Roadshow 2017: Success Insights and Takeaways
Roadshow success insights and takeaways
Roadshow 2017: Success Insights And Takeaways

In this expert webinar, listen as our CEO Nick Sinclair provides insights and valuable tips on setting up your own global team. Learn more about offshoring and how it can propel your business to success.

Key insights:

  • Accountants face several challenges in this continuously evolving landscape
  • Outsourcing offers immense benefits to firms looking to increase capacity
  • The Philippines is an ideal place to build your offshore team
  • Framing your messaging is important in preparing your team for offshoring
  • Firms and clients need a strong partnership for offshoring to work
  • Metrics can gauge the effectiveness of offshoring for your firm

Challenges accountants face

Many firms have tried and failed at outsourcing. Nick discovered that 50% are doing it wrong because of the lack of preparation, choice of partner, and doing it for the wrong reasons. Meanwhile, 70% of firms are taking too long in getting setup. As of 2014, 30% of firms are already doing it while 40% are considering outsourcing.

Firms that are not investing that much in outsourcing are either doing just fine or are not experiencing any changes. But those that do are experiencing phenomenal results and have become high performing firms.

 

roadshow 2017 success and insights

 

Globalisation

Globalisation has made the world a lot smaller by removing barriers in trade and business. The integration of markets made it possible for firms to harness talents not available in their location.

Access to new markets means more opportunities to acquire highly skilled individuals at a fraction of the cost firms typically spend on local talents.

Advancements in technology

Technology is evolving at a rapid pace and although companies have access to accounting software, apps and programs, a majority of firms are not getting what they pay for. Many of these firms are simply putting things in place but not maximising them.

Nick discussed that while many firms are switching to the cloud, not all are using it to the fullest. Firms can have their offshore team focus on using these technologies to improve workflow and increase capacity.

Customer expectations are changing

The problem with the perception of being busy is accountants miss out on opportunities to acquire more business by not talking to their clients on a regular basis.

 

“Clients are demanding more. They want it quicker. They want more proactive advice. They want us to be the trusted adviser.”

 

Clients essentially want three things:

  • Monitor your progress
  • Communicate regularly
  • Get proactive advice

Most accountants don’t bother checking in with clients because they don’t want to add more on what’s already on their plate. What they don’t realise is the lack of communication moves them away from being the client’s trusted advisor. Additionally, this puts you at risk of losing business.

Who is really the trusted advisor?

Because accountants don’t talk to their clients as often as they should, they are no longer considered the most trusted advisor. Bookkeepers have taken over this role. That’s because they have access to pertinent data and, more importantly, are frequently in touch with clients.

So how do we solve this?

  • Set communication rhythms
  • Schedule check-in calls
  • As much as possible refrain from following up on work
  • Simply call and ask how things are
  • Catch up over coffee
  • Discuss their financial status
  • Build that relationship

 

Skills shortage

Finding and retaining the right talent

Many firms in Australia are having difficulties finding the right talent. But the problem doesn’t end with finding the suitable candidate for the available role. Companies admitted that it’s challenging to keep people after hiring.

 

“You might get 30 resumes, 29 of them are useless and the one that is good is once or twice what you’re willing to pay.”

 

Offshoring offers the solution to staff shortage. Firms can tap professionals from a huge pool of talents available internationally, like the Philippines, and even enjoy a 24/7 workforce.

Furthermore, implementing an effective employee retention program is crucial in keeping your new hires. Your firm can try doing the following:

  • Create an environment that’s conducive to working
  • Organise fun events
  • Recognise employee’s efforts and reward good performance
  • Provide skills-enhancing training courses

Buying in or starting up your own accounting firm

Furthermore, senior accountants now don’t have to buy in the company because they can easily leave and set up their own practice given the available technology. Accountants don’t have to go through the traditional path and wait years until they can acquire ownership of the firm. They can easily leave and start their own company.  

Cost of labour

To gain competitive edge in the market, accounting firms can reduce labour costs by offshoring. For some organisations, the lower costs associated with outsourcing. You can have 4 offshore team members for the cost of 1 in Australia.

 

roadshow 2017 success insights

roadshow 2017 success insights

Key benefits of outsourcing

Outsourcing and offshoring are vital elements in the search for improved efficiency. These are also considerable factors in reducing costs, which contribute to doubling a firm’s profit. It is important to remember that outsourcing is not a ‘magic pill’ but while it does require a bit of time, once it’s properly set up, the gains are immediately apparent.

  • Eliminate lodgement issues
  • Keep workflow under control
  • Match skills with the right roles
  • Improve capacity

Advantages of having an offshore team

 

Benefits of outsourcing

 

Risks to consider when outsourcing

 

Cons outsourcing

 

How will offshoring impact your organisation?

Offshoring presents firms an opportunity to transfer non-core business tasks to a service provider at the fraction of a cost, allowing them to take advantage of higher value opportunities.

Such practice can streamline processes and help companies increase capacity, improve productivity, and double profits.

Tasks that you hate doing and don’t have enough time for can be moved outside the firm. This will free up time so you can set your sights on client-facing tasks. Additionally, offshoring will help you:

  • Get valuable insight into productivity comparisons
  • Spot inefficiencies in your process
  • Get opportunities to deliver more value to clients

 

“This is about aligning your strategy with the right people and evolving your systems and process.”

 

Commonly outsourced tasks

 

outsourced tasks

 

Roles firms can outsource

Accountant

 

Social media specialist

 

Virtual assistant

 

Virtual receptionist

 

Sales support

 

 

Map out your core processes

 

core processes

 

It’s important to start with priorities and then get capacity. When establishing a business process flow, bear in mind that you don’t need to complete all. Done is better than perfect.

Selecting your offshore service provider

Prior to choosing a partner, it’s vital to check for the quality of technology, communication, and tasks and roles of team members.

What to consider when choosing an offshore service provider

Offshoring success depends largely on the provider you select, so choose carefully. Look for specific items and, when possible, ask questions. Here are some guidelines:

  • Level of expertise in the industry
  • Quality of work
  • Scope of experience in terms of offshoring
  • Depth of management
  • Quality of telecommunication
  • Location of the service provider
  • Condition of infrastructure and employment conditions
  • Time zone
  • Company size and culture
  • Professional qualifications of the staff

It is important to check for internet speed and the quality of hardware available as well as the software your team will use. Pay attention also to things like:

  • Virus protection
  • File sharing options
  • Communication flow and policy
  • Data access restrictions

Choosing a location for your global team

Why choose the Philippines?

According to a report by Chartered Accountants titled “What Is The Future For Offshoring?” the Philippines is fifth in the list of countries that are already offshoring. Here are some of the reasons why the Philippines is an ideal place to build your global team:

  • Strong affinity with western culture
  • English proficiency is ranked highest in the 2013 Business English Index (BEI)
  • Has very little time zone difference
  • Produces 3,000 Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) per year
  • Professional industry and facilities are set up for offshoring
  • Filipinos have a strong work ethic
  • Filipinos enjoy being busy and adding value to the services they offer
  • Has one of the highest growth industries for offshoring

The Philippines produces 3,000 CPAs every year and these professionals have excellent communication skills. In fact, the country was ranked highest for English proficiency in the 2013 Business English Index (BEI). In addition, Filipinos have a strong affinity with Western culture and have strong work ethics.

 

why outsource in the philippines

 

Pricing

 

Pricing models

 

Preparing your firm for offshoring

In addition to the benefits already mentioned above, offshoring is also about ensuring you enhance your systems and processes to become more efficient so that team members can have more fun at work.

What to consider when choosing an offshore service provider

Offshoring success depends largely on the provider you select, so choose carefully. Look for specific items and, when possible, ask questions. Here are some guidelines:

  • Level of expertise in the industry
  • Quality of work
  • Scope of experience in terms of offshoring
  • Depth of management
  • Quality of telecommunication
  • Location of the service provider
  • Condition of infrastructure and employment conditions
  • Time zone
  • Company size and culture
  • Professional qualifications of the staff

 

What to consider when choosing a provider

What to consider when choosing a provider

What to consider when choosing a provider

 

Setting up your global team

The offshoring process is a two-way street. Firms and partners need to work together to ensure flawless transition. Each party needs to put something on the table.

Partners need to provide:

  • People
  • Environment
  • Dedicated recruitment team
  • Training for the staff

Firms need to provide:

  • Systems and processes
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Cultural immersion for the offshore staff

 

“Work with the support teams of your partner and their community to manage expectations and outcomes through the setup process.”

 

Having the appropriate systems and processes will bring your firm one step closer to becoming more efficient and eventually double its capacity.

Searching for the right talent

Finding the right talent is a process made easier with our Fast Start Guide. These videos will take you by the hand and ensure that you’re comfortable with your offshoring journey.

 


Insights and takeaways:

  • Competition for talent is high and accelerating
  • Quality of talent is high; they are intelligent and can be easily trained
  • Not all candidates may meet your requirements so it’s best to start broad and narrow down later
  • Building your offshore team’s confidence can make them world-class

 

Onboarding timeline

 

See here for Nick’s keynote presentation on How To Dramatically Drive Revenue In Your Firm – A Business Case For Bookkeepers

 

Setting up a bookkeeping division

Although not traditionally considered an essential accounting service, the evolving landscape has made bookkeeping a viable means of improving revenue generation and building a sustainable workforce.

 

“Accounting firms who are bringing in bookkeeping services in their own firm are seeing 25-57% increase in their margins. The key point here is turning the customer conversation from an annual event to a more regular valuable conversations, on working with the given data to provide more real support to the customer and be the trusted advisor.”

 

There is a real opportunity for bookkeepers to offer more services to clients. Running a bookkeeping division can help increase compliance and add 2-3 revenue streams.

 

Setting up a bookkeeping division

 

People, process and performance

Ensuring the success of your global team depends largely on how you manage day-to-day operations. Having a good relationship with our provider will guarantee that all key aspects of the business are well taken care of.

 

“You really need to be working out your people strategy because that flows into your revenue.”

 

Managing your global team boils down to three key elements: people, process and performance.

People

Map out your people strategy for the next 24 months. You must also review skill development plans for both local and offshore teams to help them gauge where their career is going. Now that we employ mostly millennials, one of the things that are on their mind is where their future lies. Career-mapping will help them visualise where they are within your firm.

 

People strategy

 

Communication rhythms and planning strategy

Nick observed that many companies that have second offices don’t have clear communication rhythms because they are too busy. He noted that implementing structured communication plans will play a key role in a firm’s success. It’s really that simple and The Outsourced Accountant can help companies design and implement it.

Reward and recognition

Firms that are making it work make sure that they regularly call and visit the offshore team. They schedule reviews and feedback to recognise (and reward) the efforts of team members.

Culture

Adding that human touch goes a long way in growing your firm. Integrating culture should be part of your people strategy. Cultural nuances can affect the dynamics of a diverse workforce. By taking the lead in bridging this gap, firms will be able to get the most out of their global team. Get personal. Immerse team members in your culture and learn about theirs. Spending time with them either by flying in or flying them out to your location will help foster confidence in your staff.

  • Humanising the relationship will help team members become more confident, proactive and more efficient
  • Inclusiveness will help team members identify gaps and areas for improvement

See Nick’s keynote presentation on Bridging the Cultural Gap – a highly valuable resource for understanding and managing your Philippine workforce.

 

Technology

Embracing technology is not enough. Firms need to maximise tools and applications they are paying for. Nick observed that many of the companies he’s encountered are not making the most of the tools they invested in.

 

Apps for accountants

 

Bookkeepers and accountants can, through the use of cloud-based tools, can increase capacity and improve their processes.

We held a webinar on Cloud Security Concerns For Accountants that you need to listen to.

How do you know if your offshoring strategy is working?

Establishing metrics will help you gauge the success of your offshoring strategy. Setting up metrics will help you quantify the work your team is doing. Interestingly, many clients don’t have structured KPIs, according to Nick.

 

metrics

 

Important things to remember:

  • Determine baseline across-key metrics
  • Perform monthly and quarterly reviews
  • Leverage your partner (offshore service provider)
  • Make sure you maximise technology
  • Implement best practice methods to fast track your global team

Some firms may say that offshoring is not for them, and that’s okay. However, those that are already doing it are experiencing phenomenal gains. It works for any type of firm. You can be a sole practitioner, second-tier or top-tier firm and still enjoy the benefits of offshoring.

 


If you are an accountant, bookkeeper or finance firm experiencing capacity restraints and looking to scale your firm, call our local industry experts Cameron, Shane or Cam today at 1300 896 522.

Book a 15-30 minute no-obligation appointment with us by clicking here.


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