My previous post discussed the advantages of working for a small firm vs. a large company – now let’s address the advantages of hiring a smaller firm. My experience is the the accounting world, but these points are true of most industries:
You’ll likely have direct access to the owner or President of the company. In larger corporations, unless you are a high-revenue client, you are not likely to ever meet the President of the company, let alone pick up the phone to call with a question.
You’ll be working with a more experienced professional. A large firm has a lot of bodies to move around; newer hires are sent along with experienced professionals – all billing you by the hour while they are trained. Turnover is typically lower in smaller firms, so your account manager will get to know you and your business.
You’ll have one main contact. Rather than 5 or 6 different account reps all handling their narrow field of expertise, you are more likely to have one main contact in a smaller firm that will be fully integrated into your business and be able to see the big picture to offer more comprehensive advice.
You’ll receive better value. You will probably experience lower fees from a smaller company that doesn’t have the significant overhead of a larger firm…but even if fees are similar, you’ll be getting a much higher level of experience for the same investment.
You’ll receive personal attention. Clients are often commodities at large firms; if you’re the largest client you’re likely to get special attention, but if you’re one of a myriad of clients, you may be shuffled from account rep to account rep. At a smaller firm, you’ll receive personal attention from a consistent account manager who will help direct and follow your progress over the years.
Smaller entrepreneurial firms have the advantage of living their experience and values vs. sharing theory that they’ve been taught. Before you hire your next service provider, compare the value that you might receive from a smaller firm!