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A Four Day Week For The ‘Why?’ Guys

Connected Accountants do in four days what most practices do in a week, with the help of their global team.

ACCOUNTANT Connected Accountants

COUNTRY New Zealand

Connect-Accountants-Logo-Horizontial_800x180aA growth mindset, backed by smart systems and a dedicated Filipino team, means smarter operations for Connected Accountants

Connected Accountants have always been interested in how they can work smarter, not harder. As they put it,‘We like knowing why things work the way they work and whether there is a better way of doing things. We like to be the "why?" guys’.

They don’t just take that approach for their clients but for their own firm, based in Whanganui a Tara, Wellington, New Zealand.


‘The only thing I would have done differently is go straight to the Philippines and The Back Room. It’s brilliant.’

Kevin Summerhays – CA, Director, Connected Accountants
Kevin Summeryhays

CA Director, Connected Accountants

They were early adopters of the four day work week. For a time-is-money operation this might seem radical, raising eyebrows from other industry players. But, now in their third year, they continue to see the benefits. Embracing flexibility has not only improved the team’s work/life harmony, it’s helped the firm’s productivity and their ability to attract and retain great local talent. As Kevin Summerhays, CA Director says, ‘It's just about teamwork and prioritisation. You also need good processes and software. Also you need to axe pointless meetings and have an agenda, always.’

A growth mindset, backed by smart systems and a dedicated Filipino team, means smarter operations for Connected Accountants.

They’ve also long been in the cloud and embraced connectivity and team management tools like Karbon and Teams to make communication easier and lighten the admin load. Their focus on better ways of working, combined with their genuine commitment to their values made them an ideal candidate for offshoring. 

Offshoring picked up where outsourcing failed

‘The only thing I would have done differently is go straight to the Philippines and The Back Room. It’s brilliant.’

Feeling the pinch in 2019, with a rapidly growing workload outpacing capacity, Connected Accountants knew they needed to try something new. Unfortunately, Connected Accountants had to go through some pain initially when they first experimented with outsourcing project based work through a third party. They were asking the right questions about how they could shift up a gear in their operations but getting all the wrong answers from this model. Kevin puts it down to a lack of ‘continuity… and communication issues’. Not knowing who was doing the work, no direct engagement, and with a lot of personnel changes at the offshore business, the quality of work dropped and the subsequent re-work by Connected’s team to fix issues meant they were ultimately less efficient. But they didn’t give up.

After meeting Wayne and Scott Findlay at a few events, and after a number of discussions about offshoring (long term, offshore team building) as a better way to bring about long term changes for their business, Kevin and the other partners were ready to try a new tack. The Back Room matched them with Cassy to help on tax prep work in 2021, and they’ve never looked back. Soon they hired Darren to join Cassy and another hire is on track for the end of the year.


"...It’s a very good working environment, the training is great, and our client is also cool and friendly! It’s the perfect balance for me with work and life."

Cassy Pineda

Intermediate Accountant, Connected Accountants

Shared values and genuine care for their people made all the difference

One of the biggest questions Kevin had about offshoring was the working conditions. His mind was put to rest when he discovered the investment The Back Room puts into building culture, with plenty of fun events, offsites and training, as well a real commitment to work-life balance for the Filipino teams. Like Connected Accountants, Kevin wanted reassurance The Back Room also embodies their values in how they treat their people. And in this case, Cassy and Darren also enjoy benefits from Connected Accountants four day week - in stark contrast to a typical 6-day work week in the Philippines. They also really value the open channels of communication with Connected, and the clear feedback and support from the NZ team.

"...I never get bored since work challenges me but I also get enough support that I feel comfortable doing the job that I do…we have great teamwork..."

darren canono
Darren Canono

Connected Accountants

Great training kick starts a great relationship

Jaimi McNeilly CA, Senior Manager, says a lot of their success with offshoring can be attributed to the leave-no-stone-unturned training and onboarding process that The Back Room has developed, ‘It's just everything that you could think that you need to teach somebody to work as an accountant’. Kevin admits his new hires in the local team could benefit from the kind of structured training their Filipino team goes through with The Back Room.

When asked about cultural differences Jaimi and Kevin wanted to impress how lovely their Filipino staff are, as well as fluent and talented. They said it’s been a bit of learning on both sides. Cassy and Darren were invited to be a little less formal in their communication (dropping Sir and Ma’am) in keeping with NZ business culture norms, and the Connected Accounting team has learned more about the local holidays and cultural life of the Philippines team members along the way.

Kevin and Jaimi also highlight how important it is to spend a little time getting to know your offshore team, setting up consistent working processes and open and regular communication. Jaimi acts as their champion within Connected Accountants - a key practice for a successful partnership. To further cement the relationship they flew Cassy and Darren to join them at Xerocon 2023 in Sydney and had a brilliant time.

"It's just everything that you could think that you need to teach somebody to work as an accountant"

jaimi mcneilly (1)
Jaimi McNeilly

CA, Senior Manager

‘It’s more than just a remote team, it’s opening new doors for the business’

Kevin loves how it’s helping the team on the ground, it's helping the team here to do their job more efficiently.’ And, aside from this obvious time and cost saving benefits, it’s opening up Connected Accountants’ options about where they take the practice in the future. Watch this space.

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