The conventional wisdom is that for companies that do business in multiple states or countries size matters when it comes legal representation, banking, tax and audit. You want to hire an organization that has the physical reach to address your business needs.
There are cases, however, when subject matter expertise and experience trumps size, hence the success of many boutique firms that specialize in helping companies address specific challenges.
The real question is whether the size of the firm — one with global reach or the boutique specialist — guarantees you better service or better outcomes. There is, of course, no fixed answer.
But the best answer is, it always comes down to the person who is doing the work — their experience and their record of accomplishment in dealing with the issues at hand.
Companies — law firms, accountancies, consultants and search firms — like to parade their top talent in front of the prospective customer in order to close the deal. Unless the client is a critical customer or a whale (big fees), that may be the last time the customer sees the billboard talent, and they may never benefit, directly or indirectly, from that individual’s expertise.
Customers should ask these questions to ensure that the value in selecting a large firm, or the boutique specialist, is more than the fees.
The size of the firm you hire can make a difference but that is more an issue of the scope of your operations and geography. However, a large firm’s size does not guarantee the quality of the work product. That same principle can and should be applied to boutique firms, smaller does not necessarily mean a better quality of work product or result. It is the one doing the work, not selling the work, and how successful they have been in similar engagements, that should be the consideration, and, if they are willing to provide a value-added performance guarantee as a routine part of their deal, that probably means you will get what you pay for.
© 2021 John Gregory Self