Greg Millar of Alliott Chartered Accountants in Auckland had known Wayne Findlay for a number of years before becoming one of The Back Room’s very first clients, three years ago. Since then, the partnership has gone from strength to strength and Alliott now have a solid team based at The Back Room’s Clark office in The Philippines.

Greg Millar explains the process.

The set up process

The process of signing up with The Back Room, to having staff trained and working for Alliott, happened in a matter of weeks.

The most challenging thing, says Greg, was choosing the right candidates and then training them in the relevant systems, at a sophisticated level, for example, using Xero and learning New Zealand’s tax rules. However, because this process was facilitated by The Back Room’s training and on-boarding systems, and with other members of the team helping coach the new hires, everything fell into place efficiently.

The Philippines team

Alliott now have seven people in the Philippines who are managed by their Auckland-based Filipino team member, Gwen. Gwen is able to bridge the gap between helping with any training and communication issues. She’s on Skype with the off-shore team every day and they make use of technology like Slack to stay in constant contact.

One of Alliott’s clients, a large medical facility, recently lost their bookkeeper so they’ve been able to use their Philippines team to fill in.

“We’re lucky to have a solid team in The Philippines, we’re confident in their abilities. Some of our team, like Pearl and Rose, are The Back Room’s longest serving staff members. One of them, Hannah, won employee of the year. They’re a happy, social bunch.”

Humanising accounting

Having the off-shore team for compliance and prepping frees up their local accountants to do more client-facing work. Greg recognises that their role is shifting from being traditional accountants to being business advisors. And also that they are evolving into salespeople and specialists in other areas, like Xero integrated apps.

“Outsourcing is helping us to position ourselves as business advisors rather than number crunchers. And if we ever run out of accounting work we’ll upskill ourselves in other areas like helping businesses with business apps.”

Off-shoring vs outsourcing

Alliott tried other types of outsourcing companies. One of the companies was based in India and Alliott employed people on a task-by-task basis but it didn’t have the advantages that The Back Room’s BPO model offers.

 “We don’t think of it as outsourcing. We think of it as off-shoring. The difference is we have our own dedicated staff who are part of our team, following our own culture and practices.”

Final word

“It’s been a great experience. We’re more than happy with the way it’s worked and we’ve recommended The Back Room to a number of people.”

“We’re happy to tell clients we have a team in the Philippines. People understand the benefits. The clothes you wear and the furnishing in your house are most likely outsourced from overseas, so why not accounting?”