My organization operates in the professional services industry. My company is a global professional services firm that partners with government and commercial clients to deliver consulting services and technology solutions in defense, energy, environment, homeland security, social programs and transportation. My company serves government at all levels, major corporations, and multilateral institutions. Within each market, the firm offers consulting services to assist clients in strategy and policy analysis, program management, project evaluation, and other services.
In general, professional service industries are a rapidly growing and highly profitable sector of advanced economies. According to First Research, professional service industries account for a large part of the US economy, generating about $600 billion in annual revenue for 600,000 individual firms. The largest segments are legal services ($130 billion), engineering services ($120 billion), computer-related services ($110 billion), accounting ($60 billion), management consulting ($60 billion), advertising ($50 billion), and scientific research ($25 billion). First Research further states that demand is driven heavily by the health of the US economy and particularly by corporate profits.
While some professional services are necessary for the normal functioning of most companies, some of the most profitable services aren't considered essential and are often postponed when corporate profits are low. The profitability of professional service firms is closely tied to good marketing, because many of their costs are fixed. Small firms can compete successfully with large firms in their segment if they offer special expertise. Professional firms provide services that require special expertise but are needed only occasionally. Because of this intermittent use (or single use), firms can make their expertise available to many customers and serve several customers at the same time. The distinguishing feature of the professional services industry is the fact that it does not sell tangible products and is wholly dependent on expertise and skills.