I was recently asked by a Singapore-based CEO about choosing a New Zealand accountant or lawyer and which professional firms I could recommend in New Zealand. Naturally, I pointed out to him the merits of our Auckland-based law firm Keegan Alexander and our Christchurch based accounting member Mackay Bailey.
This led to a discussion I regularly have about how our London-based secretariat select MSI members wherever they may be in the world and what the key criteria are. For me, amongst all the formal criteria, there is one that stands out and is the crux of what has made MSI Global Alliance such a success over so many years – the initial word of mouth referral that pits each member into the network.
Essentially, a good bulk of MSI member firms join the alliance because they are introduced by another member that has worked closely with them, usually on referred client work – so the ultimate test of quality is the first one passed. Once one firm has worked with another – with service excellence being the key test – and they pass the service and ‘care’ test, the rest tends to fall into place because they know how the firm works and how quickly its team responds. They become the perfect referee and sponsor for the firm as it looks to clear the hurdles on the road to MSI membership.
A great example of how it works is set out in this video, as it details the first interaction between our MSI Queensland law-firm, Tucker & Cowen. Richard Cowen, one of the firm’s founding partners explains the chain of events.
Which brings me back to my original point about choosing a New Zealand accountant or lawyer – or for that matter professional service providers in any country – I was able to explain to our erstwhile Singaporean CEO the range of membership criteria, for me at least, the one that matters most is that the personal experience of one member working with another on behalf of a client (much like himself) remains the most important factor.