How To Build Capacity In 2018 With Offshoring
Nick Sinclair, Founder, The Outsourced Accountant
Tyler McBroom, Partner, Measured Results
The webinar covered the following topics:
- Key challenges that firms experience and how offshoring can address those
- How leading firms are growing through offshoring
- Case for setting up an offshore team
- Proven steps for setting up a global accounting team in the Philippines
Case Study: Tyler McBroom of Measured Results
A boost in marketing efforts brought in a steady stream of clients for Measured Results. They were then faced with the challenge of finding the right people for the jobs they have available. Their location made it quite difficult to find the accountants they need.
They need to get the work done.
They need to deliver on what they are selling.
Offshoring provided the solution.
By working with The Outsourced Accountant, Measured Results was able to grow from having only four members to 12. They are currently looking to hire up to three more people in the next couple of months.
Highly qualified staff
The firm currently employs three Certified Public Accountants (CPA). Their employees have at least two years of experience and possess a strong work ethic. According to McBroom, they are “all very sharp” and “do very good work.” One of their CPAs was ranked 8th nationally and another has already worked for local branches of Deloitte and Grant Thornton.
Measured Results’ highly qualified staff helps them take care of S Corporation returns, entity returns, monthly bookkeeping and payroll.
Significant savings for the firm
McBroom discussed how they were keen on flying out members to their onshore location so as not to impact their productivity. They discovered that the cost of flying someone in for up to three weeks (around $4,000 to $5,000) is still lower than hiring someone from the United States.
Measured Results got everything on the cloud when they started offshoring. 80% of their clients are currently using Quickbooks Online and they do not take on new clients that are not willing to go web-based. Switching to the cloud has allowed their team members to focus more on growth-oriented activities.
The firm’s 12-month journey with offshoring yielded the following results:
- 62% revenue increase
- 130% pre partner profit increase
- Bolstered growth for the business
- More focus in training
- Goal of hitting $1M growth
Challenges: The Industry
Setting up a global accounting team through offshoring will help address the challenges faced by the industry, which includes the following:
- Globalisations / cloud technology
- Technological advancements
- Customer expectations
- Skill shortages
- Cost of labour
In the current accounting landscape, technology is continuously evolving while client demands are shifting. The advancement in technology has become a huge enabler for offshoring, which altered the way accountants do their jobs. Such changes have made it possible for accounting firms to keep up with the changing customer expectations.
These days, clients are demanding more. They want more things done quicker. More importantly, they want their accountants to do more than compliance work. They want their accountants to take on a more proactive role in helping grow their business.
Many firms do not have the right quantity and quality of staff for specific roles, and offshoring helps solve this problem. While there are enough qualified professionals onshore, not all of them will have the exact skills required in certain jobs. Setting up a global accounting team allows firms to find people equipped with the right skills to perform tasks at a more affordable price.
Challenges: The Firm
Accountants are buried in workflow and regulatory challenges. This keeps them from being proactive. They are neck-deep in time-consuming tasks that are keeping them from spending time in front of clients.
Based on the results of the poll we ran during the webinar, more than half (56%) of accountants are buried in emails and calls, 25% spend most of their time in meetings, 50% deal with client issues and 6% waste a significant amount of time in reporting and calendar management.
Non-core administrative tasks like these keep accountants from offering value for clients. These productivity killers consume a lot of time, which decreases productivity. By spending more time in compliance work, accountants are reduced to offering less value for the firm.
Our previous webinar called The War On Productivity further delves into this issue. Learn more about productivity blockers and ways to effectively address them here.
Qualities Of Leading Accounting Teams
- CEO and/or leaders do not spend a significant amount of their time using and/or trying to learn the tools of the business. They are focused on making strategic decisions that propel business growth.
- Hiring executive assistants allows accountants to deal only with emails that really require their attention. EAs will filter the influx of emails each day, freeing up accountants’ time and allowing them to focus on business advisory tasks.
- With compliance work out of the way, accountants can now spend quality time with clients, allowing them to take on a more proactive role.
- Effective accounting firms have their technology, process and people sorted out properly which results to an improved workflow and increased productivity.
- Leading accounting teams have highly engaged staff both onshore and offshore. That’s because they know how to effectively utilise technology and implement processes that don’t waste team members’ time.
Setting Up A Successful Global Accounting Team
There is a big gap between leading firms and those that are struggling with capacity issues. Right now, more than 70% of firms are interested in offshoring/outsourcing. However, they are either taking too long to set up or setting up the wrong way.
Download our ebook on how to successfully build and manage a successful global team.
Check out more insightful readings on building capacity for your firm:
What can you do with improved capacity?
- Deliver more value for clients
- Focus on more growth services
- Improve client retention
- Increased yield per client
- Increased referral revenue and profit growth services
Running a 24-hour firm
These days, lots of firms are starting to run 24 hours a day. This is an interesting prospect because operating round-the-clock gives firms a competitive edge. This makes possible a faster work turnaround which clients prefer.
Setting up an offshore team with a third party provider does pose some risks. Those that have encountered problems in putting up a global accounting team may have either chosen the wrong partner or have not invested the right amount of time.
Identify one provider with the right skills, experience and resources to ensure things are done in just one way, which means more efficiency and value for clients.
Check out our Fast Start Guide in building a global accounting team. This series of videos discusses the steps needed to set up an offshore team as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The Different Types Of Models
Outsourcing and/or offshoring are solutions for firms that are looking for ways to reduce cost and increase efficiency.
Key benefits include:
- More focused workflow
- Skill matching
- Improved employee and client retention
- Optimal use of cloud technology
- Improved capacity
- Better community impact
Simply put, outsourcing entails the transfer of certain tasks/activities to a third party provider. It can be a professional individual or a firm that’s based on a different location. Business
Offshoring, on the other hand, involves moving processes outside a country. This means setting up a remote office in another country, like the Philippines. It’s basically having another branch at a different location.
Dedicated outsourcing is an optimal mix of having an offshore team, offshore support and a dedicated local support.
Firms that have been doing this for the past 3+ years are experiencing remarkable efficiency gains.
Offshoring In The Philippines
The Philippines is an ideal location for setting up a global accounting team mainly because of the high caliber of talent; it is a hot talent market and firms need to move fast if they are keen on getting quality staff. Other reasons include:
- Filipinos’ very high English proficiency (ranked highest in the 2013 Business English Index)
- Filipinos have a strong affinity with the western culture
- Little time zone difference
- Filipinos have a very strong work ethic
- The Philippines produces 3,000 Certified Public Accountants every year
Why should you invest in a global team?
Setting up a global team serves as a worthy investment in people and your clients. The capacity benefits are considerable. It is also cost-efficient because firms can save as much as 89% on the salaries of offshore accountants and bookkeepers.
Mapping Out Your Core Processes
Identifying the core processes will provide firms a strong foundation in offshoring. Firms can prioritise and take the appropriate steps.
Some important things to consider:
Learn and work with offshoring experts
Working with an expert allows firms to identify capacity issues and available opportunities for improvement. Working closely with firms that have become experts in offshoring will yield incredibly valuable information.
Identify and remove low value tasks
What are the tasks to be avoided? What are those that accountants would love to do but aren’t? How much time are you spending with clients?
It is important to highlight tasks you don’t want to do and those you need to be doing. Consider the following questions:
- What are the tasks you do but hate doing?
- What are the tasks you enjoy doing but don’t have the time to do?
- What are the tasks you would delegate to an assistant?
Develop a long term strategy
Since offshoring is an investment, it pays to strategise for the long term. This includes having a firm to conduct regular coaching and continuous training to add to an accountant’s skills.
Evaluating Tasks And Roles
Assessing Your Technology Options
A lot of firms are struggling with technology. Many are having a difficult time using apps and automation tools and that often leads to under utlisation, which, in the long run, costs firms money. Many firms are not getting the most of the technology they pay for.
What these firms need to do is identify key processes and utilise the technology they are paying for. There are various accounting technology that are proven to improve efficiency and build capacity.
- Improve productivity
- Provides accountants and clients access to real time data
- Free up time so accountants can focus on client-facing tasks
- Allow accountants to focus more on business advisory
Learn how to optimise essential cloud technology in this post.
Getting Support For Setting Up An Offshore Team
The right choice for an offshore provider can mean the difference between success and failure. To ensure a successful venture, make sure to look for a provider that offers all the necessary support like the following:
- IT & security
- Dedicated client support
- Operations & transport
- Human resources
- Talent acquisition
Here are additional tips:
- Get help from the accounting community and seek out the help of consultants.
- Document all processes to create instructional guides that can be helpful in the future
- Start broad and then narrow down the choices
- Move quickly because it is a hot talent market
- Find candidates who possess high trainability qualities
- Ensure that new hires are flown to the onshore office, at least once
- Identify a senior team member to act as quality control for the rest of the team
- Assign a champion
- Some firms start with 2-3 team members and then work on creating a stronger support and training group
If you are an accountant, bookkeeper or finance firm looking for solutions to capacity restraints, call our offshoring specialists at 1300 896 522 or click here to download our blueprint on how to build a global accounting team.