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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