The job of a business advisor is evolving from being a passive figure of support to be an active figure who guides and monitors in a responsible manner. We are living the professionalization of the business advisor as the sentinel of corporate world.
When we talk about business advice, the first thing that comes to mind is an image of the high level executive with experience and reputation. For a long time the important thing was to have people who could add relational capital, visibility, and reputation to increase the credibility and improve public perception of the business in question. In many cases, the value and credibility obtained by listing someone as a business advisor surpassed the worth contributed by the person within the advisory room with the main function to advise. I speak of past because things have changed, and they keep changing.
With Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act, the law was born with the purpose of regulating and monitoring the companies that are listed on the stock exchange of that country. It seeks to avoid manipulation of stock, fraud and bankruptcy risk to protect the investors. It arose in response to the scandals related to unethical executives of companies. This act is pertinent for the reason that it establishes the new standards of responsibility for board of directors, including criminal liability.
It does not apply to all the companies, since its focus is the public companies listed on the stock exchanges in USA. However, it has changed board concepts and expectations.
To land on the issue, it is appropriate to clarify the meaning of two key terms as corporate governance and professionalization. The concept of corporate governance refers to the set of norms which regulate design, integration and operation of the three powers within a company i.e. shareholders, advisors and the executive team.
The professionalization of the business advisory requires professionalization of the advisor who must carry out his responsibilities with clarity within the corporate governance of the company. This implies vocation, dedication, and time.
Time becomes a critical variable because it is no longer enough to appear at the board meeting to listen, comment and participate without going prepared. They have to be highly disciplined to continue holding an executive position.
As in any profession, the business advisor requires theoretical and practical preparation, so the set of courses is important. This involves aligning opportunities and experiences with a career plan.