Fast-rising Canberra professional services firm Rubik3 grew its year-on-year revenue by 98 per cent in 2019, an extraordinary effort after achieving 130 per cent growth in the previous financial year.
Rubik3 is the Australian Growth Company 2019 Business Services Growth Company of the Year. Ranked by The Australian Financial Review as the country’s second-fastest growing firm, Rubik3 has achieved more growth and success in recent years than any other firm in Canberra. It is ranked 35 in the AFR’s Top 100 accounting firms.
To expect more of the same next year would be logical except Rubik3 prides itself on not staying the same. As Director and Senior partner Guy Earnshaw explains: “For my business, if we decided to stay the same we’d be dead. It is all about challenging yourself and moving forward.”
Rubik3 staff share an attitude of wanting to go one step further for their clients while working for a company that has strong community ties. Rubik3 is not in a race and never has been. It has never pitched a proposal to win a client, only to put its best foot forward.
“It is about producing something that we are proud of,” Mr Earnshaw says.
Rubik3 now wants to step up and be a leader for the better good of Canberra, a city which Mr Earnshaw describes as a beautiful place.
“It will always be our home and I really want to see Canberra be a hub of businesses that start up, do well in Canberra but also go externally, to Sydney, to Melbourne and overseas and show Australia how it should be done. That’s what I want next,” he says.
Change and the success stemming from challenging the staff and their clients have been consistent companions of Rubik3 which launched from coffee shops with a staff of two in 2015. It was hard work. They paid the rent by buying coffee until a friend, Capital Recruit, offered a tiny office into which a growing Rubik3 crammed six people until they grew into bigger premises, then an office in Manuka, then to Braddon and now they have established a branch as well in Melbourne. Today Rubik3 has about 180 staff.
The Australian Growth Company’s award also recognises innovation. In this context, every consultation job Rubik3 does for its clients creates new products which can range from new spreadsheets to new methodologies.
Mr Earnshaw says he did not set out to protect Rubik3’s intellectual property.
“As a professional services firm, you are not just doing the same things over and over again, you are wanting to challenge yourself and challenge your clients as well. Often this happens through tools which simplify processes.
“As a good example for a government client, we took their change management process which was in six documents and reduced it to one,” he says.
Mr Earnshaw says a lot of critical information was simplified. This saved time for the client and focussed on the outcome, on what was important, cutting away all the remaining issues.
“Innovation is not about making big jumps in one change, it is small incremental changes that in time mean massive change,” Mr Earnshaw says. “You always adjust the levers because you cannot just set and forget, you have to keep changing.”
In a short period of time Rubik3 has created a brand synonymous with fostering Indigenous education and professional development as well as a commitment to Canberra.
“We don’t talk sales and we don’t talk marketing, we talk branding, what does our brand mean and what we hold that is precious to us,” Mr Earnshaw says. “I think it is really important all the firms work together, the market is big enough and has enough work. We all need to be professional and work together for a common goal and look after our clients. We are more than happy to work with the Big Four, and with any one of our competitors.”
He said Rubik3 did not want to be in the same space as the Big Four, even though it provided many of the same services and respected the work they did, and others like McKinsey & Company and Boston Consulting.
“Even when we produce the same service, we do it in such a vastly different way. What is important for us in that growth, we don’t want to be the biggest firm in Australia, we want to maintain our culture and our way of doing things. While we have such strong growth, two years in a row, we don’t need to chase growth for the third year, we never really have chased growth,” he says.
“We don’t need to be the fastest-growing firm three years in a row.”