Difference between Advisory and Consulting?

PeterGUO's picture
Rank: Chimp | banana points 9

As the title suggests, what is the difference between those two? I am a college student looking for a career at consulting but get confused between those two areas, especially at the case of Deloitte.

What is Advisory?

Advisory works similarly to an audit, in which you will be providing reports and evaluations to upper and middle managers. These reports can vary from financial and accounting advice to a wider range of transactions and events. Although it can be similar to consulting in which you are offering recommendations to consumers through reports and research, you are not actively working on strategy projects.

A look at the advisory roll from Credit Suisse.

What is Consulting?

Consulting can be defined as assisting in strategy, structure, management, and operations of an organization to pursue a long-term project. In consulting, you will be working for C-Suite executives on various large-scale projects such as new products, target markets, and feasibility studies. Typically a consulting position will revolve around excel sheets, powerpoints, and client meetings.

Deloitte's Advisory vs Consulting

Deloitte does offer both an advisory and consulting position but their description can be vague in what is the difference between the two. Both Deloitte Advisory and Deloitte Consulting are different entities within the firm and have differing recruitment processes as well.

Deloitte Advisory can be described as the risk management of the firm. This branch can be quite diverse.


It is divided into Business Risk and Tech Risk, and then there's also a bunch of other ways to divide it as well (Regulatory & Compliance, Cyber Risk, Financial Transactions etc.). There is a Financial Transactions Advisory arm of Deloitte Advisory.

On the other hand, Deloitte Consulting consists of strategy and operations, human capital, and technology. With that being said, Deloitte's consulting aspect does not deal much with strategy, but more operations and management consulting.

A description of the difference based on majors:


If you're an Accounting major, you probably lean more towards Advisory. If you're interested in business more broadly, you'll want Consulting.

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Comments (9)

Nov 28, 2016

College chimp wants to break into consulting

Nov 29, 2016

one is consulting the other is bleh

Nov 30, 2016

In Consulting:
You're working for C-Suite execs (or a level below) on strategy projects like how to expand into a foreign market, whether or not to launch a new product/kill an under-performing product, or if a new M&A opportunity is a good idea. Excel, Powerpoint, and client meeting are your best friends. Essentially, this is what you should think of when you hear Management Consulting.

In Advisory:
You're almost like an auditor. You'll be working for upper/middle managers in an organization, with a focus on financials and tax principles. You'll do a lot of SOX compliance testing, and risk management assessments. Still do some cool work, but it's not "strategy."

At Deloitte Specifically:
Deloitte S&O is traditional Management Consulting. Deloitte Advisory is much like the advisory I described above, with an even heavier emphasis on Risk Management.

If you're an Accounting major, you probably lean more towards Advisory. If you're interested in business more broadly, you'll want general Consulting.

Nov 30, 2016

While i will agree with the idea that S&O is more traditional mgt consulting, advisory has a range of services. Take a look at their website so you can understand the difference.


Nov 28, 2016

Thank you very much!

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Best Response
Dec 1, 2016

i can speak for Deloitte because i was an advisory sophomore intern in the past and spent the entire summer trying to figure out the difference between advisory and consulting.
Deloitte Strategy & Operations is the "management consulting" arm of Deloitte. That being said, Deloitte Consulting still doesn't do as much ~Strategy~ work as MBB, and it's a lot more Operations. But I think people still on the Moniter Deloitte side get to do more Strategy work.

Deloitte Advisory has a lot within it. It is divided into Business Risk and Tech Risk, and then there's also a bunch of other ways to divide it as well (Regulatory & Compliance, Cyber Risk, Financial Transactions etc.). There is a Financial Transactions Advisory arm of Deloitte Advisory. People get excited because some of these groups have names like Valuation, M&A Advisory, Securitization etc. but this is NOT really IB work at all. It's like the accounting compliance side of M&A or something. (Don't completely quote me on this. I don't know their day to day work, but it's definitely not "IB" work.) I would describe Advisory as a lot of "risk mitigation" consulting work. So it is "consulting" in the sense that you do client work and give recommendations. But it's not strategy. Its kind of like IT systems/ risk management consulting sort of.

Deloitte also has another group called Deloitte corporate finance. This is their MM IB arm.

It is worth noting Deloitte Advisory and Deloitte Consulting are two different entities and have completely different recruiting processes. So if I got a return offer in Advisory, I can't just ask, oh can I actually be in S&O instead? doesn't work like that.
Recruiting wise, S&O is significantly more difficult than Advisory. Deloitte Consulting is divided into S&O, Human Capital, and Tech. I believe S&O is the typically most sought after. I don't know much about the other too.

If you are an Accounting major, Advisory is a great balance of doing accounting-related work but not straight audit. But if you are not into Accounting or business tech, it may not be of the most interest to you.

I noticed a lot of Advisory people may have came from Audit, or have their CPAs. Having your CPA was important on the Advisory/ Audit/ Tax side, but no one cares if you have a CPA in S&O. (But you don't absolutely need a CPA to be in Advisory like Audit/ Tax)

This is just what I grazed from the summer from my experience, so please don't roast me if something is not completely true lol. I spoke to a lot of people from both Advisory and Consulting to try to get a better idea.

TLDR: Deloitte Advisory is not management consulting. S&O is.

    • 3
Dec 6, 2016

Depends on the firm, sometimes the above distinction doesn't really matter. For example, "PwC Advisory" encompases three groups: Consulting, Deals and Forensics. In turn, Consulting is divided into Management Consulting, Technology Consulting, and Risk Consulting. The PwC MC / Strategy& relationship is akin the Deloitte S&O / Monitor relationship.

The above sounds spot on for Deloitte, but be careful generalizing because the notion of Advisory vs. Consulting is treated differently at different firms.

Dec 6, 2016