Professional Services Practice Overview


Harris Williams is pleased to present our Professional Services Industry Update for January 2020. This report provides commentary and analysis on current capital market trends and merger and acquisition dynamics within the global professional services industry.

We hope you find this edition helpful and encourage you to contact us directly if you would like to discuss our perspective on current industry trends and M&A opportunities or our relevant industry experience.

Our Practice

Harris Williams’ Business Services Group has experience advising companies that provide a range of commercial, industrial and professional services. 

This particular report focuses on trends and metrics in the following areas:

  • Business Process Outsourcing
  • Consulting
  • Education & Training
  • Engineering
  • Financial Services
  • Governance, Risk & Compliance
  • Human Capital Management
  • Information Technology
  • Insurance & Risk Management
  • Legal Services
  • Marketing & Information
  • Workforce Solutions

Representative B2B Professional Services Transactions


What We’re Reading

How To Get Innovation from Service Providers and Vendors

Forbes  1/14/2019

"Companies today hold all business functions to a mandate for innovation. Innovation should create business value (a better experience for employees, customers and partners). It should create agility and speed. It should make business functions more easily adaptable, easier to change. And it should also lower the cost of the functions over time. The benefits are clear and obvious. But the truth is that innovation is illusive and hard to get."

Read the full article here.

P&C Insurance Technology Trends to Watch in 2020

PropertyCasualty360  12/30/2019

The year 2019 was a banner year for P&C insurers, as it was for many of the insurance ecosystem’s key players. This was largely due to the industry, which many once labeled as laggard and slow to innovate, making a strong commitment to really evaluate and strategize around emerging business models and digital-first strategies.

Most importantly, carriers showed a new vigor when it came to meeting and exceeding customer and agent expectations. In fact, according to Strategy Meets Action, 75% of new core system deals in 2018 were for cloud-based solutions, and 2020 is likely to reveal similar trends.

Read the full article here.

Human Resources Trends of the Year

Working Capital Review  12/26/2019

"As 2019 is drawing to a close, HR professionals are busy preparing for a new year and a fresh set of challenges. The workplace is ever-evolving, and companies often turn to trends and patterns to ensure that they can remain competitive in their industry. And HR plays an integral role in making these decisions."

Read the full article here.

Inside the Mass-Tort Machine That Powers Thousands of Roundup Lawsuits

WSJ  11/25/2019

"Behind the surge in lawsuits is a little-known, sophisticated legal ecosystem that includes marketing firms that find potential clients, financiers who bankroll law firms, doctors who review medical records, scientists who analyze medical literature and the lawyers who bring the cases to court.

Individual plaintiffs can become commodities that are bought and sold by marketers, with prices based on demand. The more lawsuits that get filed, the more pressure companies face to settle."

Read the full article here.

Trends That are Reshaping the Legal Industry

The Balance Careers  11/20/2019

"A number of distinct trends have emerged in the legal industry as professionals position themselves to survive the peaks and troughs of the economy. Most of these trends help law firms and organizations become more efficient, productive and competitive in a global market. Others result from changing demographics, attitudes and work styles."

Read the full article here.

Public Markets1


Public Markets1


Economic Trends


M&A Market Trends1

Business Services M&A Volume by Year


Representative Professional Services M&A Transactions by Sector


1. S&P Global Capital IQ

2. U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

3. The Conference Board

4. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

5. U.S. Department of Labor

6. Institute for Supply Management

Public Comparable Companies:
BPO: Cognizant, Computershare, DXC, ExlService, Genpact, Sykes Enterprises, Tata Consultancy, TTEC, Wipro, and WNS
Consulting: Accenture, CBIZ, CRA International, FTI Consulting, Huron Consulting Group, ICF International, and Resources Connection
Human Capital: 51job, ASGN, Barrett Business Services, Hays, Heidrick & Struggles International, Insperity, Kelly Services, Kforce, Korn Ferry, ManpowerGroup, Randstad, Robert Half International, SThree, TrueBlue, Willis Towers Watson
IL&R Services: Aon, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., Brown & Brown, Crawford & Company, Marsh & McLennan Companies, Willis Towers Watson
M&I Services: Alliance Data Systems, comScore, CoreLogic, CoStar Group, Equifax, Experian, FactSet, Fair Isaac, Forrester Research, IHS Markit, Informa, LiveRamp Holdings, Moody's, Morningstar, Nielsen Holdings, Omnicom Group, Publicis Groupe, The Interpublic Group of Companies, Thomson Reuters, Verisk Analytics, Viad, Wolters Kluwer, WPP
Transaction Processing: Automatic Data Processing, Fidelity National Information Services, Global Payments, Jack Henry & Associates, Paychex, The Western Union Company
Education and Training: Adtalem Global Education, American Public Education, Franklin Covey, GP Strategies, Grand Canyon Education, K12, Lincoln Educational Services, Pearson, Scholastic, Strategic Education, Zovio

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