Explosive growth sees Q_Perior break through 1,000 employees barrier

11 April 2018 Consultancy.uk

German consulting firm Q_Perior has booked explosive growth in 2017 as it ramped up its revenues by 35%. Organic growth across its footprint of 11 offices in 8 countries, as well as the acquisition of P5group, are the key drivers of this success, taking the firm through barrier of 1,000 employees for first time in its seven year history.

Founded in 2011, Q_Perior is a consulting firm headquartered in Bavaria’s largest city of Munich. Since its launch, the firm has expanded into 11 locations, with other offices in Switzerland, Austria, the UK and USA, Canada and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Q_Perior also boasts a headcount of more than 1,000 consultants, and recorded an excellent year in 2017, with turnover of €177 million. This led to the group booking strong growth of 35% over the past 12 months – building on a similarly impressive 2016, in which 26% growth saw revenues of the firm hit €131 million.

Thanks to its continuing momentum, Q_Perior is now the sixth largest German-origin management consultancy, following Roland Berger and Simon-Kucher & Partners, who hold the top two spots. Two years ago, before its latest growth-spurt, Q_Perior was ranked 8th in the German sector, according to a list released by German analyst firm Lünendonk.

Explosive growth sees Q_Perior break through 1,000 employees barrier

As with most of the largest players in the consulting industry, Q_Perior also used targeted acquisitions to drive its growth last year. The purchase of P5group saw the merged firms significantly bolster their outfit within the German speaking market. According to a statement from Q_Perior at the time, there was virtually no overlap between the two companies’ existing client bases, meaning that while the two entities also perceived a key cultural fit, they were both able to expand their business via the deal between the management and IT consulting platforms.

Klaus Leitner, CFO of Q_Perior, said that alongside organic growth from Q_Perior’s industry practices, this was a recipe for accelerated growth. He remarked , “With the P5group deal, we were able to expand our consulting portfolio in the banking environment. We also achieved growth from existing and new customer business in the insurance, Travel, Transport and Logistics, energy and automotive sectors.”

Now, as the firm looks to the future, and bids to maintain its meteoric growth, digitalisation remains a key driver from a functional perspective – something which is also likely to be boosted by the purchase of P5group. With new, digitally savvy competitors pressuring long-term market incumbents via their innovative new business practices, there is mounting pressure on companies to digitalise. In addition to the required technical and procedural support, offering a valued IT consulting service is becoming ever-more important to firms looking to book major growth.

Karsten Höppner, CEO of Q_Perior, commented that the firm has always supported customers at the interface of business and IT, but that this role is even more important in the coming months, due to this trend. He added, “These innovations and technologies are also important drivers for us as a consulting company, which significantly change the way we work and our consulting services. Agility, strong partnerships and streamlined, scalable and digitalized processes are becoming increasingly important.”

The emphasis on digital already seems to be paying off for the firm. Among projects completed by Q_Perior in 2017, cases included the company combining artificial intelligence with chatbot technology for an insurance company, implementing a robo advisor at a major Swiss bank, and supporting a major railway company in significantly improving the management of train doors using IoT technology.

Milestone: beyond 1,000 consultants

Thanks to this growth, Q_Perior has had to recruit new talent to its team to meet booming demand, recently breaking the 1,000 consultant mark. For 2018, the firm intends to keep this expansion up, with the planned hiring of more than 150 new employees this year. The recruitment process concentrates on consultants specialising in new or future-oriented subjects, helping entrench digitalisation within Q_Perior’s culture.

However, the firm is keen not to overlook the talent that it already employs. As a result, dozens of consultants have also been rewarded with promotion, due to the belief shared by Karsten Höppner and the firm’s executives that its success is down to the employees they already have, and their deeply rooted corporate culture.

One example of this came with the elevation of Astrid Blechschmidt, who had been with the company since 2015, to the rank of Partner. Prior to her role at Q_Perior, she had worked as a graduate Business Manager with the CEO of T-Systems DMS in Switzerland. Upon joining Q_Perior, Blechschmidt had successfully worked to expand the firm’s new business sector Tourism, Transport and Logistics – both with regard to topics and staff. This saw her being rewarded alongside the hiring of new Partners Roland Roudny, working to bundle the SAP competencies at Q_Perior, and Bernhard Braunmüller, who returned to the firm having left in 2012, taking up the role of Head of Sales.

Meanwhile, Q_Perior has once more been counted among the 100 best employers in Germany. The consultancy received the prestigious “Great Place to Work” award for the sixth time at an awards ceremony in Berlin earlier in the year. The firm managed to win plaudits after it was judged favourably in four aspects of an anonymous employee questionnaire. These were “Training and development”, “Recognition of working performance”, “Credibility” and “Team spirit”, while 95% of staff surveyed at Q_Perior confirmed that they worked in a friendly environment.

Commenting on the accolade, Karsten Höppner said, “We’re delighted to have reached a very respectable 11th place and would like to thank our employees for this distinction, which acts as both a recognition and an incentive.”

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PA Consulting results reveal record 14% revenue growth

17 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

Global professional services firm PA Consulting has reported another year of strong growth, outpacing the global consulting market significantly over the duration of 2018. PA’s revenue boomed by 14%, passing £455.8 million over the course of the year.

Founded in 1943, by Englishmen Ernest Butten, Tom Kirkham and David Seymour, the firm once known as Personnel Administration has since gone on to become one of the largest consulting firms in the world. PA Consulting Group, as it is now known, has over 2,600 professionals and a global presence spanning 18 countries. While turnover took a decade to recover from a rocky spell after the global financial crisis, PA Consulting is now firmly on the upward incline.

PA has booked strong growth in recent years, following its securing of private equity investment from the Carlyle Group in 2015. While the first full year of results following that move were slightly muted, due in part to the altering of how PA measured its results, the decision has clearly paid dividends since. Revenues jumped by 6% in 2017, hitting an all-time high of £400 million in the process.

Annual consulting revenues of PA Consulting versus UK market

Now, in the latest chapter of the firm’s rapid turnaround, the innovation and transformation consultancy has revealed things only got better in 2018. A set of record results released in April have confirmed that fee income rocketed up by 14% over the course of the prior 12 months, hitting £455.8 million. Considering the UK’s consulting market saw growth slow for the second year running (just 5.6%), PA’s performance is even more pronounced, especially in its first year of full results since influential Chair Marcus Agius stood down. 

The firm is also outpacing the global consulting market. Analytics firm Statista estimates that the consulting market expanded by 4.08% in 2018. As a result of such bullish demand, PA Consulting has also bolstered its staffing, boosting its consulting team’s headcount by 10% in the space of 12 months. 

PA’s team was further strengthened with its continued acquisition campaign, which brought three new firms into the fold during 2018. Boston-based innovation company Essential Design, specialist digital service design firm We Are Friday and London-based digital insight and strategy consultancy Sparkler all became part of PA over the course of the year. PA has also announced plans to recruit 400 professionals for its new digital centre in Belfast. 

‘Not traditional’

In terms of client work, in the UK PA supported Skipping Rocks Lab to create an edible alternative to single use plastic drink packaging, and worked on a notable restructuring project at disability charity Scope. Further afield, PA helped Norwegian authorities deliver their citizen-facing digital services, while in the US and India, PA partnered with Virgin Hyperloop One to build the first new mode of transport in a century, one that hopes to revolutionise travel. It even worked with United Nations to identify the technologies most likely to contribute to the achievement of the organization's Sustainable Development Goals.

Commenting on the year’s performance, Alan Middleton, PA Consulting CEO, said, “We’re not a traditional consulting firm and we think this is key to our ongoing success and why 98% of our clients recommend us… Our people are strategists, technologists, digital experts, consultants, designers, scientists and engineers – all of whom bring real-world experience, and apply it at pace. We offer the innovation, design, digital and transformation skills that our clients need to change, fast. There’s a sense of optimism behind our purpose. And it’s a feeling that inspires our people as well as our clients.”

The existing staff of PA also enjoyed a bumper year, as it was revealed that a refinancing manoeuver at the firm was expected to land over 1,000 employee shareholders a significant pay-out. The firm’s debt, which includes vendor loan notes put in place when Carlyle purchased the firm, is set to be refinanced in a deal worth £350 million.