Stop Crushing Your Team And Start Delighting Your Customers

7-minute read

For close to 12 years, Nick Sinclair, Chairman of The Outsourced Accountant, struggled in trying to run his accounting, bookkeeping, and financial planning firm. Hours were spent each day replying to emails, taking calls, managing calendars, and other admin tasks. They were slowly losing revenue because of the cumulative effect of them doing non-core tasks each day. With little to no time focus on revenue-generating tasks, workload piled up, and Nick and his team struggled to keep up. But Nick implemented the right tools and strategies and got his team out of the weeds. Here is our Chairman’s key insights on productivity and people strategy.

How Is Your Workflow Really Going?

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Take a step back and ask yourself this question: “How is your workflow really going?” If you feel like you don’t get enough work done, don’t worry. You are not walking this path alone. It is a fact that a vast majority of accounting firms the world over are buried in workflow.

Missed deadlines, outdated lodgments, incomplete paperwork, and what have you are common occurrences. One can think of many factors that you can attribute to these to but do you know the real reason why?

The wrong people are doing the wrong type of work. Many partners and managers do work that can be done by other people. Keep reading as we will elaborate which types of work we are referring to. The point here is spending a significant amount of time doing work that are not ‘dollar-productive’ means you are doing your accounting firm a disservice.

The best firms – meaning those who peak productivity to hit and even exceed profit margins – they fine tune their processes. This is to ensure that everything gets done on time and with the quality one expects from highly paid professionals.

Limiting Factors Crushing Productivity…And Your Team!

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Did you know that accountants, accounting firm owners, partners, and managers spend 1 to 2 hours per day doing non-revenue-generating tasks? That is 400 hours billable hours per individual per year! These are admin tasks that have become limiting factors crushing productivity and, in the process, your team. They include:

  • Emails
  • Meetings
  • Calendar Management
  • Reporting
  • Client Issues

 

In poll taken during this webinar, 67% of attendees say that emails are the number one blockers that limit their productivity. While one might think that this is an isolated result, the truth of the matter is that emails have become one of the major hindrances to productivity.

Majority of the time partners and managers sit in front of the computer screen when they should be sitting in front of clients. Nick can attest to this while he was running his firm as he used to receive anywhere from 300 to 450 emails per day. Can you imagine that? If you’re a rainmaker, your work should be talking to clients, right? Then, why are you sitting in front of your computer?

Coming second and third in our poll were meetings and client issues respectively. It is a given that you should have internal meetings to align your team. But if they eat a large chunk of your day, then nothing gets done. Team meetings should be short and concise. The less time you spend in them, the better.

When it comes to client issues, accountants, owners, partners and managers shouldn’t deal with them directly. Someone in a specialized role can deal with them better so you can be more productive. Watch the webinar above to learn what this role is.

People Strategy: The Impact of (Not) Getting It Right

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Again, it comes down to the people factor of the success equation. It’s has become all too common for accounting firms to not have a people strategy. Ask yourself: When you last sat down to map out your firm’s objectives for a financial year, did you work out how may staff you need to achieve those objectives?

Most firms think they are under-resourced because they can’t find or keep the right staff. But, we typically see that most firms are over-resourced – they just have the wrong people doing the wrong work.

Having the right people strategy is critical to achieving your growth strategy. The crucial elements to an effective people strategy are:

  • Attracting, keeping, and growing the right people in the right roles
  • Having the right technology so they can fulfill their roles effectively
  • Implementing the right processes so they can do their work more efficiently

 

If just one of these three key elements is missing, you will have effectively doomed your firm to fail.

Conclusion

This is Nick Sinclair’s view specifically on productivity and people strategy. There are loads more insights you can learn when you watch the webinar. You will discover how the effect on customers and the referrals they send your way when you are too busy doing non-core tasks each day. Learn, if you haven’t already, about ‘The Urgent Versus Important Matrix’ that will help your daily time management. See our recommendations for apps that can help streamline your workflow as well as the four roles that will make a massive difference in increasing your productivity.

But one critical point to remember though. When we say, the right people, we mean A-players – those with the requisite skills, work ethic, and attitude that will help drive your firm towards sustainable growth. This is what we do best. We provide more than 300 accounting firms around the world with over 1,000 specialist accountants, bookkeepers, and financial analysts as well as marketing, sales, finance, and administration support staff that deliver the results our clients want.

Let us show you how we can help you build a championship team of A-players. You can schedule a FREE consultation with one of our global team specialists.

BOOK MY FREE CONSULTATION

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Client Spotlight: How Offshoring Helps RWK Accountancy Grow Their Clients’ Businesses

In this edition of our Client Spotlight, Director Robert Koch of RWK Accountancy discusses the struggles they initially faced and how offshoring eventually helped them steer their firm in the right direction.

Small businesses face several challenges that can hinder success. Unless business owners find a more efficient way to deal with day-to-day operations, it might take a lot of time before they experience growth.

A survey conducted by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland discovered the many challenges small businesses face. These include productivity and processes. Small businesses need to get the most out of every minute and every resource spent. They need to be productive to ensure profitability. Another essential issue business owners need to address is streamlining processes to ensure they are spending the right amount of time and energy on things that will actually contribute to their growth.

One simple way to address this is outsourcing.

That’s exactly what RWK Accountancy did to help their small business clients achieve the growth they need. Based in Western Australia, RWK Accountancy mostly deals with small businesses. The company doesn’t have a niche client and is focused on helping clients grow and improve their business.

What is RWK Accountancy?

RWK Accountancy has two offices in Western Australia. Most of what they do is book keeping. Robert believes that everything stems from efficient bookkeeping. If done properly, everything that follows will become simple.

They recognise the need to scale up this part of the business but they were unable to find the suitable people to fill in this gap in Australia. The Outsourced Accountant was able to connect them with the perfect people and it has been a great experience for the company so far.

 

client spotlight - robert koch

Integral part of the company

It’s crucial in any organisation to have a highly engaged team because that is synonymous to a highly productive team. RWK Accountancy has only been with TOA for less than a year but the staff they have now already plays an integral role in the firm.

 

“We started probably about 15 months ago and actually stopped at one point because we didn’t have robust enough processes. We started back again about six months ago and put on two people over in the Philippines and they seem to be working really well for us.”

 

While there wasn’t much doubts with outsourcing, the company initially encountered missteps because they didn’t have enough robust processes to train their staff and get them to accomplish the required tasks, so they had to stop. Eventually, they decided to give it another try and hired two people from the Philippines.  

Even though they’ve only been with TOA for less than a year, the company is delighted with the performance of the team. According to Robert, they are very engaged. And while they haven’t been used to their full potential just yet, the firm is confident that the team can and will perform extremely well.

Ready and hopeful for improvement

Communication is an integral factor in establishing a good working relationship in any organization, which is why the company makes sure to conduct Skype meetings to touch base or greet someone a happy birthday. According to Robert, this is something they will continue working on to ensure every team member has a clear understanding of their expectations in terms of the roles they play.

While it’s a little bit difficult, he believes it’s all good, especially since they’re still in the early stages. And as the company continues to grow over the last 18 months, the outsourcing team, which takes care of the most important element: bookkeeping, continuously does a tremendous job in providing consistent results that will benefit the company in the future.

 

As we bring on more and more clients we’ll put more and more people on. These girls will be able to train them up the way that we want the staff to be working in the future.”

 


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.


Client Spotlight: How Offshoring Pushes Sky Accountants To Rapid Growth

Looking to be scalable, to get leverage and eventually build a business that can run without the owner, Sky Accountants was one of the first firms to give outsourcing a try and later on embrace it because of its great benefits and the opportunities it brings.

Key takeaways from this interview:

  • What made Jamie decide to outsource dedicated staff
  • The performance of his offshore team, and his future plans for them
  • The benefits that Sky Accountants has gained for investing in training
  • What were Jamie’s fears and doubts when starting to outsource
  • What Jamie has realised when he started to build an offshore team in the Philippines
  • How has The Outsourced Accountant (TOA) helped Sky Accountants through outsourcing
  • The benefits that Sky Accountants gained through outsourcing
  • Jamie’s advice to accounting business owners

 

It’s always been a positive experience, an affirmation of our business’ vision and values when we connect with our clients and learn about their outsourcing journey and successes, which for us is reflective of our own success as well.

Today, the spotlight is on Jamie Johns of Sky Accountants, one of the first firms in our clientele list to embrace outsourcing. Jamie provides us with some valuable insights into his outsourcing journey, his doubts when he started outsourcing, and some pro tips for business owners who are looking to grow their firm. These and more below in our excerpts from our interview with him.

Meet Jamie Johns, CEO of Sky Accountants

Jamie, an entrepreneur at heart, started ‘Sky Accountants’ from his home office. He specialises in helping business owners ‘build a business that can run without them‘. Sky Accountants deliver on this promise to guide individuals and businesses to success via the most efficient processes and proactive business partnerships.

Jamie has five full-time dedicated outsourcing staff in Clark, Philippines. Donita and Jacqueline are accountants, Kimberly and Jesille are bookkeepers, and Adrian is a marketing specialist. As the business grows, Jamie is looking to expand his offshore team at TOA next year with another three or four.

In the early stage of his outsourcing journey, Jamie needs to train his offshore team with Australian Tax, computer systems etc. Creating a domino effect where training one person can help train other people to do the things that are needed to do. The process becomes a lot easier as they go further and eventually their persistence on training paid off. “If you stick to it and have persistence, you’ll get the rewards,” says Jamie.

But, how did it all start?

Sky Accountants And Their Outsourcing Journey

To be scalable and to get leverage, these are Jamie’s main reason to outsource. In a global economy where borders don’t necessarily matter anymore, Sky Accountants is one of the first firms to embrace the opportunities that other countries could bring through technology. They are quick and smart to recognise that outsourcing is a natural part of it.

 

“Any successful business owner has to realise that the world is smaller and border don’t necessarily matter anymore. It’s important to embrace the opportunities that you’ve got with other countries and come together and do your best.

Jamie Johns

 

Like everyone else, Jamie had his own sets of doubts and challenges when he started outsourcing.This includes communication, quality of work, speed, turnaround time, and other common fears in a business. But once they started operating and adding staff to the team, it just got easier especially with the use of the right technology. Sky Accountants learned to overcome these fears in the process.

 

Offshoring challenges

 

Now on his third year with TOA, Jamie couldn’t be happier with his offshore team and their valuable contribution to Sky Accountants. When talking about his offshore team in the Philippines, Jamie is keen to answer “They’re all totally enthusiastic. They’re always great to deal with, and very positive. Their productivity is great and I couldn’t speak more highly of them.”

With the business growing, the longer that they work with their staff and the more they train them, the smarter and more efficient they become. It’s a win-win for both Jamie and his offshore team and their clients for providing the best accounting services.

How has TOA helped Sky Accountants

Jamie specifically highlighted three of the main benefits Sky Accountants has gained through outsourcing with the help of The Outsourced Accountant, “The team that Nick has put around himself both here and in Australia is excellent and they’re always open to feedback and improving their business. They’re always approachable and you always get timely responses.”

According to Jamie, having a team offshore is like having a team locally. You implement the same process, you treat them as part of the team and you unite the business and paint the future where you want to take it like with any other team members. That’s how he treats and values his team offshore. “They’re all part of a larger strategy to grow our business and it’s a global economy,” he added.

 

TOA helping businesses

 

If you’re an accountant, a business owner, or an adviser who is considering to invest in this space to achieve business efficiency, profit, and growth, here’s Jamie’s advice for you:

 

“When you start doing outsourcing, it’s important to get your structures and processes right. You need to systemise your business, you can have how-to videos and all sort of things but the biggest aspect in making it structured and all the workflow process.

Jamie Johns

 

This is just one of many client success stories at The Outsourced Accountant, where we pride ourselves on establishing a strong working relationship with our clients as a key method of delivering outstanding results each and every time.

 

Watch his full client testimonial video above.

 


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


Secrets Of Their Success

A webinar with:

Jamie Johns | CEO Sky Accountants
Accounting Business of the Year Awardee

Michael Risoli | Business Manager MKS Group
Service Excellence in an Accounting Business Awardee


Hosted by The Outsourced Accountant CEO, Nick Sinclair, we find out what it takes to be not only a winner at the Panalitix Annual Achievement Awards 2017 but also as innovators in the accounting and finance industry. Hard work, smarts, adaptability to the times are what stood out from these two firms. Below are excerpts from the Q and A part of our webinar.

How have you found the quality of staff to be like with offshoring?

Jamie: TOA provides a really good screening process so you’d always hire suitable candidates with the qualifications that you require. Some of the staff would really come with high-end skills. For example, we needed someone in payroll and you wanted to find someone with international experience. The quality hasn’t been an issue for us.

TOA provides a range of applicants to interview and then you can take them through some of your own tests. So we do a sort of matrix on every person and then decide. And then the rest will be up to the leadership of the business to take those people in, train them, make them feel part of the team, part of the culture. That hasn’t been a problem.

 

How have your clients found the fact that you are outsourcing?

Jamie: We’re upfront with clients. We don’t make it a massive issue and sort of push it in everyone’s face. At the same time, we don’t hide it. We just treat it exactly the same as you would hire someone locally. If people ask, we tell them. We introduce the offshore staff to clients. You really have to make your business strategy part of your plans. You’re really putting a stake in the sand and say “this is what I stand for”.

For whatever reason, if you (clients) don’t like it perhaps Sky Accountants is not for you. But that’s the decision that we’d let the client make. In saying that, we’ve never had it as an issue.

 

Can you tell us more about ‘compliance work dying’? What’s your take on this?

Jamie: Compliance is as relevant as it’s ever been. If you look at selling your business, or for those who are out there looking to buy businesses, you cannot buy businesses based on your current income. So all these rubbish about compliance dying or going away, it’s just rubbish because at the end of the day, people buy and sell businesses. They buy and sell based on a new income.

What are tax returns? They are annuity income. What’s bookkeeping? And that’s annuity income. And the three things about that tug of work is it’s teachable, it’s repeatable, and it’s scalable. So it’s as relevant as ever and it will never go away.

Michael: I’ve heard that many times, in some cases, in some areas where you have a simple tax return, maybe that’s what you start to lose steam as regulation changes. But we only have to look at the changes to superannuation and that just sort of makes the complexity of compliance that much harder from a superannuation point of view. I don’t see it dying and I haven’t actually experienced a reduction in compliance in the last probably 5 years, didn’t probably even hear that kind of talk. It’s really been upwards and onwards.

As structures become more complex, compliance grows with it. I don’t see it dying right now.

 

With setting up your offshore team, have you had to go over to the Philippines? How often? What’s your strategy in making your offshore team part of your global team?

Michael: We definitely see a lot of value in going over to the Philippines. Currently, every quarter we go over there. But in between that, there’s daily interaction with the team on everything,  from learning and coaching point of view to instruction point of view.

Definitely, every time we have gone over, we see an uplift in the understanding (of the work and culture) and the effort. We’re actually looking at what Jamie has done and bringing some of them here on a rotational basis.

Jamie: You need to speak with them every day on either TeamViewer or Skype for Business, or with whatever platform you’re using. I went there to the Philippines in December last year, for the first time in over two years since we’ve been working with TOA.

In that time, we’ve had two accountants come to Australia for training. So we have our in-house policy now on bringing someone here for training. On the flipside, we will have someone going there every six months from the team. So both ways.

 

If you were to walk in your shoes again and you were to start your practice as a clean slate tomorrow, what would you do differently?

Jamie: That’s an easy one, Nick. I’d get a mentor.

Michael: I’d get a piece of paper and design what I think the firm should look like, how the business is going to run and how I see myself in it rather than getting stuck into a default mode and end up sort of having to reverse engineer it.

 

How often do you spend time with your offshore team?

Jamie: We speak to them every day via TeamViewer or Skype for Business whatever the platform is. I went there to the Philippines in December last year for the first time. In that time we’ve had two accountants come to Australia for training, so we’ve got our in-house policy now that when someone’s out here with us try to bring them out here for training and on the flip side we will have someone going there like every six months from the team, both ways.

Michael: We do daily interaction with the team, from a learning and coaching point of view to instruction point of view. It’s like having a team member here locally. You have to invest in them. For us, it was a no-brainer to go overseas and to actually work with them and sit with them and see what the environment they work in and also understand how information from our end is coming in and how we can improve that for their benefit as well.

 

Our full blog coming next with insights on the following:

  1. Their biggest success factors as accounting firms
  2. Their biggest challenges and how they overcame them
  3. Outsourcing – how it helped them achieve success

Would you like to have a quick chat with our local industry experts who have helped Jamie Johns
(Sky Accountants) and Michael Risoli (MKS Group) in their offshoring journey?  

Click here.


Here’s What To Expect at Panalitix Roadshow 2017

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Panalitix has been traveling the world for a global seminar. They’ve been to countries and key cities in the US, UK, and Australia and these includes London, Birmingham, Manchester, Ireland, Arizona, Texas, Philadelphia, New York, New South Wales and Queensland. This June, join Panalitix at The Perfect Firm roadshow in key cities nationwide -- Melbourne, ... Read more
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