This is a short story of success from Adam Briggs, CPA who is a partner at Briggs & Associates Chartered Professional Accountants in Newfoundland & Labrador. Being a virtual firm, here's how offshore staffing helped them boost.
Briggs & Associates Chartered Professional Accountants is a CPA firm based in Newfoundland & Labrador. However, they are more comfortable calling themselves a virtual firm that has clients and employees from all over Canada. About a year ago they made a leap towards hiring offshore staff from Entigrity and this is an excerpt from a short interview with Adam Briggs, CPA who is a partner at Briggs & Associates.
Adam: I am Adam Briggs, a CPA, and partner at Briggs & Associates Chartered Professional Accountants based at St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador. We are a full-service professional accounting firm with nine people team. We have three people working in our office, two people working remotely from within Canada and we have 4 people working with Entigrity.
Entigrity: What compelled you to explore offshore staffing with Entigrity?
Adam: Well, to be honest, I was initially against the idea of offshore staffing. I kept ignoring their emails and once even wrote to them not to contact me. But eventually attended one of their free CPD webinars on a platform called myCPE and that kind of expanded the horizons for me. What I realized from there was that Big 4 and large accounting firms have expanded their operations by virtue of their global teams. Offshore staffing was a similar solution for firms like us that would help us grow. In fact, I started to have the feeling of being left behind at first, but we caught up pretty quickly. We started 2 years back and in fact Entigrity’s offshore staff kind of inspired me to hire remote workers from Canada.
Entigrity: How did you make a turn around so fast?
Adam: Like I said, watching their webinar was a trigger point that led me to explore this whole new arena of cloud or virtual working, virtual operations, virtual firms’ remote operations. When I dug further I realized this didn’t just save cost but actually helped expand my practice. It’s no longer confined to 30 square miles of my city, in fact, 50% of our clients today are spread nationally. So now I can move from one province to another and build my office there. Building an offshore team has given me the flexibility I wanted.
In fact, if I have my laptop and Wi-Fi, I can manage my work from anywhere. I can communicate, review, and get everything done quite easily. It has changed my professional life. If I want to go on a 3 week trip to Europe with my family it doesn’t really bother me, unlike previously when I needed to plan in advance even if I wanted to take 3-4 days off. Now that the operations are fully under my control, all I need is to ensure I check on everything for a couple of hours every day, read my emails, and get a report on what’s going on. Honestly, it has been a life-changing idea for me.
Entigrity: What would you tell your colleagues to become successful with offshore staffing?
Adam: As someone who was himself against this idea, but now with a changed thought, first of all, I'd say, people, need to look at this with an open mind because this is the way the world is operating now and going into the future.
Communication is most important. Unlike you speak with your office colleagues directly, now technology has taken over. Here all your communications happen over the phone, Skype, instant messaging, or video calling. Still, you’ve got to communicate regularly, review, and give instructions in order to make this relationship work.
Second most important thing is to think of them as your own core team. Never treat them like a third party, neither treat them as a machine; just the way your people working for you as your core team. When you do it, that’s where most of the things are taken care of.
And lastly, for me, it is a solution where I can build an efficient team in long run and not just a temporary or seasonal solution. This has given me the flexibility of working just 25-30 hours a week except during peak seasons when there is pressure, otherwise, there are just 25-30 hours. It has given me the flexibility of travel whenever and wherever I want. So I think of it as a long term solution to grow my practice and at the same time balance my professional and family life because of this.
And in fact, I am planning my next trip abroad to India where I can meet my team. I’ve never been there before and have met them only virtually ever since we have been working together, so I might take a couple of days off to be with them. It will be a great opportunity to know them better and understand the way they operate.
Entigrity: Did you think Data security and privacy as one of the concerns?
Adam: Yes, it was initially, while building a virtual practice. But it actually popped in my mind a few days after I had hired the first offshore person. So I went back and asked Entigrity how they took care of this.
I was literally amazed by the policies and controls that they had in place. They are completely paperless, fully digital, everything monitored on CCTV, access card controlled entries, and exits; there’s a whole policy of security parameters implemented at their offices as a part of their business. In fact, it was they who suggested me to implement multifactor authentication in our operations for better security so that only the person with sufficient rights and passcode can access the system. So we are secure and grown about 80% virtual in practice with their advice.
Entigrity: How has been your working relationship so far?
Adam:Today we have 4 full time offshore staff working for us through Entigrity, but let me tell you an anecdote. Just one month into working and we had to let go of the first hire. I was really upset with Entigrity regarding the quality of staff they had assigned to us. I mean they interviewed first to shortlist for us, then we interviewed, asked him questions and performed tests too. So that was a properly evaluated hire and that's the best that could be done. Back then, I was convinced that maybe all this worked well on paper but nowhere in practice. And even though that was a mistake, it could have still happened if I hired directly. It was just a hiccup, I panicked, which honestly, wasn’t necessary. I spoke with the account management team at Entigrity who kind of convinced me to give another chance to it. On the brighter side, Entigrity provided us an immediate replacement while the outgoing person provided a proper handholding. So there were no transition gaps as such! So I'm glad that I continued the relationship and here I am today, fully secured in my working.
Entigrity: What is your final verdict on Entigrity?
Adam: It is satisfying for me that my average work week is 25-30 hours a week and would like to keep it that way if Entigrity is by my side, thank you.
Entigrity™ is a trusted offshore staffing partner to over 500+ accountants, CPAs and tax firms across the US and Canada. Our flexible and transparent hiring model gives helps firms of all sizes to 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.