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Being known as “hassle free” is a label most professional services firms would love to acquire. However, few cite it as a core principle of their way of working.

Australian accounting and consulting firm Intellect Labs says making a considered effort to develop a reputation as the hassle-free firm has been fundamental to its success. The strategy was proven recently when the firm recently achieved the best client satisfaction ratings of its size and profession in the 2023 Client Choice Awards. Intellect Labs was named Best Accounting & Consulting Services Firm (<$30m revenue).

Firm Principals Matthew McLean and Shaun van Dijk said they were “ecstatic” to find out about the win.

“It was so gratifying to share this result with our team. We’re a young company and an award based on client satisfaction is a huge validation of the hard work we’ve put in so far,” he said.

“We took the team out to lunch to celebrate, sent an email to our clients to thank them and we will be getting the certificate nicely framed!”

McLean and van Dijk explained that four dogmas helped Intellect Labs stand out from market competitors. The first was the hassle-free reputation. The key principles drove the firm’s client service and to become the best, in clients’ eyes, among accounting and consulting services firms in Australia and New Zealand.

“Our way of working centres around four core principles that we identified based on what our clients say they like about working with us,” they said.

“These are (1) hassle free, (2) experience, quality and diligence, (3) transparency and authenticity, and (4) maximising opportunity. We also work really closely with our clients often as an extension of their internal team.”

The Client Choice Awards are the only professional services awards that determine winners through client feedback, rather than the votes of judging panels or industry experts. Approaching their 20th year in 2024, the awards offer unique insights into how firms rank alongside their competitors. All client feedback is collected by a third party – Beaton – encouraging the most honest assessments by clients.

McLean and van Dijk emphasised that winning a Client Choice Award meant more for these reasons.

“What is awesome about the award is that it is free to enter and based on client feedback alone, rather than a judging panel or application we wrote. We know that our success in the Client Choice Awards (and elsewhere) reflects our clients’ success, so maybe they can even take some pride in it too!”

The Principals added the client feedback collected in the awards and provided anonymously to firms at the end of the process was invaluable.

“Getting timely and transparent feedback from the clients allows us to confront any problems head on when they arise, rather than letting them fester. I think this contributes substantially to client retention,” McLean and van Dijk said.

“It has also helped us to look at new services and ways we deliver services based on client suggestions. It’s great to hear directly from the client what they want.”

Intellect Labs was named Best Accounting & Consulting Services Firm (<$30m revenue) at the 2023 Client Choice Awards. This award is presented in partnership with FeeSynergy and with association partner Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.

Enter your firm for the 2024 awards here.