CASE STUDY: HOW SUMMIT CPA RAPIDLY BUILT A TEAM OF 10 OFFSHORE EMPLOYEES

14 Oct 2020  |  596
CASE STUDY: HOW SUMMIT CPA RAPIDLY BUILT A TEAM OF 10 OFFSHORE EMPLOYEES

Being a virtual CFO Firm, Summit CPA provides Virtual CFO Services, including cash flow management, business tax planning and financial forecasting. They also perform 401(k) Audits and recently launched a CPA Firm Augmentation program, providing other CPA Firms with accounting outsourcing services and Virtual CFO Consulting from their experienced staff.  

Adam Hale is the partner at Summit CPA group headquartered in Fort Wayne Indiana. Summit CPA is perhaps the first virtual CFO firm and the largest distributed model accounting firm in the nation. The most distinct thing about their practice is that they have about:

  • 45 people team distributed all throughout the US.

  • 12 people team working from entigrity. 

Summit CPA Group prides themselves on offering a host of services to the clients without having to meet any of them physically, no wonder they were recognized for their innovative accomplishments in 2017 with the inaugural Indiana CPA society Innovation Award. Hiring at Summit CPA group is all done virtually as well. Entigrity being a recent prime example.

Utilizing Offshoring to deliver a best client experience

Being a virtual CFO Firm, Summit CPA provides Virtual CFO Services, including cash flow management, business tax planning and financial forecasting. They also perform 401(k) Audits and recently launched a CPA Firm Augmentation program, providing other CPA Firms with accounting outsourcing services and Virtual CFO Consulting from their experienced staff.

At Summit CPA, they utilize the latest technology to ensure that the client’s experience is always first-rate.  Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to log into your QuickBooks file, anytime and anywhere?  You can at Summit CPA.  That is just one of the many ways Summit CPA uses technology to deliver a first-class service. Because of the way they utilize technology, their entire 401K Audits are performed without ever stepping foot at their client's location.  This was nearly impossible five years ago.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

How outsourcing turns out to be a blackbox approach?

Their prior experience with outsourcing wasn't all that great. Early on they tried outsourcing tax work because that was kind of the thing in the industry. It was done in a black box and they weren't really able to work with the team that was working on Summit stuff and so it wasn't very successful. A few years later they tried bookkeeping but it was kind of the same thing they weren't able to interact with the team and that made it really difficult to work through solutions because everything's not cookie cutter or super simplistic even your best processes sometimes just need some further insight or discussion and because they weren't able to reach out to the team and talk to them and made it very difficult.

How they built a team of 10 offshore employees?

With entigrity what really drew them to work was the fact that the staff was remote rather than just considering them offshore, so the fact that they were able to invite the folks from entigrity into their virtual office just like they do with any other team member in the states made working with them very easy. 

So they had the processes and they had the procedures in place but then being able to have them join their team and work with individual team members, so whenever those questions arose that was really important to them and then further from a security standpoint it being a virtual firm were very secure and they work really hard on ensuring that our data integrity is also very clean and so there was a lot of questions that they had regarding the process and working with the entigrity teams. 

Three things that led to their offshoring success were:

  • Successful integration of onshore and offshore teams and treating them at the same level. 
  • Empowering leaders and managers with the right team.
  • Investment in onboarding and training.

They wanted to make sure that we had all of our compliance and everything was super tight in terms of access, so how they accomplish that is through that they used a tool called LastPass and they only give view only access to the websites but it ensures that the team from entigrity is able to launch websites they have view only access so that they can carry out their job and they don't have to worry about giving any compromising information and bank account information IDs or anything like that. 

Summit CPA Growing

Their current team has approximately 12 VCFOs supported by approximately 24 senior accountants so their delivery with their clients is always focused on a two-person team and so they believe heavily in the leverage. So their CFOs are focused more on the strategy side of the business so they can kind of work with two senior accountants, the senior accountants role is more of an analysis reviewing the books, helping out the internal bookkeeping team if they have one at summit CPA clients location and then working with their internal bookkeeping team and entigrity is there to ensure that the day to day is done and it's accurate so in terms of scaling that's kind of the ratio they look at one CFO to two senior accountants and then each Senior Accountant having a bookkeeper from entigrity assigned to them and that's how they are scaling and growing the business.

 

                                                                           

 

Filling the Cultural Gap between Local and Offshore team

The biggest thing that they did to make sure that the team felt welcome from entigrity and that there was no cultural divides was having them in their virtual office having video conferencing and being able to talk to people, it makes it a lot easier to work with them so these days a lot of people work through slack or even the telephone things like that video conferencing is great. But they have a virtual office where our staff was able to sit right next to somebody from Indiana versus somebody from India and there's really no difference when they pop into the office they turn on their camera just to start talking and working through solutions sharing screens. It's been great.

In the long run their hope is to continue to leverage the entigrity team as they grow as Adam mentioned, “our scale is our intent is to continue to grow hopefully at the tune of five to ten team members a year and we would match that with an entigrity team member as well”.

Offshoring does not cost local jobs, they are expanding

We actually did an annual client survey in 2019 and we found out that offshoring is not taking the US jobs away, the local hiring with our clients have increased by 11%. The global economy is becoming a more integrated and competitive neighborhood. When overseas offshoring is successful, the subsequent things are true:

  • Your local team members become additional client-facing.

  • They can be additional strategic and deliver more value at higher hourly rates.

  • At an equivalent time, essential compliance work is delivered at high margins by your offshore team.

  • Your firm will currently afford to rent additional local individuals to manage the work and advise additional shoppers at higher and better levels of import.

Conclusion:

The nice thing about being virtual is you get access to talent all over the country and now all over the world. So instead of having to worry about finding specific talent in a small geographic footprint, now we can go everywhere. Offshore teams can handle anything that an onshore team can handle from a back office standpoint. Our team is really focused on the advisory service. We already had all the S.O.P. in place, just needed somebody to take them over. Once we were able to see that, your team could come in and just knock it out really quick. Being distributed is one of the best things that we ever did. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                


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.

About The Author
Director, Marketing

Patrick uniquely combines three vital traits: He sees the future of the profession clearly; he discovers or creates supremely practical ways to move the profession toward that future; and he generates tremendous enthusiasm for the move in everyone he meets. He is on a mission to help CPAs, Finance and Accounting Professionals thrive in these times of exponential change. He firmly believes that what got us here, won’t get us there as the Profession faces unprecedented changes and opportunities. Patrick's expertise helps businesses and firms navigate the turbulent waters of business with training, strategic planning, and other tools.Patrick joined team Entigrity in 2015. He has his core expertise in the field of technology but holds very special place for accounting. He has been rigorously doing efforts to find out ways how accounting firms can make the most out of modern information technology.

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