical distortions, which make the rules of the market to be less important than the influence traffic and even than the corruption".

However, no one dares to jeopardize itself by bringing proofs to denounce these dealers.

The least but not the least, the auto sufficiency of the management of many societies is denounced by the consulters. "The small budget destined for consulting is especially determined by the auto sufficiency of the managers that believe they are pros in the branch and prefer loosing by their one mistakes", concludes Horatiu Hagiu, director and owner of the specialized company Class Fin-Expert.

THE ACREDITATION CURE. In the new law of the small enterprises is stimulated the appearance of an authentification system for the consulting companies, which is welcomed by the authentic consulters, even if the authentification method isn’t yet settled. Ovidiu Rata asks that this should be made using the ISO certification, which his firm obtained for the project management services. Cristian Parvan considers that in the fiscal consulting statute, for example, should emphasize the role of it in the support for the taxpayer as well as for the Ministry of Finances.

FREE MONEY TO THE SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES (SME)

The NASME forgivable loans financing programme for the consulting for the SME is in its third year of development. In the present, from the 10 billion lei budget for 2004, 5.8 billions have been loaned through 169 of agreement notifications. From the 268 demands, 100 have been rejected because they were ineligible or because they had bad files and the rest are still studied. Most of the demands (37%) are for the financing of the elaboration of business plans, then the market plans and the financing sources - 25% each. The rest, 13%, show that the consulting about the implementation of the standards and certificates of quality is still one of the priorities less things for the companies, in spite of the numerous alarms.

THE PRICELIST GAP

A "crÃşme de la crÃşme" consulter brings 500,000 euros per year for his company. A pro that for eight official work hours per day asks for his smaller customers 30 euros per hour produces 24,000 euros per year. An important consulting society hardly accepts a client that brings 50,000 euros per year, while the estimations for the average turnover of the Romanian consulting agencies converges to the same sum. Our poll reached an average turnover of 350,000 for the few important consulting companies in Romania. Their incomes have doubled or even tripled in the latest two or three years.

Translation: SORIN BALAN

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