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The professional services sector consists of people selling intangible assets to help customers manage their business or improve a specific part of their business. Providers of professional services impart expert knowledge about niche business areas, such as finance or law, allowing the business owners to concentrate on delivering their core services.
Although consultants can be classed as being in the professional services sector, many professional service providers take responsibility for the end result as well as giving advice.
What are examples of professional services?
Professional service providers can be anyone who sells specialised knowledge to businesses.
- Financial Services – Almost everyone in the financial sector can be recognised as a provider of professional services, including accountants, financial advisers and tax advisers. Financial professionals are not generally selling specific products; they are selling their acquired knowledge of the financial markets to clients.
- Engineering – Engineers use science, mathematics and technology to solve real-world problems. There are six major branches of engineering – electrical, mechanical, civil, chemical, geotechnical and management.
- Architecture – Architects design and plan buildings and other structures, using creative vision and technical skills. Architectural projects can range in scale from something as small as an extra room for an existing house to something as large as a skyscraper or as vast as an entire neighbourhood.
- Legal services – Lawyers and other legal professionals provide professional services including advice on legal matters and representing people in court. Barristers are lawyers with different qualifications and areas of expertise.
- Creative and marketing services – Marketers and other creatives including advertising professionals, PR consultants, copywriters and digital marketers all provide professional services to businesses. Marketing executives utilise a range of professional skills to promote products, services and ideas for businesses.
How to get started in professional services
Getting started in financial services
Anyone considering a career in financial services usually comes from a mathematical background. However, it is not always necessary to achieve university-level qualifications. Many financial sector employers offer school leaver programmes for young people entering the workplace straight after Year 12. These provide practical on-the-job training and the chance to earn while you learn. University graduate-level positions typically have higher starting salaries. Certain financial careers require specific formal qualifications which can be earned while working, such as a recognised accountancy qualification. Some employers offer apprenticeships and a few allow candidates to study for a degree on the side while working.
Getting started in engineering
Engineering is a specialised sector requiring specific qualifications and experience. There are many different engineer types and each path requires a formal education in the specific area of expertise. Undergraduate degree courses include general engineering and more specialised courses focusing on one specific discipline. Engineers who wish to apply for Chartered Status will also need to complete a number of extra steps, which you can read about here. Before you start your engineering degree, it helps if you have completed 2-4 years of Maths, Sciences, and Social Studies at school.
Getting started in architecture
Architects must be licensed to be able to work and must have all the relevant qualifications and experience to apply for a license. In Australia, you need to complete a three-year undergraduate degree (usually a Bachelor of Architectural Studies or a Bachelor of Design in Architecture). You can then go on to a two-year professional masters degree. To register as an architect, each state has their own registry, however, you essentially need:
- A degree, as mentioned above, that is accredited by the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia
- Period of practical experience in architecture in an approved architectural practice
- To pass an exam in architectural company approved by the Board
Getting started in legal services
There are several roles within the legal services profession, each of which requires varying degrees of qualifications and experience. In Australia, you’ll study for a minimum of four years if you want to become a lawyer. There are two degrees to choose from: a 4-year Bachelor of Law degree (LLB) or a combined LLB, which is 5+ years. You also need to complete an approved practical legal training (PLT) course or complete a supervised traineeship at a firm.
To become a Barrister, you first need to become a qualified Lawyer and then qualify for and complete the Bar Readers’ Course in your relevant state.
Getting started in creative and marketing services
There are many different ways to get started in a career in creative and marketing services. Experience is often held in higher regard than formal qualifications. Although many employers will look favourably on those with a degree in marketing, qualifications in related subjects such as business, psychology, IT, mathematics and the arts are also valuable. Internships and entry-level positions with digital agencies provide a good jumping-off point. Many people start their careers in creative and marketing services by registering as self-employed and working freelance, building up a portfolio of work they can use to demonstrate their experience and professional expertise.
Getting started with Square
There are various tools and resources available that can help you to set up a professional services business and take payments as you go. For help with how to price professional services, Square Invoices lets you invoice clients quickly and accurately from anywhere, maintaining detailed records of all transactions. Customers receive a seamless service while you benefit from faster payments and smart financial management software.
Square Appointments software is designed to simplify scheduling, facilitate online booking and manage availability automatically. It can also be used to maximise your point-of-sale, including sending invoices and maintaining records.