Client Spotlight: Empowered With Time For Firm Growth

6-minute read

To gain the time you need to grow your firm, you need the capacity to do all the work that needs to be done. Debra Houghton of Gilligan Sheppard out of New Zealand has seen first-hand how building a high-performing offshore team can empower their local team with the time for firm growth. 

Why Build An Offshore Team?

For Debra, offshoring for them means that: 

  • They can have more employees. 
  • They can actually grow their business without actually having more resources in our office in New Zealand.  
  • They don’t have to have a disk, a computer and they don’t have to look after all of that extra stuff. 
  • They actually got an offshore team that can work just as well as they want and that is in contact with them all the time.

So, offshoring just makes sense to them. 

What made you choose TOA?

Gilligan Sheppard’s needs are definitely being met by the two administration team members that they have with us at TOA.  

 

“We love them. They’re definitely part of our Gilligan Sheppard family, and we include them with all of our decisions that we are making.”

Their two offshore team members visit New Zealand, come to conferences, and any team building that they have. 

How is your TOA Customer Experience?

 

“It was very easy to recruit, very easy to do the interview process via Skype. I think we’ve chosen really well. So, we’re really happy with that.”

Debra says that it has probably taken about a good six months to a year to get used to how they work and what they need to do to make the relationship easier and make it better both their local and offshore teams.  

But, she says adamantly that it would be the same if they had somebody in the office. It would take six months to a year to do that training to make sure they know their job fully. It’s just the same thing. Debra says that when you want to train anyone in your processes and procedures in-house or offshore, it’s the same amount of time. So as long as you recognize that, it’s fine. 

Arlyn, the administrative assistant who does collection for them, get to phone the clients directly. Debra doesn’t have to be involved in that. Arlyn has a script and she follows it very well, but she is also able to talk to the clients directly. When they ask questions, she’s able to answer them. Arlyn doesn’t need a script for those sort of things. She has her own mind, and she has her own way of talking, and that’s perfectly fine with Debra. 

Speaking about what’s great with working with Debra and the local team, Arlyn says that they have consistent communication, they do Skype calls every week. They even have training in New Zealand which is an opportune time to bond with Debra and the local team. They’ve gone boating and wakeboarding. Having more time to bond, they get to know more about each other.  

 

“They treat us like family. They don’t even treat us like employees. We’re understood. We’re that they are valued and welcomed.”

Since she does debt collection, Arlyn has learned a lot about having a good relationship with clients. Because of this, she has grown as a person and an individual, and Gilligan Sheppard has helped her achieve that. 

How would you describe your TOA Team Members?

They have chosen team members who interact well with the local team. So, their personality types are very friendly. They are very nice, says Debra. And they found that, when they came to New Zealand, that they are very brave as well. They’ve taken them out of their comfort zone, done different things that they probably won’t normally do in the Philippines. They’ve also found that the offshore team they’ve got can challenge them to be better, and that has been really good for  them. 

They actually did a two-day training that TOA did for them instead of them doing that. TOA trained their team. Immediately, they already knew the system, the database that they were using, and they were able to freely go wherever Debra asked them to go. That was incredible, she exclaimed!

What are the results of working with TOA?

Having a team at TOA has meant that Debra has more resources within her admin team back in New Zealand. So, because they are using TOA to house their administration the offshore team members do not get interrupted like their receptionist o other admin team members. They don’t get the same phone calls from clients. They don’t get the same interruptions as communications are via email or via Skype, and they can choose when they will answer those. So having more resources have allowed the local team to have more time to actually deal with clients and do more customer-oriented tasks. Debra is pleased about that. 

Would you recommend TOA?

If you’re making the decision to offshore using TOA means that you have more time and more resources within your own office to do the things that you want to do, Debra says. 

 

“So go out and see your clients, go out and do the things that you enjoy doing, and get TOA to do the things that you don’t necessarily want to do or the things that are more process-driven.”

One of great advantage that Debra had when she was thinking of  TOA was that she was actually told about it by other practices, and she was invited to come and visit our TOA Clark offices. She did that before she even came and organized getting the team that she wanted. 

Conclusion

So, if you want to gain the capacity you need to a have the time you want to grow your firm, start building your offshore team. We can help you do exactly that. More than 300 accounting firms across the globe have over 1,000 accountants, bookkeepers, and financial analysts as well as marketing, sales, finance, and administration support staff with us. 

Start taking back your clock by scheduling a FREE consultation with one of our  global team specialists. 

I WANT TO BOOK MY FREE CONSULT

Top 5 Accounting Business Strategies That Work And Do Not Work

accounting-business-strategies-featured-image
5-minute read   Having the right accounting business strategies is crucial to your firm’s success. You can read hundreds of books and guides on how to build better and more profitable businesses. But, you need to know what works and what doesn’t. You need how-to methodologies from an expert with decades of experience in helping accountants build thriving ... Read more

Winning The Accounting Practice With Cloud Computing

cloud computing for firm success
5-minute read   Today, technology determines who wins (and loses) in the accounting practice. Thanks to cloud computing, accounting firms, regardless of size, can now handle massive amounts of data, allowing them to take on jobs that used to be exclusive to bigger firms that have more resources and manpower. Despite the continuously evolving customer ... Read more

Is Technology Really Growing Your Firm?

growing-your-firm-featured-image-edited

Achieving sustainable growth in an industry amidst rapid disruptive change is not easy.

Do you want to know the secret of the the world’s most profitable and high-performing firms?

They use a three-pronged approach: Technology, People, And Process:

Optimum use of the right tools and technologies, the right people in the right roles, and the right accounting business strategies and how-to methodologies are keys to your firm’s success.

Time For A Reality Check

During our most recent poll, we asked accounting firms “how helpful is technology in growing your firm?”:

  • 33% say they use some software but need to learn more
  • 28% say they have an IT stack but have not maximised all of it
  • 17% say they have just started building their IT stack
  • 11% say that they are learning just now

But the most important number is:

  • Only 11% say that their IT stack is very helpful and they are using it efficiently.

What this figure says is that there is a very low percentage of accounting firms who are using technology to its fullest potential. If your accounting firm wants to achieve its goals, you need to maximise the use of the technology available to you.

The Fact of The Matter

 

growing-your-firm-fact-of-matter

According to Ron Lesh, Founder and Managing Director of award-winning BGL Corporate Solutions, there are five types of accounting firms depending on when they started integrating technology.

  1. Innovators – The initiators and creators of better and faster ways to do things
  2. Early Adopters – The first to use the latest technology
  3. Early Majority – The firms that saw Early Adopter results and began using the technology as well
  4. Late Majority – The firms that started using technology relatively recently
  5. Laggards – The firms who haven’t, are just thinking of, or don’t want to use technology

Ron says that most accounting firms are heading into the Late Majority. But you would most definitely not want to be a Laggard because, in today’s digital age, accountants like you need to realize two things:

  1. You are no longer purveyors of information. Clients can ask Google.
  2. Clients know what you know. They have access to all their info and they know your competitors.

This is why it is very important to be ahead of the curve by not only using technology but to make sure they are all integrated. Most times, accounting firms use different software that don’t actually connect to each other.

Integration is the first step to automation. With automated systems, you can streamline workflow to increase efficiency and consequently enhance capacity.

The Benefits of Automation

Let’s say each year all your work takes 10,000 hours to finish. When you automate your systems effectively, you will see a:

  • 30% decrease in total number of hours after 2.5 years to only 7,000 hours
  • 60% decrease in total number of hours after 5 years to only 4,000 hours

Imagine what you can do with thousands of extra hours. You can use it to do extensive business planning. You can take on more new clients. You can train your teams. There is so much time you can save to focus on really growing your firm.

Time To Grow Your Firm

growing-your-firm-time-grow-firm

The pace by which leading-edge technology and best practices are changing is staggering. Rob Nixon, success mentor, coach, and facilitator to hundreds of accounting firms worldwide, knows this all too well. To grow your accounting business, he says that you need to do three things:

  1. FIX what is going on today. Technology wise, do an audit of what you use. If you are not maximising their full potential, ensure that you do or use something that you can. Then, start fixing your workflow, pricing, receivables, client mix, and all day-to-days.
  2. MINIMISE time and get more efficient. Look at every single technology you use. If it is not helping minimise time or increase capacity, use something that will. Mishandling of data occurs the more people it passes through. Automation cuts this. Gaining time and capacity will allow you to increase profits and achieve sustainable revenue growth.
  3. SCALE to your desired business size. When you have sorted out the first two, it is time to set targets and grow your business. Go into new niche markets. Expand your services portfolio and include value-added services.  

Rob says, “Let technology write the history and accountant make history.” Automate your processes so you, the accountant, can focus on serving clients. Pair this with effective implementation of the right accounting business strategies and you will have the formula for success.

“Your accounting firm can be whatever you want it to be. Your dreams, imagination, your desire to implement new ideas will make all the difference.”

How To Face Critical Challenges

Before your firm achieves sustainable growth, there will be hurdles you have to jump over. Our survey says that:

  • 55% of accounting firms consider technological advancements as their major challenge.
  • 39% say it is the high cost of labour
  • 35% say that it is meeting customer expectations
  • 31% say that it is the lack of team members with necessary skills
  • 14% say that is globalisation and integration of cloud technology

Build a highly skilled global accounting team and you can address a majority of these challenges. While you will gain the capacity you need, remember that this is a long-term play. You need to match this with the right accounting business strategies and how-to methodologies.

Low Risk And High Rewards

Offshoring is not a risky proposition as you might think. We at The Outsourced Accountant have worked with hundreds of accounting and they will tell you that the rewards outweigh the risks many times over.

By having a high-performing global team, you free up your local team to be more productive and increase workflow efficiency. So matching the right skills with the right people allows your local team to grow in the process.

Building Your Team

growing-your-firm-building-team

There are 10 clear-cut advantages of building your local team and a team in the Philippines:

  1. Full-time Employees – You will have a dedicated offshore team.
  2. Aligned with Your Time Zone – Your offshore team will work while you work.
  3. Highly Secure Data and Systems – You do not worry about breaches.
  4. Free Consult To Plot Your Growth – You have us to help you build your team and business.
  5. Full-time Offshore and Local Support – You have increased time and capacity.
  6. A-team for Long-term Investment – You gain a high-performing team to help achieve growth sustainability.
  7. Highly Skilled Talent Pool – You choose from the best-of-the-best industry specialists.
  8. Great English Proficiency – Your team will have one of the highest English proficiency rates in Asia.
  9. Low Employee Turnover – You can trust your team to stay and be loyal to you.
  10. Client Education and Peer Community – You have access to other firms on the same journey.

So if you want your firm to achieve true sustainable growth, a potent combination of the effective implementation of the right technology, the right people in the right roles, and the right accounting business strategies is key.

You can start by letting us show you how we can help build your own high-performing offshore team. The hundreds of accounting firms who are working with us are thriving.

Let us show you what we can do for you.

Schedule a FREE phone consultation with one of our global consultants.

Intelligent Accounting: Making The Most Of Cloud Technology

cloud technology
Despite its prevalence, many companies are still not utilising technology. Hence the lack of capacity and inefficient processes. Firms that make a deliberate effort to use technology in their processes will see a significant upswing on productivity, efficiency, and, in the long run, profitability. Technology is a vital ingredient in managing a successful accounting firm. ... Read more

Overcome Accounting Firm Capacity Challenges To Increase Revenue

overcome-accounting-firm-capacity-challenges-increase-revenue
5-minute read   Picture this. Twenty new clients come up to you. They want you to be their accountant. Do you have the capacity to take them onboard? If you do, then you’re managing your accounting business right. If you can’t take on more new clients, don’t worry because you’re not alone. Majority of accounting ... Read more

Expert Insights On Building Capacity To Grow Your Firm

7-minute read

 

Firms looking to scale will benefit from one simple tip: think outside your comfort zone.

The solution to the challenges you’re experiencing may lie on offshoring.

One of the most common problems faced by firms looking to grow is the lack of qualified individuals. And it’s through offshoring that one of our clients, Measured Results, found the answer.

 

How to Build Capacity in 2018 with Offshoring - Tyler

 

In a previous webinar on How To Build Capacity Through Offshoring, Tyler McBroom, partner, shared his firm’s amazing journey on becoming one of the companies that successfully implemented this business model.

Firms get busy during tax season. It’s a challenging time and it’s important that accountants know how to adapt. There are obstacles, however, starting with being bogged down with compliance tasks to not having the right technology to speed up productivity and enhance efficiency.

 

How-to-Build-Capacity-With-Offshoring-Case-Study-600x339

 

With a steady stream of clients, the firm has one problem: they cannot find the right people to work on specific jobs. It didn’t help that their location isn’t very accessible.

But the shortage of skilled individuals won’t help them meet the workload assigned to them. They needed to deliver. And that is where offshoring comes in.

In the 12 months that Measured Result has been with The Outsourced Accountant, the firm has experienced rapid growth by expanding their team. In fact, they were able to double their staff.

Measured Result’s 12-month offshoring journey produced 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

 

From having only four members, they grew to 12 team members. Now, they are looking into hiring more. Offshoring helped the firm find qualified staff.

They now have no less than three Certified Public Accountants (CPA). These are all highly skilled professionals who possess strong work ethic. McBroom recognises that these accountants are very sharp and do very good work.

Finding the right people to do the right job at the right price can have a tremendous impact on one’s business. That’s because you can have increased productivity and enhanced capacity. With the right people, your firm can meet client deliverables. And you don’t have to worry about accuracy and quality.

Assembling An Awesome Offshore Team

 

offshoring in the philippines

 

What’s great about offshoring is it allows you to tap into the huge pool of talents that are not available onshore. The Philippines, in particular, is a great place to offshore and recruit talents because:

  • It has a seriously skilled talent pool
  • Filipinos have a strong work ethic
  • Filipinos have a very strong affinity to the western culture
  • The Philippines’ time zone is aligned with yours

 

Furthermore, the Philippines is ranked high when it comes to English proficiency, making working with someone from the country easy because the language barrier is no longer there.

The work doesn’t stop with finding talent. You need to continually work on keeping your staff engaged and motivated because their mindset towards work will influence their performance.

Getting Your New Team Members Up To Speed

One of the key steps in ensuring success for your accounting firm is to onboard your talents properly.  

Getting your offshore team members ready entails investing time, effort, and thought because you need to ensure engagement from your remote team. Here at The Outsourced Accountant, we have a dedicated team for onboarding offshore teams called the client experience team.

Subsequently, you will need to train your new team members and get them up to speed with the business. It’s important to have a clear and outlined training schedule with very specific outcomes.

To get the best results, we highly recommend in-person training where you either fly out your team member to the onshore office or have a point-of-contact to go to the Philippines to provide training.

In this process, you will be able to walk the team member through the specifics of their role, the processes and systems, and, more importantly, to establish good rapport.

For Measured Results, McBroom shared that having their offshore team member flown to their Australia office yielded favourable results. Following recommendations from other people who’ve tried offshoring, they had their senior accountant sent over to Australia during their busy season. It turned out to be a huge thing because they were able to establish a good relationship, which also contributed to their capacity.

Another strategy is having a manager available to accommodate any questions from the entire team.

Welcome To The Future

Embracing technology is an important step to increasing capacity. As a huge enabler for offshoring, technology has transformed the way accountants work. It has made distributed workforce possible. Now, accountants can work anytime, anywhere by switching to the cloud.

There is a wide variety of software, apps and tools that have automated tasks from bookkeeping to generating reports, which significantly improved firm productivity and efficiency.

When Measured Results started offshoring, they transferred everything to the cloud. 80% of their clients are currently using Quickbooks Online. They also recommend that their clients go web-based. By switching to the cloud, their team members can now focus on growth-oriented activities.

Working with an offshore service provider will definitely pave the way for significant improvements for firms. While it’s not a magic pill, when done right, can yield the results you want. Offshoring can give you immediate capacity BUT know that it is a long-term play.

 

Subscribe to The Ledger to discover more valuable accounting business insights.

Check out our podcast at The Outsourced Accountant to learn the strategies and how-to methodologies to becoming a high-performing firm that delivers results.

 


Looking to scale your business by getting the right people to do specific roles? Call our global offshoring specialists at 1300 896 522 or click here to download our blueprint on how to build a global accounting team.


Ready, Set, Go! – Getting Your Team Ready To Make Tax Season More Profitable

profitable-tax-season-featured-image
6-minute read   Stressful. Exhausting. And, dare we say it? Even torturous. Yes, accountants dread tax season. We know that pushing through tax returns or year-end audits is a grueling ordeal. Accountants, like you, know all too well the struggle that tax season brings. But, as they say, knowing is half the battle. It is ... Read more

The Accounting Firm Hyper Growth Session

The Accounting Firm Hyper Growth Session

Getting Absolute Return On Your Time

Topics:

  • How to get an absolute return on your time
  • How firms can pivot from offering only tax compliance to adding value
  • How offshoring can benefit both local and offshore teams
  • How to add value and deliver more to clients

 

Insights and takeaways:

  • We can do any task behind a computer or phone
  • Offshoring presents an opportunity to free up local team members and get other people to do less value work (people who enjoy doing the job)
  • Local team will have more time to focus on the right type of work
  • Majority of firms today are too focused on compliance work. They are busy being busy.
  • Many firms are not set up to deliver services that can make the most difference to their clients because they are not doing advisory work.
  • Numerous firms do not have the time; they don’t have time for themselves and for their clients.
  • Eighty percent of revenue for an accounting firm is from tax compliance and audit work.

 

So What Do We Aim To Do?

We are here to help you change the lives of your clients. By utilising Rob’s knowledge and experience, you can start implementing new practices to your firm so you can have more time and add more value to clients.

Are You Delivering Value To Your Clients?

Firms that are truly adding value to clients are those that are willing to invest in everything they need to achieve their goals. These are firms that take the time to identify their client’s objectives and match them with the right services.

The accounting profession is bogged down in historical services (87%) which include tax compliance and audit. This is not what clients really want.

We previously ran a poll and asked firms what tasks consume their time. Here’s what we found:

Offshoring Challenges for firms

 

Insights From Business Owners

Years ago, Rob was able to interview 1,077 business owners on behalf of 126 accounting firms in a boardroom type setting where partners were also present. He discovered that:

  • Clients don’t know what they don’t know
  • Accountants are not systematically visiting their clients
  • Accountants are not helping clients find out what they need

 

Since they’re bogged down with compliance, accountants (and partners) are unable to really service their clients.

Is Compliance Really Dead?

To set things straight, compliance is not dead. It will, however, change. Technology, in particular, has dramatically changed compliance.

Compliance is not going away but it’s going to be different.

 

Do you want to know how your firm can make the most out of technology? Watch this video.

Learn how outsourcing benefits from cloud technology in this video.

 

What Successful Firms Are Doing

Firms that are doing well are those that sort out the workflow, client mix, technology, pricing, work-in-progress, deliverables, and day-to-day work. They are also looking for ways to build capacity through various means: offshoring, different systems, and people.

It’s important to note that these are firms that DO NOT hire more accountants locally.

The next step would be top-of-the-line revenue, grow the number of clients, the average fee per client, and the number of services.

Working In Vs. Working On

A phrase coined by author Michael Gerber in the book “The E-Myth” said that “businesses need to spend more time working on the business than in the business.”

What Does This Mean And How Does This Impact Accounting Firms?

Working in means doing what the business does while working on means working out things that will help grow the business.

Firms that are stuck in doing or working in are those whose accountants are very busy doing the compliance stuff. They spend most of their time on historical services, auditing, filing and lodging, and catching up on compliance work. These firms are time-strapped and, as a result, don’t get to work on actually growing the business.

They are, to put it simply, don’t spend their time wisely.

What Should Accountants Be Doing With Their Time?

Rob relayed a story that serves as a good example of how one should spend time. In an interview he was listening to, he learned how one executive was able to do more than she was actually doing by doing the following:

  • Keep a log of all tasks done in the day
  • Do it for one month and then stop when it starts repeating itself
  • Go back to the logs and find the highest dollar-productive activity during the past 30 days
  • Look for the second, then the third highest dollar-productive task
  • Focus on those three things

 

The executive was able to focus on growing the business and doubled her income.

The important takeaway in this story is: identify the best yield of your time. Do more of tasks that allow you to develop the business. Always remember what the best use of your time is. Always ask: what is the highest dollar-productive activity?

 

Need more tips on how you can get the most out of your time? Check out these reads:

Accounting Tips To Effectively Manage Your Time

Double Profits By Taking Charge Of Your Time

Improve Productivity: Are You Wasting Your Time?

Time Is A Big Excuse

 

It’s not that I don’t have enough time. It’s what I’m doing with my time. What are you actually doing?”

Rob Nixon, Mentor to Million Dollar Accountants

 

We all have the same hours in a day. The issue is in how people use their time. Saying “I don’t have time” is not an excuse to not touch base with your clients. It is important to push yourselves to get the most out of the time given to you.

Important takeaway: never use the excuse of not having the time.

What’s Holding You Back From Growing?

Complacency is what’s keeping most firms from growing. The accounting profession is profitable in itself. In fact, in some places, like the United States, it’s the most profitable business.

So How Has Complacency Kept Many Firms From Becoming Successful?

Many have remained reactive. They are content with what they are currently making, which is enough to give them a comfortable life. And since most accountants are too busy as it is, there’s no reason to add more tasks and become even more busy since they are already earning good money.

It affects the psychology of the person. There’s no reason to become more productive because they are already enjoying the good, comfortable life.

When it comes to growing your firm, having the right mindset is very important. When you are in the right mindset and have the right attitude, the rest will follow: tactics and strategies to double revenue, etc.

It all starts inside your head.

Motivation is crucial in building a business that actually helps clients make history, a business that can change their lives.

It starts with having that deep burning desire to succeed.

Starting Your Own Accounting Business

The world has changed. Starting a business doesn’t have to be as tedious as before. Thanks to technology, it’s easy to run your own firm even with limited resources. You only need a few things.

You can literally start your own business with just one laptop, a phone, and a couple of thousand dollars.

Getting clients also is easier, thanks to technology. Firms can look for clients in social media. That doesn’t cost money. You only need a few thousand dollars to get your own firm up and running. You don’t need to rent an office. You can do work inside a cafe or at home.

You can even set up a team for a very affordable cost through offshoring.

Do You Have A Global Offshore Team?

We ran a poll during the webinar and asked whether or not they already have offshore teams setup.

50% said they already have an offshore team while 21% said they still need to know more about offshoring. 13% said they have decided to do it but haven’t implemented anything yet. Interestingly, 10% of the respondents said they are against the idea.

Skepticism for offshoring is not uncommon especially for firms who are scared of losing jobs to people from a different location. But what you need to know is, offshoring, as a business opportunity, will not redundiate the local team. It will, in fact, free up their time, allowing them to focus on more client-facing tasks—those that can add value to clients. 

 

Subscribe to The Ledger to discover more valuable accounting business insights.

Check out our podcast at The Outsourced Accountant to learn the strategies and how-to methodologies to becoming a high-performing firm that delivers results.

 


Looking to scale your business by getting the right people to do specific roles? Call our global offshoring specialists at 1300 896 522 or click here to download our blueprint on how to build a global accounting team.


Overcoming One Major Obstacle To Accounting Firm Growth

obstacle accounting firm growth
4-minute read   Picture this. You are sitting on a beach with powdery white sand and sparkling blue waters. You have a cold beverage in one hand while watching the sunset on the horizon. Wouldn’t that be the dream lifestyle? If only your accounting firm had all aspects of business in order then this situation ... Read more

Growing Accounting Businesses By Growing Relationships

12-minute read   Growth should be on every accounting business owner’s high-priority to-do list. Generally speaking, profitability is the yardstick by which successful businesses are measured. But how does one get there? While focusing on the numbers might be the obvious thing to do. Every single accounting firm’s success has one crucial element. It’s people. ... Read more

Grow Your Arsenal With These Accounting Technologies

Accounting Technology Your Firm Should Use
4-minute read   By this time you should already be familiar with the different accounting technologies you need to be using. Technology is a vital ingredient in an accountant’s job. Without it, it would be difficult to achieve compliance and getting everything done accurately, quickly and conveniently may not be possible. A Huge Enabler For ... Read more
FREE 1-ON-1 CONSULTATION