In this episode of the BKOT podcast, Chris has discussed with Omolara McCloud about remote working and the future of work.
#BKOT 48: BUILD A KICKASS OFFSHORE TEAM
WORK FROM ANYWHERE - THE FUTURE OF WORK
Hosted by: Chris Rivera, Director Client relations, Entigrity Offshore Staffing
Guest: Omolara McCloud, Virtual Sr. Accountant, CFO Hub
Chris: Alright! Hello everybody, welcome back today we are talking about remote working. So we have our special guest with us today Omolara Mccloud and we're going to discuss everything there is to know about “Work from Anywhere” - the Future of Work. So thanks for joining us Omolara please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Omolara: Well thank you first of all for pronouncing my name correctly that you did a very good job. I actually am a digital nomad who resides in Mexico right now. So I am living the digital nomad dream. I actually had been residing in Mexico before for three years before I started working remotely like I do now, so I am well acclimated to the culture I actually speak Spanish. I am almost fluent now so for me living abroad is probably a lot more easier than you know a lot of digital moments.
Although I have a lot of friends that live abroad and they don't speak any kind of Spanish, so it's not that hard if you don't want to learn but yeah so I am living a dream right now, I love being able to work remotely. I actually fell in love with working remotely and living abroad about I want to say seven years ago where it was a big movement and there was a lot of digital marketers hippie guys on Youtube like oh if you can if you work remotely you can travel the world and live anywhere and it turns out it's more marketing than anything because I actually recently found out during my latest job search that most of the remote jobs require you to live in the U.S. anyway.
So unless you start your own business you're pretty much even as a remote worker kind of stuck in the U.S. So right now I am seeing that change thank god you know because Mexico is getting to the point where it's so many Americans moving to Mexico right now that you can't even get an appointment anymore like I just I lucked out but I am a part of a lot of different facebook groups where they talk about relocation and stuff like that and they just sent the notice like they're not making any appointments right now because they're so slammed with visa applications. So with this trend I definitely see there's going to be a lot more companies that allow people to live in different countries instead of being stuck in the U.S. so that's what I am here to talk about today.
Chris: Yeah! I love it I am actually very excited I have done I don't know a few dozen of these and remote work is near and dear to my heart because it's exactly the reason why I applied for the job I am in now. And it's and to start off with that I mean it's a mindset right it's not for everybody but remote work is nothing new, I mean once the internet started remote work started we're talking a few decades ago. So why do you think the accounting industry it deems it as like this new concept new idea.
Omolara: I think it might be because accounting is just like so behind in everything and it's so funny because I was listening to the cloud accounting podcast a couple weeks ago and they were talking about the shortage that the accounting firms are having especially the public accounting firms and so I was like oh a shortage of okay and then they're going to let me live in Mexico. If there's a shortage and they're willing to give this benefit that the other companies are not willing to give and so I reached out to a prominent recruiter in the public accounting space and I was like okay so they have a shortage now are they gonna let me live abroad and he was like nope. He's like yep they're desperate but they're not that desperate so I think with accounting there's just a lot of red tape like a lot of old concerted conservative thoughts that you kind of have to get you have to battle for them to make any changes and I think that's a big problem in our industry.
Chris: I agree! I remember when I started this job five years ago, I literally had to spend or at least allocate the first 10 minutes of a client call and helping them set up zoom and helping them get online and helping them to just it with technology and it was bizarre and now folks have virtual backgrounds and they're excited they're sharing video screen I mean it adopted quickly right, but when and I and you're right in the in the fact that it's a mindset into where the it's archaic thinking because this is not a new concept whatsoever.
Now when folks bring up you know team camaraderie and office culture you lose that right. So share your thoughts on that and how you've been able to overcome that in the positions that you're in.
Omolara: Yeah I don't think I have lost it and to be honest like you can probably tell by talking to me that I am a really friendly person. I am very friendly but also I don't like people, I know like an old lady like I can take them just like small short bursts of them and then after that I am like okay time for a nap like so working in the office wasn't the best thing for me like I really became depressed because especially being around accountants all day all they do is complain complain complaining playing it's pretty much oh I hate my life and I am hearing that like every five minutes. So working from home for me is night and day and between slack and being able to zoom my manager whenever I have a question or whatever I feel like I haven't lost the work culture and to be honest I was just thinking about this the other day. I am so happy that I don't have to go to lunch with people so for me I feel like it's the best thing ever but someone that's trying to advance as fast as they can in their career maybe they will need that face-to-face interaction, everyone's different.
Chris: Yeah and I have been on many calls to where I ask the client hey so do you have a remote team or remote workforce in place and yes or no there's always a concern that I am used to in the sayings I am used to just walking down the hall and going over to their office and speaking with them.
And so I say well why can't you do that now look at us we're on the zoom call right it's even quicker than getting up walking out your door going down that hallway. All you got to do is hit utilizing technology whatever you're using teams, slack, blue jean, skype, zoom and the other person's online faster than you can walk down the hall and when I say that's a client they just freeze. They don't understand that rather than walking all the way down there with technology just makes it work and so I agree that if it's a position where you need to be around a team or support a team it could be difficult but no matter what technology makes this work?
Omolara: Yeah and I'd like to say also when you're in the office they don't always walk down the hall sometimes they'll pick up that landline phone and dial your extension which is the same thing they can do now they call me on my cell phone if they really want me to pick up right away.
Chris: Yup, so share your thoughts on firm size. Firm size is irrelevant it could be a firm of five from a 50 or 500. When a team is about to embark on a remote journey if they haven't yet. what are what are some expert tips to get this off the ground with the team?
Omolara: Well I think your tax stack is the most important and to automate everything you can like my firm they automated the onboarding. So we had loan videos that were pre-recorded for the onboarding process so no one had to take me step by step I just watched the videos.
And a lot of our processes as far as clients our client standard operating procedures those are documented through google docs or drop box and then also videos if it's very complicated as well. We use slack a lot so we a sync we're on a sync communication so if my boss needs something she'll just ping me on slack and vice versa if I need something from her I will ping her and then from there we'll establish whether or not we need a zoom call to address the issue but most of it can be handled with just aiming like it was before because even when we were in office most of our communications were through instant messenger.
It was like something really detailed it would be through email but if it was something like hey this blah blah blah this work paper blah blah blah I don't know what to do then that would be instant messenger so it's kind of the same it didn't really change that much.
Chris: Yeah the folks always think that just because they're not in the office that they're not working right and even then if you have there's still technology that you could utilize or you could send an end of the day update or you could track your projects in monday.com or something or even in the google spreadsheet so there's ways around that.
But some of the kickback I hear too which is understandable I mean I am a single guy in New York city so I don't have the whole the kid aspect and so when families right they kind of love the commute they love to get away and just that's their time to relax you know I always hated my commute but I think of it from a different perspective folks wanted to get away they wanted to be in the office for other reasons. So what are your thoughts on the I mean I think first and foremost all firms should have a remote team in place but a hybrid right you can come and go as you please you can come into the office you don't have to be fully remote right?
Omolara: Yeah I definitely and it's funny that you mentioned that because I had a client a couple months ago and she was like yeah I love going to the office because she had kids and I was like I couldn't imagine that but now that you mentioned that I think if I had kids I probably prefer to go.
But yeah so I am single I don't have any kids so for me of course home is my oasis it's just a peaceful like it's just it's so peaceful here so I do like the idea of hybrid as long as they don't force the people that want to work from home to go into the office because in applying to jobs I have seen positions advertised as remote but then they're like go to the office once a week or fly to san francisco once a month like if it's remote what am I flying to san francisco once a month for yeah. So I do agree with hybrid for the employee desire if there's employees that want to work remote and there's employees that want to work for home to accommodate that but as far as productivity I feel like everyone's different for me like I said I am more way more productive at home because I don't have any distractions and so my firm we do time keeping so they know that I am productive but also my clients.
My clients I am like I will respond in like two seconds so they all know that I am when I am there I am there and when I am not there my phone is not getting answered as well so I think there's ways to track it. I am not really keen on the watching your browser the whole time or like looking at your screen I feel like you should be able to trust who you're working who's working for you and I think the work and the product should speak for itself.
Chris: Exactly, yeah and absolutely agree with that and there should be flexibility if your firm's not remote or have not set up for remote you've got to get that done right away and you're absolutely right you got to start with technology build that out there's some pre-work to do to get this off the ground effectively and but when you're, I see that the millennial workforce right. I am an elder millennial so I get I am born in 82 so I understand what it's like not to have internet no cell phones to obviously having it so the as a geriatric millennial according to linkedIn the workforce now I see that in speaking with clients they're saying fresh graduates you know no experience they're making this a demand they want a set amount of money, work remotely only and they're coming into this with a different mindset.
So it's more about and I don't think the accounting industry wasn't prepared it's more the candidates saying what can your fur do for me and it's never been like that. Have you seen or heard about that at all or what are your thoughts on kind of somebody starting new can they do they have to go to the office or can they stay at home?
Omolara: I read that statistically most of the people that work remotely are millennials because to advance in your career and to really learn at least this is what I am hearing theoretically hypothetically you need that face-to-face interaction and since we've been in our field seven to ten years we've already had that we've already put that work in so that's why most of us are able to work remotely because we're experienced professionals and it's very easy and with the great resignation going on right now and there's a talent there's a competition for talent it's the mid-level career people not the fresh grads that that's the competition is high for and so it's us that have more say in how we work and what we want to do but and like I said I did read like even though Gen-Z wants to work remotely it might benefit them to work for work in the office a couple years like two or three years to get that experience on their belt to get that face-to-face mentorship and make those networking connections and then work remotely.
Chris: Yeah! If you've already had the experience and you're seeking to work remotely I agree you should be able to have that but somebody that's fresh yeah you need to kind of develop yourself first it could be a few months or it could be a few years right there's no time frame but I do believe that you got to get into the office person and kind of build your brand almost and get to know the team before you work remotely. But the idea here is that this is going nowhere right, I mean this I mean it's not going anywhere anytime soon so it's going to progress. Where do you see the future of remote working, do you see folks being bounded only to stay here you see them working in different time zones? Do you see more technology coming into play where do you see the future of this going?
Omolara: Well I see a lot of four-day work weeks starting up because I have been following this for a while because I think in take off in Europe and now it's really starting to take off in the U.S. which I am surprised I didn't think it would come to the us that fast and so I am hearing that if you have four day work week here and then four day work week in another country then you're still able to work you know pretty much 24*7 so I think that's the future as well as being able to work from anywhere. I don't think I mean my first country I actually went to Dubai that was my United Arab Emirates was by the first country out of the U.S. and there you don't have to pay any income tax right no income tax at all so you know if I am an employee a remote worker you might lose me to a company in Dubai just because I can move there and not have to pay income tax. So I think companies are really going to start thinking more globally and do what they need to do to keep the global citizens and the world travelers like me that are looking at everything like I am looking at second passport third pass for you know tax not tax liability but tax avoidance as much tax avoidance as I can you know so I think they're gonna have to start thinking in that way because at the end of the day if they don't give me what I want, I will just start my own business. So you know and that's what the top talent can do so they really have to be careful right now like right now is the defining moment for our work culture I feel.
Chris: Yeah I agree as this continues and as the industry evolves and you're going to have to kind of make your firm very attractive to work for and so what staff in charge is going on I mean it's made folks realize that you could hire in other countries right.
The demand in India has just skyrocketed it wasn't prepared for it either but it's really made folks comfortable that okay it's a remote team right why the heck am I just bound into my state city or country so it's really opened up the eyes here. And so we've seen quite a bit of influx of demand come in and it's been good right but the idea is that there's not there's not really any problems there's always solutions you just have to think outside the box so before we wrap up though today, it was very awesome speaking with you but would you like to share any final thoughts with our audience.
Omolara: No I think pay attention to the trends both companies and employees need to do what they need to do to stay at the top of their field.
Chris: Yeah, for sure. Well Omolara thank you so much for joining in this podcast today is brought to you by Entigrity. Feel free to like follow subscribe turn on notifications all that jazz so you stay tuned to the latest episodes that are upcoming and also check out our website entigrity.com for virtual conferences that we are doing to help out the accounting community. Omolara thanks again for joining take care.
Entigrity™ is a trusted offshore staffing partner to over 600+ accountants, CPAs, and tax firms across the US and Canada. Our flexible and transparent hiring model helps firms of all sizes hire staff for accounting, bookkeeping, tax preparation, or any other task for 75% less cost. As a firm 'run by accountants, for the accountants', Entigrity captures the hiring needs of accounting firms most precisely, providing staff that works directly under your control and management, still, you are left with least to worry about compliance, payroll taxes, overheads or any other benefits.