Client Spotlight: Offshoring Is The Best Strategic Move For Jamiesons Strategic Growth Solutions

Businesses are bound to come across roadblocks and discover gaps in their services. To continue providing excellent services to clients, they need to learn how to fill these gaps and find employees who are highly dependable.

Meet Craig Jamieson, Director, Jamiesons Strategic Growth Solutions

After discovering a gap in their client services, Craig Jamieson, director of Jamiesons Strategic Growth Solutions, realized they needed to bring someone on board; someone dependable and trustworthy. And that’s exactly what they got with our help.

Established 5 years ago, Jamiesons Strategic Growth Solutions is an accounting firm that does a combination of compliance work and business advisory, which comprises almost 40% of what they do. Made of eight highly competent members, the company has teams in Clark and India as well as Australia.

 

“We found someone we can rely on to help our client services administrator. It’s been great and helped us deliver to our clients a better experience than what they had previously.”

 

Data security concerns and how we’ve provided the solution

Craig’s initial concerns centred around data security. But after working with The Outsourced Accountant (TOA), those fears evaporated as Jamiesons discovered just how much TOA cares about their client’s information security. We take extra measures to protect data in a tightly controlled environment.

 

“The security that’s in place is very good and it ensures that client confidentiality is maintained.”

 

When asked about his level of satisfaction with regards to the services they’re getting, Craig expressed delight. He is very happy with the offshore team engagement especially because the people he works with are highly proactive; they constantly provide helpful information and are always ready to offer suggestions on how to improve the way they do business.

Smooth-sailing transition for the business

Craig also enjoyed the smooth-sailing onboarding process. TOA’s awesome support team made the transition a fun and hassle-free experience for Craig and his team. They came to Clark with specific things they want to do: they wanted to (1) run it with consultation because there was a great support team here and (2) be involved in the recruitment process as well.

They were able to merge the two requirements and it has worked well. Also, with help from the outstanding talent recruitment process, they were able to find the most suitable candidate to help them bridge the gap in their client services.

 

“We were able to bring on board the right person for the role that we had chosen and to bring them up to speed quite quickly. We had all the support that we needed. It was great.”

 

 

Since working with us, Craig expressed satisfaction with the way our team has shown willingness in providing a better experience to them and how our support team is always ready to give assistance.

 


If you have capacity restraints, are looking to scale your firm, or just want to know what is possible with outsourcing, contact our local industry experts specialists for a consultation today at 1300 896 522.


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3 Things I’ve Learned From Running My Own Business, The Outsourced Accountant

Small business accouting - Learn from Nick Sinclair
Three and a half years ago, back when I was running my own financial planning firm, we encountered some challenges related to administration tasks. So we thought of ways on how to flip it to make it more efficient. We ended up buying an accounting firm. The Outsourced Accountant was created and born out of ... Read more

Offshoring Accounting Tips For The Modern Accounting Firm

Accounting Tips from Nick Sinclair
From a recent webinar poll we’ve conducted, results showed that three-quarters of accounting firms are outsourcing or getting ready to engage in this space. Even with this significant number, The Outsourced Accountant (TOA) CEO Nick Sinclair believes that the industry has yet to fully benefit from it. For those who are contemplating on or about ... Read more

TOA Accounting Professionals, Standards, Training and Development

The accounting profession is one of the most rapidly progressing profession in the Philippines today. After given formal recognition by the Government in 1923, accountancy showed tremendous growth. One solid evidence of this growth is the ever increasing number of membership, licensure, and specialised services every year. From 43 registered accounting professionals in 1923, the ... Read more

#QBconnect 2017: Key Insights – It Was One Incredible Day, Indeed

QBConnect 2017
This huge gathering of accountants, entrepreneurs, and industry experts held 18 May 2017 in Sydney themed Bring Your Future Into Focus has certainly enriched the industry’s passion for innovation and excellence. Influential keynote and breakout session speakers talk about how the accounting industry will take shape, the importance of building a brand, strengthening client relationships, pricing structure ... Read more

Six Steps To Scaling Your Firm: Part 2

Steps to scaling firm - Part 2
Following part one of the six steps to scaling your firm through outsourcing, part two looks at the last three steps in how to use offshoring to grow your accounting firm. Accounting firms that wish to scale and grow often turn to outsourcing, but they must dedicate enough time and energy to develop a successful ... Read more

CEO Nick Sinclair Shares Insights On Handling Top Concerns With Outsourcing

Top Concerns With Outsourcing
Download Presentation Here View Transcription Here Nick Sinclair, CEO of The Outsourced Accountant (TOA), shared expert advice on how to handle the biggest concerns with outsourcing as polled in our webinar entitled Essential Guide To Outsourcing And Cloud Security For Accountants held in 10 May 2017. The webinar is joined by Jamie Beresford, CEO of Practice ... Read more

Big Increase In Accounting Firms Using Outsourcing


In the latest poll data from our webinar Essential Guide To Outsourcing And Cloud Security For Accountants, 43% of the audience were shown to have outsourcing solutions up and running. This represents a big jump compared to the data gathered from the joint webinar with Panalitix, How To Become a Real-Time Accountant and Add Value to Your Firmheld in November 2016 with only 11%. Over 40% of respondents were also thinking about setting up offshoring support or inquiring.

 

Latest Data Shows A Big Increase In Accounting Firms Engaging In Outsourcing

[Part 2 of 3 series]

 

Nick Sinclair, CEO of The Outsourced Accountant (TOA), with Jamie Beresford, CEO of Practice Protect covered the following topics with over 200 respondents:

  • The vital case for outsourcing
  • Expert insights into how leading firms are outsourcing
  • Tips on managing a global workforce
  • Identifying the most crucial cloud security risks
  • How to ensure that you’ve got your clients’ data (and yours) secure

 

“With the advent of cloud technology and globalisation, we see outsourcing as a viable option now particularly the accounting industry.”

Nick Sinclair

Are you outsourcing right now?

 

are you outsourcing right now

Essential Guide To Outsourcing And Cloud Security For Accountants (May 2017)

have you already got an offshore team

How To Become a Real-Time Accountant and Add Value to Your Firm (November 2016)

The large jump in accountants practising outsourcing is certainly a  good pulse on the industry. Outsourcing has gained ground and been welcomed in the accounting industry as firms strive to respond to numerous challenges, improve efficiency and deliver more for customers than ever before.

Nick Sinclair was quick to note the change in how accounting firms currently look it as an angle to entice applicants for recruitment.

 

“A large number of firms are advertising to graduates stating — you’ll never have to do a tax return. You’re coming into the business for an advisory role — with a lot of the compliance work being outsourced to a global team, it provides a great opportunity for graduates to focus on local client facing work.”

 

A good part of the audience has also considered outsourcing with 30% indicating they are not outsourcing right now but are thinking about it. 11% have engaged in outsourcing but not at the moment while 14% are looking into starting their outsourcing journey. This is all indicative of how much change and firm reviews are happening in the industry.

A number of case studies can be viewed here around how outsourcing can be a positive change factor for a firm, improving efficiency and productivity.

“Outsourcing is not just about tax and compliance, it’s about efficiency and setting a firm up for long-term growth,” Nick says.

The webinar discusses reasons why outsourcing amidst industry changes is such a practical option to take. From addressing capacity restraints to attracting and keeping talent, from price pressure to labour costs, Nick shared his insights from his own experience on running The Outsourced Accountant in the Philippines.

If you are having capacity restraints, or looking to grow your firm, or just want to know what is possible with outsourcing, we are here to help.

 

Check the two other blog series of this webinar:

  • Cloud Security Concerns For Accountants, A Top Concern … And Growing!
  • CEO Shares Insights On Handling Top Concerns With Outsourcing

Cloud Security Concerns For Accountants, A Top Concern … And Growing!


A perfect session for firm owners or practitioners in the accounting, bookkeeping or financial industry. If you want to know more about outsourcing, offshoring or know what competitors are doing in this space, the biggest concerns particularly on cloud security – then this webinar is not to be missed!

 

Cloud Security Concerns For Accountants, A Top Concern … And Growing!

[Part 1 of 3 series]

In our latest webinar, Essential Guide To Outsourcing And Cloud Security For Accountants, 23% of the audience identified cloud security as one of the top concerns about offshoring ranking it 2nd in the list from the poll conducted.

The share of this concern has grown considerably in the last six months, with over two-thirds of respondents citing the need to review their business exposure to security risks.

What is your biggest concern with outsourcing

Essential Guide To Outsourcing And Cloud Security For Accountants (May 2017)

biggest offshoring concern

How To Become a Real-Time Accountant and Add Value to Your Firm (November 2016)

“Do you have a plan on how to manage your cloud security?”

Jamie Beresford

 

The growing concern can be linked to the latest legislation on the mandatory disclosure of data breaches in the accounting industry. More importantly, the uptake of cloud technologies in recent years has been aggressive in the accounting industry. Room for improvement certainly exists in adopting tighter security controls to control firm IP and protect client data.

Jamie Beresford, CEO of Practice Protect, discussed the ways in which firm owners can ensure data security. Included in Beresford’s list is a single sign-on system (SSO) to ensure password protection. This means that offshore (and onshore) staff will not have only one password to access to various platforms or systems your business is using. This certainly brings:

  • convenience in not having to remember several passwords for each platform that you are using
  • a firm’s systems and data are locked in and accessible only in an assigned location with permission — in this case, where your offshoring office would be. Staff cannot log in outside of these premises unless given due access.
  • an option to lock specific locations by IP address
  • additional layers of protection if a computer is shared
  • the ability of a single click to lock a team member out of all applications
  • easy tracking and deleting of access should an employee leave

 

“Fundamentally, it’s about consolidating passwords in a single identity per person, that can be monitored and tracked 24/7.”

 Jamie Beresford

 

Mr. Beresford stresses, “it’s really important that you have that log in from a compliance perspective and from a due diligence perspective” as a reference to an example where a firm’s client was hacked.

Tracking the list of people who had access proved to be a very good way of getting to the cause and, at the same time, identifying the party responsible for the incident.

Practice Protect integration

At The Outsourced Accountant, this single sign-on system is implemented along with:

  • No access to flash drives or any external drives, photocopy machines, among others, to prevent unauthorised copying of data. Several levels of approval from immediate superior to team leader to client are enforced before access is granted.
  • Certain sites are prohibited
  • Office premises are accessible only via an encrypted card
  • Building access only via a thumbprint security

 

Jamie Beresford and his team at Practice Protect work to provide the safest environment for global businesses particularly those outsourcing into the Philippines. Learn more about cloud security and reach out to Jamie Beresford here.

If you are having capacity restraints, or looking to grow your firm, or just want to know what is possible with outsourcing, we are here to help.

 

Check the two other blog series of this webinar:

  • Latest Data Shows A Big Increase In Accounting Firms Engaging In Outsourcing
  • CEO Shares Insights On Handling Top Concerns With Outsourcing

Building Capacity for Accountants by Offshoring

Over 90% of accounting firms are either outsourcing work, have decided to, or are on the hunt for more information on how to get setup. Two experts examine how to build capacity in the firm and how this has led to dramatic shifts in firm productivity.


In this expert webinar, hear Nick Sinclair’s journey from running an accounting firm to scaling up a business with over 450+ qualified accountants and support staff. This is a must read for anyone looking into outsourcing, or offshoring to understand the biggest concerns and how The Outsourced Accountant can help to overcome these, fast.

The key insights:

  • Why offshoring has become such a real and viable option for accounting firms
  • The true value of building an offshore team to grow your firm’s capacity
  • Understanding the necessary requirements for a successful offshoring effort
  • How to successfully choose the right team members for your offshore team
  • Real results from successful offshoring stories

A lot of businesses have heard about outsourcing or offshoring, or have actually tried it, but not everyone knows how they can fully maximise the benefits of offshoring.

Polling showed that over 90% of the audience had either thought about or have actually engaged in offshoring. The most common reason for deploying this strategy is to improve the performance of their firm while saving on costs and crucially enabling the right firm talent to focus on tasks to improve value for the customer.

For Nick, the top three questions at the start of his offshoring journey were:

  • How can we streamline our service and make it more efficient?
  • How can we deliver more to our clients for less?
  • How do I market my business to attract more clients?

 

offshoring

Reasons for outsourcing

Outsourcing is concerned with shifting a task to another party to be completed, which of course could be done domestically or internationally. Services like Fiverr or Upwork are classic examples of platforms that offer outsourcing for tasks.

Offshoring differs and refers to setting up a team to get work done in a different country, usually to leverage cost advantage and to gain access to a higher volume of skilled individuals. When done right, offshoring can dramatically increase productivity and create a unique competitive advantage by offshoring certain business processes. It’s a long term play as you get the access to a great pool of talent while investing in their ongoing development with your firm, just like any team member.

The Outsourced Accountant offers the ability to do this, but in the highly specialised niche of Accounting and Finance, with over 450+ accountants and highly trained support staff working with our clients.

Here are some of the reasons why offshoring has become such a viable strategy for helping to scale an accounting firm.

 

  • Cost benefit

    Offshoring accounting services gives a considerable wage cost advantage. In a research conducted by The Outsourced Accountant, firms in Australia and New Zealand could utilise four people offshore for the cost of one onshore. For the American markets, this equates to approximately three offshore staff to one onshore. With this increase in manpower, capacity and scaling are not that difficult to achieve.

    It’s important to note that the overall impact of offshoring can be to ensure that the right talent is matched to the right tasks. Not only can this increase satisfaction within teams, but also the ability of the firm to produce scalable results and service. In turn, this can improve client trust, referrals and in many examples add fuel to other functions that can help grow the firm, like marketing.

     

Salary comparison Table

 

  • Productivity and service impact

    When Nick started his offshoring journey in December 2013, the company had  8 staff. A month later they added an additional 22 staff and within three months had replicated almost the entire headcount with 38 staff in Australia and 30 in the Philippines. The huge shift in manpower had a dramatic effect within the firm and also for clients:

     

    “All the mess got cleaned up, it enabled our team to be freed up. They went looking for more work, being proactive and focusing on outcomes that were much more valuable to the client.”

     

    The firm then began to improve and expand their client services. No-charge financial analysis was offered to clients plus increased tips and consultations every month — an approach that helped greatly in building trust with clients which ultimately led to generating 5-10 leads a day.

 

  • Focus on core competency

    One of the most effective ways to scale your business it to ensure you have great systems in place for process driven work. It’s then a matter of matching the offshore talent to deliver this work. This allows a firm to redeploy talent time to activities that will ultimately drive more value for the customer.

    The identification and mapping out of process-driven tasks will help pinpoint which tasks can be outsourced. While process mapping, standardisation and reengineering can seem like a cost  (high involvement in time), it allows the firm to get great clarity on where opportunities to increase productivity truly lie. This, paves the way for more efficiency in your processes. It also allows onshore staff to focus on work that they would like to do more of but weren’t able to because they were tied to the time-consuming process-driven tasks.

 

When you start offshoring, you often see who is hiding behind a rock…  with us, we didn’t make anyone redundant… But when you put in place real strict mechanisms to measure an offshore team’s (performance),  you start to show the inefficiencies you do have in your process in your firm. Overall, this in itself, can be an incredibly open and valuable process to go through.”  

 

  • A long-term investment in people

    In the case of outsourcing, it can often be perceived that the offshore team are very separate and are there just to ‘do a job’. The real successes we have seen are where firms fully open their firm, culture and development to all their employees, no matter the location.

    As our workforces continue to become more multicultural and cloud technologies improve, the geographical working boundaries become less important. The leading firms we have seen invest heavily in their offshore staff, often visiting frequently or bring them into the local offices.

    This has a great and positive impact on team culture as well as streamlining cultural norms and expectations. Common feedback about the Philippines teams is how outstanding their English skills are, how highly educated they are, and how strong their work ethic is. Embracing these points to craft a high performing team while tapping into the abundance of highly qualified accountants is long term play but one that has had great upside strategically.

    The scaling approach gets the firm organised, focused on adding more value — and building more client trust. Once this platform had been formed, it was a matter of upping the marketing and business development, which can also be done through offshoring.

 

impact of offshoring

 

Steps in the outsourcing process for accountants

While it can be a challenge to start offshoring, it’s not at as hard as you think to get started. For offshoring to be successful, you need to find a trusted offshoring provider.

This is how it works at The Outsourced Accountant:

1. Learn and work with offshoring experts

Work with an expert to help identify where your capacity issues and opportunities are. The Outsourced Accountant has highly qualified, accounting and finance specialists who are experts at offshoring to meet and discuss everything you need to know.

No matter what stage you are at with your offshoring journey, whether you are contemplating on having an offshore team, or if you have decided to offshore but need guidance, you can simply book a no obligation meeting with an offshoring expert here. They are a  great resource into what other firms have done successfully and can assist in accelerating similar results for you.

In addition, the open collaboration with firms who are already offshoring is incredibly valuable. The Outsourced Accountant facilitates many accounting community and peer-to-peer advisor learning opportunities to help get to know each other and offer support (Client Adviser Day).  These are a tremendous resource giving firms, who are new to the approach, valuable insights on various aspects of the journey.

 

TOA offers support

 

2. Identify and remove low-value tasks

A great way to work out what tasks you could outsource is following a three-step method. One of the most powerful outcomes is highlighting all of the work that you don’t want to do, that you are doing, that you simply don’t need to. If you compare this against your own hourly wage cost and where this time could be better spent, you’re already well on your way.

Nick’s simple approach is this 3-Column identifier:

  1. First column – tasks that you or your staff need to do but would rather not do if given the choice
  2. Second column –  tasks that your staff would love to do but cannot because they’re busy with tasks in column one
  3. Third column – tasks that you can definitely delegate to somebody else

This approach very clearly shows tasks that you can outsource so you and your staff can focus on tasks that you would like to do more of and which are higher yielding.

 

3 column identifier

 

3. Develop a long-term plan and strategy

The Outsourced Accountant has always maintained that offshoring is an investment that requires a stretch of time and effort. Having a global workforce will need a firm to conduct regular coaching and continuous training to upskill the team members. Engagement also plays a big part as this creates a culture within the team. Nick emphasized that,

 

“It does take time to train … It’s a global world, it’s a global workforce. You don’t have people just working in your current office, you have people now working in your Philippines office. You need to have the time dedicated to doing that.”

 

how to get started

What are the common tasks to outsource for accountants?

The advent of cloud technology and the fact that offshored accounting is becoming more popular and more advanced, have had a huge impact on the types of tasks that can be outsourced. The range and complexity of accounting tasks that can be supported by The Outsourced Accountant are growing rapidly.

In the past only simple low value tasks were outsourced, but this practice has evolved for the following reasons:

  1. With the availability of a highly educated workforce, more complex tasks have started to be offshored. These include roles that focus superannuation, SMSF and paraplanning.
  2. With additional staff taking on these roles, it builds the firm’s capacity significantly contributing to the growth of the business.
  3. At The Outsourced Accountant, many clients have teams of more than 10 members working in their own branded suites.

 

commonly outsourced tasks

Concerns/risks associated with outsourcing

Financial and accounting firms who are making the strategic decision to offshore their accounting services may face a variety of concerns from internal issues, such as what to tell the local staff and clients, or ‘perceived’ risks about the quality of work offshore. From the poll you can see a summary of the biggest concerns:

 

biggest offshoring concern

 

Nick Sinclair is quick to point out facts and feedback from many clients who have been offshoring accounting work for many years.

 

  • Quality of work

    Whilst a big concern is about the quality of work (with 55%), Nick states that the only difference of hiring an offshore team is that they’re in a developing country. That doesn’t mean they have a low-value education. In fact, the education system in the Philippines is very advanced especially in Accounting where it produces the second highest number of graduates annually.

    With the TOA Team members alone,

     

    “Every single one of the 400 has a degree. Over 40% of them have a Masters (degree), 50% of them are CPAs. They’re extremely educated. A lot of them also have been CFOs for 5,000 FTE companies.”

     

    The Philippines has the second highest volume of graduates in tertiary education producing about 8,000 CPAs every year. For those looking to outsource accounting roles, the difference in skills that a firm should be made aware of is that Filipino accountants need to understand local taxation laws (i.e. Australian, New Zealand, and US tax laws). This is well covered at The Outsourced Accountant where extensive and local training is provided by Australian CPA qualified trainers.

 

TOA accountants

 

  • Communication

    In the Philippines, English is the primary language of communication and instruction. Aside from Singapore, Philippines is the only South-east Asian country to mandate fully bilingual education. English is part of a daily life at The Outsourced Accountant.

     

    According to Education First’s English Proficiency Index, the Philippines is ranked #3 out of 20 countries in Asia with a score of 60.59, and ranked #15 out of 80 countries and regions worldwide. This goes to show that the concern about communication is almost non-relevant. Many clients are surprised by how well the Filipino teams communicate and find little to zero reasons to be concerned at all.

 

  • Client Perception

    Many companies worry about the need to tell clients that their work is being offshored. Nick and his team had a very successful offshore accounting team up and running, in six months. The clients were simply blown away by the change in service levels.

    Various points can be considered to get clients onboard with offshoring their requirements. This includes increased productivity, efficiency, cost-effectiveness etc. The key aspect here is to ensure that regulations are complied with but also to demonstrate value through the approach. It’s also important to ensure that the process and people are at a point where they’re delivering quality results, consistently.

 

client communication

 

  • Team’s Perception

    When employees see jobs being outsourced, they might think their jobs are next. But, outsourcing is not always about reducing onshore headcount. It’s helping them become more skilled as they can now move away from process-driven tasks and focus on creating solutions for clients.

 

  • Security

    Since cloud technology is a big part of the offshoring industry, online security is best handled with industry’s best practices. The Outsourced Accountant has invested heavily in IT security. TOA has partnered with a leading IT security firm encompassing a wide range of tasks from seamless IT infrastructure to data security.

     

data security

 

Expert advice is always readily available at The Outsourced Accountant. If you are looking for offshoring experts for your accounting and finance services, we are ready to talk. We can make your offshoring journey easy for you.


Headquartered with an executive team in Australia, we provide dedicated team members as a high-quality offshore team. Growing rapidly with over a thousand qualified accountants and support staff in the Philippines we deliver all the recruitment, onboarding, facilities and amazing culture to support your workflow.


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