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The meaning of professional service

When looking at the meaning of words & terms it is helpful to go back to basics and look at the components. In the case of a professional service we have two words: professional AND service. So lets individually look at the meanings of these two words.

A professional is a person who is expert at his or her work (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/professional).

A somewhat more comprehensive definition … a professional does something as a profession, or receives payment for some activity. The adjective “professional” can indicate that someone has great skill in a craft or activity, or that something demonstrates such skill. To conduct oneself as a professional (exhibiting “professional behavior”) would indicate that the person’s actions remain in accordance with specific rules, written or unwritten, pertaining to the standards of a profession. (http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Professional)

Now lets look at the word service. I saw several definitions of service on the web, but one struck me as capturing the gestalt.

Service is the action of serving, helping, or benefiting; conduct tending to the welfare or advantage of another; friendly or professional assistance (Oxford English Dictionary)

Putting the two above meanings together we get something like …. a professional service involves a person or group of persons who are experts in their field who aim to benefit the people and/or organisations  that seek their help. Now I know this is not an “official” definition but it should serve us well as a starting point. For the sake of reinforcement lets repeat this definition and put it in bold typeface.

A professional service involves a person or group of persons who are experts in their field who aim to benefit the people and/or organisations  that seek their help.

For this blog this will be our reference point when it comes to a professional service like accounting, law, engineering and the like. If you’re not happy with the above definition please drop me a line and we’ll talk!

See you next time.

James E

What is professional services all about?

When looking at the meaning of words & terms it is helpful to go back to basics and look at the components. In the case of a professional service we have two words: professional AND service. So lets individually look at the meanings of these two words.

A professional is a person who is expert at his or her work (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/professional).

A somewhat more comprehensive defintion … a professional does something as a profession, or receives payment for some activity. The adjective “professional” can indicate that someone has great skill in a craft or activity, or that something demonstrates such skill. To conduct oneself as a professional (exhibiting “professional behavior”) would indicate that the person’s actions remain in accordance with specific rules, written or unwritten, pertaining to the standards of a profession. (http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Professional)

Now lets look at the word service. I saw several definitions of service on the web, but one struck me as capturing the gestalt.

Service is the action of serving, helping, or benefiting; conduct tending to the welfare or advantage of another; friendly or professional assistance (Oxford English Dictionary)

Putting the two above meanings together we get something like …. a professional service involves a person or group of persons who are experts in their field who aim to benefit the people and/or organisations  that seek their help. Now I know this is not an “official” defintion but it should serve us well as a starting point. For the sake of reinforcement lets repeat this definition and put it in bold typeface.

A professional service involves a person or group of persons who are experts in their field who aim to benefit the people and/or organisations  that seek their help.

For this blog this will be our reference point when it comes to a professional service like accounting, law, engineering and the like. If you’re not happy with the above definition please drop me a line and we’ll talk!

See you next time.

James E

A better definition thanks to Sandra

Last week I published a post talking about a better definition for professional services (see a better definition – 21 Jan 2011)

I spoke to a good friend of mine about this particular post and asked her what she thought of it and the topic. She replied it was ok but I should have gone further than simply providing a dictionary definition of the words professional and service and joining them together. Any banana can do that! What I should have done was to extend upon the core idea with some stories from my own experience about what true professional service is.

So … as an indication that I not only hear critical feedback but act on it here goes!

Using the previous post’s definition:

A professional service involves a person or group of persons who are experts in their field who aim to benefit the people and/or organisations  that seek their help.

One of the best examples I have ever come across which captures the true essense of what it means to benefit people who seek the help from a professional is that of Sandra (not her real name).

Sandra and her husband Jerry (again not a real name) ran a successful and growing metal fabrication employing over sixty people. One day, out of the blue, Jerry died of a massive heart attack at the age of 33.

Here was poor Sandra, at 30 years of age with two small children and the responsibility of running and financing a multi-million dollar business with all the associated opportunities, challenges, problems and risks. Although, Sandra had worked part-time in the business and had a good idea of most of its moving parts, it was Jerry who was the no.1 sales guy, strategist and visionary. With Jerry gone an important  part of the business had also died.

Sandra needed help and support. The business had used a local accountant named Phil. After an appropriate time of mourning Phil met with Sandra and said the following:

Sandra. I’m very sorry about Jerry. He was a wonderful guy. I will do everything in my power to help you personally and the business in any way I can. You can call on me for anything – I will support you all the way.

Phil was true to his word and worked closely with Sandra over the ensuing few years to make the business more marketable and exit at the right point in the business cycle.

15 years later Phil remains Sandra’s personal and business accountant. As Sandra said to me the other week. “James … I could never leave Phil – he is my most trusted advisor”

Need I say more?

Bye for now,

James E

A better definition

When looking at the meaning of words & terms it is helpful to go back to basics and look at the components. In the case of a professional service we have two words: professional AND service. So lets individually look at the meanings of these two words.

A professional is a person who is expert at his or her work (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/professional).

A somewhat more comprehensive defintion … a professional does something as a profession, or receives payment for some activity. The adjective “professional” can indicate that someone has great skill in a craft or activity, or that something demonstrates such skill. To conduct oneself as a professional (exhibiting “professional behavior”) would indicate that the person’s actions remain in accordance with specific rules, written or unwritten, pertaining to the standards of a profession. (http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Professional)

Now lets look at the word service. I saw several definitions of service on the web, but one struck me as capturing the gestalt.

Service is the action of serving, helping, or benefiting; conduct tending to the welfare or advantage of another; friendly or professional assistance (Oxford English Dictionary)

Putting the two above meanings together we get something like …. a professional service involves a person or group of persons who are experts in their field who aim to benefit the people and/or organisations  that seek their help. Now I know this is not an “official” defintion but it should serve us well as a starting point. For the sake of reinforcement lets repeat this definition and put it in bold typeface.

A professional service involves a person or group of persons who are experts in their field who aim to benefit the people and/or organisations  that seek their help.

For this blog this will be our reference point when it comes to a professional service like accounting, law, engineering and teh like. If you’re not happy with the above definition please drop me a line and we’ll talk!

See you next time.

James E

What exactly are Professional Services?

I’ve been working in the area of “Professional Services” for about 15 years. Its a funny thing … I’ve never bothered to look up the definition of what a professional service is or what fields it includes. Now, of course, the  disciplines of Accounting & Law would be regarded as professional services but what are the other areas grouped into the market category “Professional Services?”

Firstly, we need a definition. What exactly are professional services? Here are three (3) definitions of professional services that I picked up from the web:

Professional services are accounting, legal, medical and other such services provided by a formally certified member of a professional body. (http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/professional-services.html)

Professional services are infrequent, technical, or unique functions performed by independent contractors or by consultants whose occupation is the rendering of such services. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Professional_services)

Professional services comprise of industries whose products and services are based on professional expertise rather than on discrete products or commodities. (http://www.bitpipe.com/tlist/Professional-Services-Industries.html)

To be truthful I’m a little disappointed with the above definitions. They don’t nearly go far enough to capture the essence of what a professional service is and should be. Tune into the next post for a better definition.

Now in terms of the disciplines that professional services covers we get a better outcome. According to the ubiquitous Wikipedia, the professional services market sector includes the following areas of expertise:

  • Accountants
  • Actuaries
  • Appraisers/valuers
  • Architects
  • Brokers
  • Business consultants
  • Copywriters
  • Dentists
  • Distributors
  • Engineers
  • Funeral directors
  • Lawyers
  • Physicians
  • Public relations consultants
  • Recruiters
  • Researchers
  • Real estate agents
  • Translators
  • Software engineers
  • Value-added resellers
  • Web designers

Quite a list to say the least!

As mentioned earlier, next post I’ll try (hopefully) to come up with a better definition of what a professional service.

Keep smiling and bye for now.

James E