- Types of risk and compliance consultants
- What do risk and compliance consultants do?
- Risk and compliance consultant career path
- Risk and compliance consultant salaries
- Qualifications & training
- Risk and compliance consultant skills
- Pros and cons of being a risk and compliance consultant
- Risk and compliance consultant work-life balance
- Typical employers hiring risk and compliance consultants
- Related jobs to risk and compliance consultant
- More information
Do you like playing by the rules? Does your excellent attention to detail mean you pick up on things that others miss? If you’re looking for a job that combines your critical thinking skills with your interest in business, a career as a risk and compliance consultant could be ideal for you.
Are you interested in starting your career in risk and compliance consulting? Explore the current jobs in consulting available now.
Types of risk and compliance consultants
Risk consultants and compliance consultants have related but separate jobs. They both try to reduce the potential damage that could come upon an organisation if regulations aren’t adhered to but from different angles.
Risk consultants identify potential risks that an organisation may face and come up with strategies to mitigate these risks. The role of a risk consultant is for an organisation’s protection. The risk consultant works to prevent the company facing issues in the future. Types of risk consultants include:
- Financial risk. This role involves making sure the organisation has enough money that, even if events outside of its control happen, it can still remain afloat. Financial risk is often separated into liquidity risk, which relates to organisations having enough money which isn’t in stocks or assets to stay in business in the case of economic issues, and credit risk which means working out how risky it is to lend money to customers.
- Non-financial risk. This is a broad term for all the risk consultants that work beyond financial risk. One example of non-financial risk is cyber risk, which relates to how secure the IT system of an organisation is.
Compliance consultants look at the organisation’s guidelines, the industry’s regulations and the country’s laws to make sure the company’s activities are legal and fit within all guidelines. The work of a compliance consultant is to make sure that the organisation doesn’t break any rules or regulations to prevent them from getting in trouble. Types of compliance consultants include:
- IT compliance. This role involves checking for any data protection issues or negligence in an organisation’s cybersecurity.
- Financial compliance. This involves checking that there’s no fraud, tax evasion, corruption, money laundering or other illegal financial activities in an organisation.
- Legal and regulatory compliance. This involves making sure an organisation follows all relevant laws, for example health and safety laws and regulations made by external regulation bodies.
What do risk and compliance consultants do?
Despite the many different types of risk and compliance consultants, there are lots of responsibilities which overlap between the jobs. Here are the tasks that you do as a risk or compliance consultant:
- Have meetings with an organisation to understand their needs and the specific area that you’re targeting
- Carefully analyse the target area, either looking for potential risks or identifying potential legal or regulatory issues
- Develop strategies to minimise risks
- Train employees to work within regulations to deal with risks
- Write reports with your findings to submit to the client
Risk and compliance consultant career path
Risk and compliance consultants typically work for a consulting firm. In these firms, there are levels of consultancy with paygrades to match. Here is the typical career progression for consultants:
You begin in an entry level risk or compliance consulting position. In these roles, you work on projects which challenge you and help you build up the skills that you’ll need to succeed in the career. You may work with small companies and startups. You help more senior members of your team with their projects.
After entry-level work, you progress to mid-level risk and compliance consultancy. You get more responsibility, higher workloads and more interesting projects. Since you have prior experience, you’re more trusted by your consultancy firm and your clients.
The highest level of work in consulting is a senior risk or compliance consultant. In a senior position, you work on the highest profile, most complex projects given out in the organisation. You can delegate work to junior members of the team and give them advice when they need help.
With a great deal of experience and skill, you could set up your own consultancy firm. You may continue consulting at first and then move over to a more managerial role if the firm is successful and you can afford to have employees.
Risk and compliance consultant salaries
Working in risk and compliance consultancy has the potential to take you high up in a consultancy company. Here are the salaries that you may expect at different levels of consultancy:
- Entry-level risk and compliance consultants earn between £28,000 and £40,000 per year
- Mid-level risk and compliance consultants earn between £40,000 and £50,000 per year
- Senior compliance consultants could earn up to £100,000 per year
- Senior risk consultants could earn up to £140,000 per year
Qualifications and training
Being a risk or compliance consultant can give you a great paycheck, but there are steps to joining this career which you should take first.
You typically need an undergraduate degree to be a consultant. This is usually in the area that you want to consult in. For example, financial risk consultants need a degree in a finance-based subject like finance, economics and business management. However, IT compliance consultants may want a degree in a more technologically or software-based subject like computer science or information science.
An alternative to an undergraduate degree is an apprenticeship. Whilst you probably won’t find an apprenticeship in compliance or risk consulting in particular, some official bodies teach you the necessary skills you need for the job through a directly relevant course.
If you’re interested in an apprenticeship, consider the compliance and risk officer level 3 apprenticeship from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.
Having work experience is a real help in getting a job in consulting. Internships teach you the necessary skills that you need to do the job, along with how to work in an office setting. If you’re interested in internships, explore the consulting internships available right now.
You can progress your career with professional qualifications. These help you develop your skills so you can reach a higher level in your career. Professional qualifications are typically designed for people already working in the field rather than graduates, so make sure you’re at the right level in your career to get the most out of a professional qualification.
If you’re interested in leveling up your career, consider the certification in compliance from the International Compliance Association or explore the certifications offered by the Institute of Risk Management.
Risk and compliance consultant skills
Being a risk or compliance manager requires a general understanding of the organisation you’re working in and the wider industry.
- Analytical skills. Your work involves looking through data to find either risky or illicit details. Being analytical means you sift through data easily and can make assessments based on the data.
- Interpersonal skills. You need great interpersonal skills to work in consultancy so you can easily fit into a new working environment. If you’re well liked, they may extend your contract and give you more work with the organisation.
- Eager to learn. To work well as a risk or compliance consultant you need an eagerness to continue learning. For risk consultants, you need to be aware of the current situations outside the work you’re doing, for example the economic environment, and how this could impact your work. For compliance consultants, you need to know the changes in policy, law and regulation which could affect your client. Being eager to learn helps you understand what’s happening outside of the workplace and adapt your work accordingly.
Pros and cons of being a risk and compliance consultant
Risk and compliance consulting combines business knowledge with analytical skills. Before you jump into a career in risk or compliance consulting, consider the following pros and cons of the work to make sure it’s the right job for you:
- You can earn a large amount of money from consulting
- You get to work on diverse and interesting projects for many different companies, learning about many areas of corporate structure
- There can be some travel involved
- Being so involved in different areas of a company teaches you the range of job options out there and you might find a job you would like to try out
- It’s a highly competitive job. If you work best under pressure and enjoy competition, a career as a risk or compliance consultant could be ideal for you
- Risk consultancy can be very stressful, particularly if your strategies are tested by the organisation facing difficult circumstances
- You could have a large workload to complete every week
- You may have to travel long distances to get to an organisation you’re consulting for or live away from home for short periods of time. This can be difficult if you have a family
- You have to adapt to the company culture of every organisation you work with, which can be hard to keep up with
- If you don’t work well under pressure and aren’t competitive at work, you may not enjoy the job and a less pressured job might be better suited to you
- Whilst you work on different projects as a consultant, the daily activities that you do could be monotonous
Risk and compliance consultant work-life balance
You could have long working weeks with a lot of work to fit in. Since you work for a client, you typically do your work in the organisation’s office. This means adapting your working pattern and hours to the organisation you’re working for, meaning you could have a very different working life from one project to the next. You may also find that the office is far from your home meaning a longer commute is required to get there. This adds to your working week and further throws off your work-life balance.
The job is also highly stressful. Developing healthy coping mechanisms before you start the career path can help you in the long run. This means you enjoy the work more and maintain a positive attitude to work.
Typical employers hiring risk and compliance consultants
Being a consultant typically means working for a consultancy firm. This firm finds you clients that you then work for. Here are the top consultancy firms in the UK that employ graduates in risk and compliance:
Related jobs to risk and compliance consultant
Learn more about risk consultants by reading what Becky, a risk advisory consultant and Bright Network member, does on a typical day.