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The path to offshoring made easy with the right guide

How The Back Room smoothed the road for Windes to build their new Philippines team.

ACCOUNTANT Windes Accounting

COUNTRY United States

windes-logoWindes Accounting, a growing California based firm, took a bold step to faster growth in 2023 by joining up with The Back Room to help build their offshore team in the Philippines. They’ve made a significant shift in how they manage their operations and embraced the benefits of offshoring (vs outsourcing - which you can read all about in our Guide to Offshoring).

The Back Room sat down to find out about their experience at the one year mark with Holly McNeil, Senior Tax Manager, and Guy Nicio, Partner-in-Charge, Tax. Having just recently spent some face to face time, for the first time, with their Filipino team at The Back Room offices, they had a lot to share.

"[The Back Room] is the total package. It starts with leadership, then there’s the infrastructure, the environment, the security. It’s a turn-key solution. We’re well supported and have a great line of communication."

Guy-Nicio-Windes-300x300px
Guy Nicio

Partner-in-Charge, Tax, Windes

They were clear, this wasn't just a business trip; it was a genuine cultural exchange and bonding experience that bolstered the relationship across borders. Windes' commitment to building long standing relationships with their remote team is a vital ingredient in their success so far. As Holly said, ‘We see [the Phillipines team] as our own staff, we want to get to know the people and what makes them tick and help them be happier employees.’

A decisive dive into offshoring

The decision to offshore wasn't taken lightly. Windes was on the lookout for ways to streamline their operations and tap further into global talent, aiming to boost their firm’s efficiency without compromising the quality of their work. They had some success with outsourcing in India but wanted to reduce risk by spreading across geographies and explore a different operating model than straight outsourcing. The reputation of The Back Room preceded them, with endorsement from other successful U.S. accounting firms, so Windes felt confident they could provide the support they needed. Plus Filipinos have a reputation for being hardworking, skilled, with exceptional English language talents, and incredibly welcoming - making them an ideal country to explore. They started with a team of 10, increasing another 50% in 12 months and will only grow from here. As Guy says, ‘we feel very positive with the experience so far.’

"We see [the Philippines team] as our own staff, we want to get to know the people and what makes them tick and help them be happier employees."

Holly McNeil, Senior Tax Manager, Windes
Holly McNeil

Senior Tax Manager, Windes

Some wins and lessons from the first year

This partnership has been a game-changer for Windes. Like many accounting firms in the United States they were facing serious headwinds with rising labor costs and the ongoing national shortage of trained Accountants in a highly competitive market. They knew they needed a different strategy and that it wouldn’t be an overnight solution. Windes did their homework going in and, with the guidance of the Back Room, have found this model is starting to solve their talent and cost challenges.

They caution any firms considering offshoring to set their expectations to the right level, ‘it’s not a quick fix’ said Holly. ‘It takes time and investment to train your team, but that’s true of any Accounting graduates,’ agreed Guy. Over the last 12 months they’ve spent time honing their communication, processes and work distribution, and feel they’ve made giant strides. Plus, another upside they’ve found is the positive culture of the team. ‘[The team are] so loyal and enthusiastic…in all their communications! You can really feel the team spirit,’ Holly shared.

"[The team are] so loyal and enthusiastic…in all their communications! You can really feel the team spirit..."

Holly McNeil, Senior Tax Manager, Windes
Holly McNeil

Senior Tax Manager, Windes

The enthusiasm shines through when you ask their Filipino team about their experience, ‘Windes is so kind to us, they are so understanding with our capabilities, and they do put a lot of trust in our team as well.’ says Kathleene Mae Pagarigan, US Tax Associate.

Maria Mhay Sombillo, Junior US Tax Associate also shared, ‘My favorite part about working with TBR and Windes is the continuous learning that I experience every day on the job…I am grateful for the open-mindedness of my colleagues, who are always willing to teach and learn from each other, which has contributed significantly to my professional growth.’ says . She added, ‘It's great to be a part of an organization that values growth and development’.

Skyscraper-high plans from a strong foundation

Skyscraper-high plans from a strong foundation

The initial visit to the Philippines was just the beginning. Windes understands the importance of nurturing the relationship, with plans to grow the teams, both on and offshore, and continue to improve their cultural alignment and working processes.

The experience has been an enriching one for everyone involved, blending business shifts with deeper cultural understanding. As Windes looks to the future, they're not just focusing on the operational benefits but also on the growth and development opportunities this partnership can offer for both their local and their offshore teams.

The Certification Body of BARR Certifications LLC, certifies that The Back Room Ltd. operates an information security management system (ISMS) that conforms to the requirements stated In the standard:  1S0/IEC 27001:2013