ONE OUT OF TOP 100 ACCOUNTING FIRMS BUILT AN ARMY OF 16 OFFSHORE ACCOUNTING STAFF – THE STORY OF KIM DOLLIN
About Somerset CPAs:
At Somerset, they go beyond traditional CPA services. A team of forward-thinking, proactive advisors, they understand that your needs are unique. That’s why they take time to customize their approach for each client. One of the largest accounting and consulting firms in the Midwest, they provide in-depth expertise along with a personable approach to local practice. Somerset is committed to looking after their clients’ best interests and addressing their needs.
Kim Dollin, CPA, Principal Partner with Somerset CPAs:
Somerset CPAs is one of the top 100 Accounting firms and a part of BDO Alliance Network headquartered in Indiana with a team of 250+ people with the offices of Somerset headquartered in Indiana and other offices in Tennessee and Illinois.
Initial Start with Entigrity & Offshoring:
Kim is a CPA and a partner with Somerset CPAs. Somerset found itself facing some major staffing challenges and realized that in today's market, recruiting individuals is expensive. Kim, a member of the auditing department, recognised the potential in carrying out a offshore staffing partnership with Entigrity, immediately referred it to the tax department. She has been a big Advocate of her team in setting up onshore and offshore.
Today Somerset has 16 (8 Tax Associate, 7 Audit Associate, 1 Virtual Assistant) Team Members with Entigrity, with plans to recruit another 7 in the near future.
Talking about her experience with availing Entigrity’s services, Kim mentions, “We commenced by recruiting auditors for financial statement processing and administrative work in our audit engagement and today we have 7 full time auditors with Entigrity. What we loved about this program was, we got to interview these individuals. We had a choice in who we hired, and we could express what we wanted. We needed people with two to four years experience on the audit side and we were able to successfully source.”
She Further added. “We looked at it since we needed additional individuals to assist us out. We were getting new clients left and right. So we looked at it as an addition to our team, but also as a way to relieve some of the stress on our team. We knew we couldn’t add more to our current team members plates. So we were looking at this as a true partnership to add our team. And that’s what it’s become, it’s been, I don’t think we could ask for anything more. The team that we work with is phenomenal. They genuinely are members of our team.They know our people; we have daily conversations, emails, and everything else, and they truly support us as if they were any other colleague sitting in the office next to me.”
Integration of the Offshore Team with the Onshore Team:
Somerset came up with the idea when they hired 4 people from Entigrity, they quickly ramped up as to get people to “buddy” the offshore person with the onshore person (This includes an offshore buddy at least 50% time zone overlap with an onshore buddy) and they created a buddy system. So now they have their individual person in-house for whatever they need.
Kim adds, “The buddy system promotes the progress of the relationship over time. Each buddy is motivated to understand the other since that will reduce confusion, make daily work smoother, and in general, make everyone happier. No one likes a contentious or uncomfortable working relationship, so each team member is intrinsically incentivized to cultivate a good working relationship.”
She developed the work culture and treated her offshore staff as if they were her own as if they were all part of the same team! She is committed to putting her staff first in order to ensure the firm's success.
Training for Offshore Staff:
Technology has a significant impact in developing a competent professional team. They record the training sessions so as to not have to repeat the training and augment the training that has already been recorded.
"We've been able to make this work because we're not only adding buddies, but also team members, and we keep them busy for 40 hours a week as the season progresses," Kim says.
Kim also told us that, “She has developed a process for additional training for her offshore team which helped her to build a better relationship with the staff. They provide them a lot of training on excel, audit, tax, and other areas so that they may acquire hands-on experience and enhance.
Elaborating on the significance of processes:
Kim told us that everyone at Entigrity with whom she works is eager to learn. The best part is that she gets emails every day saying things like "Hey, I'm starting my day," etc., and the Entigrity team has really shown their brilliance over the last couple of months.
Kims shares a Story, “I had an audit to do, which would have taken me between 25 and 40 hours. I recruited an experienced individual from Entigrity and told them I didn't have time to train them, but they should be able to handle it. I received a whole file with a comprehensive audit 24 hours later. They already possessed such knowledge, which impressed us much.”
Workflow Process with Offshore Team:
Despite the fact that there is a significant time difference between the United States and India, there is a window of opportunity where the two time zones overlap.
Kim says, “We work for 40 hours a week. In addition, if they are available, we have team channels set up where they can message us. We treat them like any other member of our team. Typically, they deal on tax, fixed assets, and payroll. And, as we become more acquainted with the process and flow, we'll begin with client interaction, since they've done an excellent job thus far. Hats off to the Entigrity team for being well-trained in whatever they do. Our interaction takes place on a regular basis, and we receive daily reports on everything”.
Experience with Virtual Assistants and their day to day tasks:
They have recruited “one virtual assistant”, and he's in charge of formatting and maintaining engagement letters. On the audit side, they have over 1000 engagement letters, and he is responsible for the majority of them.
She adds, “Our virtual assistant also works on a financial statement refresh project, which means that we changed our systems, but there are still multiple backdated versions of financial statements embedded, and he is assisting us in bringing all of these statements into the most recent version of the systems. He is doing all the linking, and everything else that takes up alot of time. So he's not only processing a lot of financial statements for me; he's also relieving my workload of my plate”.
Recommendations, Challenges with Offshore Staff:
There is never a good time to start. You can always come up with an idea.
Kim Says, “To be honest, there have never been any cultural or linguistic barriers with any of Entigrity's staff. They sometimes write better than I can. I think there will be some stumbling blocks, but it can't always be roses. Our offshore team, on the other hand, saves our onshore teams 100 hours every week”.
Kim Dollin has proven herself to be a brilliant and visionary leader. She possesses an extraordinary analytical capability that brings about revolutionary solutions to major challenges. She is an onshore anchor that we at Entigrity, are proud to be associated with. It gives us great pleasure to be able to assist her and her firm with the numerous offshore services available in our catalog and aid her in her professional journey.
Why Entigrity is the right choice for your staffing needs?
Just like Somerset CPA, it’s mostly about setting the wheel to roll once and get offshore staffing integrated into your systems. We have been solely working with accounting firms for over a decade now. We have helped firms like yours in hiring accountants, bookkeepers, tax associates, tax seniors, auditors, admin support staff, managers and all the other positions and offer guidance in building your offshore team. With our team of over 1300 professionals, operating from 6 secure offices across India, Entigrity is the perfect solution you are looking for your accounting firm.
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 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.