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Introduction - Pg. 1

Introduction The influence and clout of the professional service industry are immense. It would be difficult to find a business, government, or nonprofit organization that doesn't rely to some extent on a mix of external professional service providers. Behind every successful global company you will undoubtedly find a team of outside experts who all play a role--sometimes a pivotal one--in supporting that company throughout its history. With 2010 revenues estimated at close to $2 trillion and a conser- vative average annual growth rate of 10 percent over the past three decades, the industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the world. Accounting, advertising, architecture, consulting, engineering, executive search, financial services, law, marketing, public relations, real estate, research, staffing, and a host of other knowledge-based workers who provide advice and support to businesses are included under the enormous professional service umbrella. The industry employs roughly 20 million people who work in over one million indi- vidual firms that range in size from one-person businesses to the Big Four global accountancies that collectively employ over 500,000 pro- fessionals. Yet, despite its enormous size and influence, the professional service industry remains largely invisible to most people. Most pro- fessional service firms are privately held businesses, managed for the benefit of their partner-owners. They prefer to work behind the scenes and let their clients take credit for their work. The industry has never been subjected to the same level of scrutiny facing most other sectors. Wall Street analysts don't follow them, business reporters typically don't write about them, and the sector has never been included in any major market research studies by popular business 1