26th August 2014
MGI firms in Europe and North America have partnered up to win a major international client in a great example of how the alliance is often crucial to gaining new business.
Member focus on Votum AG, Germany and Selden Fox, US.
Winning a large contract from a global corporate is increasingly challenging, particularly for small to medium sized accounting firms trying to compete for business alongside other larger firms with more resources at their disposal.
But MGI member firms, working jointly between Germany and the US, prove otherwise, having pitched and won a significant piece of business for a publicly listed global international with 2,700 employees, operating across 10 countries.
Alexander Loeff, CPA and German Public Auditor from Votum AG in Frankfurt says “The essential cornerstone has been MGI. Without MGI, we wouldn´t have had a chance to get it."
Personal service and global scope
In 2013 Votum AG successfully pitched to a very large audit client. Not happy with the service it was getting from one of the big six networks, the prospect wanted something better and found it in MGI.
The key for Votum in winning the contract was being able to combine the personal, intimate service that MGI firms deliver to clients with the global scope offered by the alliance.
Alex says: “As our client has several foreign subsidiaries, an alliance was vital. We were able to show how our personal relationship with foreign MGI partners meant close communication.”
Other German MGI members including RLT Ruhrmann Wüller & Partner and their IT division, RLT IT-und Systemprüfung GmbH and audecon AG helped on a range of issues like IT audits and inventory, but the main piece of the jigsaw was sorting out the US side of the business.
The success becomes a springboard
Selden Fox, host of this year’s MGI Global AGM in Chicago, was able to help.
After some initial contact, a few quick responses and a face-to-face meeting amid the snows of an Illinois winter, the two member firms were on good terms and able to progress the audit work simultaneously in Germany and the US.
Joseph G. Meyer, Vice President at Selden Fox, agrees that the international nature of the MGI alliance was important.
He says: “Alex was able to tap resources from the alliance in order to win a new client with worldwide operations. We were happy to provide our assistance to a client in the US that fits into our portfolio perfectly. Additionally, Alex is helping us to quote to the client to provide tax services as well.
"I see the success of this MGI collaboration as a springboard to do more in the future.”
Why were MGI member firms able to offer more?
The size and scope of the MGI alliance is important - without this it could be hard for smaller accounting firms to pitch to, let alone win, a large audit client like this. But the Big 4 can do that easily themselves anyway - so why would MGI members be able to offer more?
Simply, it’s all about keeping it personal, as Alex explains: “Our client was able to see that they are not ‘another client of the Big 4’. In essence they got to know that they would be on the same importance level as our company.”
For Alex the strength lies in the entrepreneurial approach - you are speaking to clients as one business owner to another. “With the Big 4 or next 10 it is totally different. He [the client] spoke to managers and sometimes youngsters who may need to go back to their department heads for guidance. We do have a very efficient way of doing business if we are involved personally.”
Advice for other MGI members:
Maximise communication about the MGI alliance all the time - you never know when a client may have international ambitions or operations
Sell the personal service - having partners working with business owners is a far better level of service than the Big 4 can offer
Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone, or jump on a plane, to find a partner firm
Votum AG (German audits)
Selden Fox (US audits)
RLT Ruhrmann Wüller & Partner (inventory audits in Berlin and Dortmund)
RLT IT-und Systemprüfung GmbH (IT audits)
audecon AG (inventory audits in Munich)
To speak to any of the firms involved, you can find contact details on the MGI Worldwide directory member profile pages above.