How one accounting practice is building and managing higher performing offshore teams.

About Tradies Accountant

Tradies Accountant is a mid-sized accounting practice that specialises in the construction industry.

They provide their clients with full service financial support from bookkeeping, accounting, advisory and full outsourced CFO services.

One of their strategies for elevating service levels and reducing overheads for their clients is by offshoring certain roles and building their clients a virtual team which are managed directly by Tradies Accountant and recruited through their subsidiary BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) they have set up to recruit and manage the off shore teams.

“Using this innovative approach we can we can add value with personal advisory services through deep local relationships, have work executed by professional offshore teams at low cost, and by having direct control over the infrastructure, culture and environment the offshore staff work in we can keep costs and complexity low by avoiding the complexity and overheads of a 3rd party BPO” said Bryn Harwood – CEO and Cofounder.

Our model also means we have had to develop additional competencies compared to a standard accounting practice including recruiting and managing virtual teams. “It’s been an interesting journey that has been enlightening and empowering.” Said Mr. Harwood.

The Offshoring Journey so far:

Offshoring presents some unique situations where the interviewing process is largely done remotely, and the integration of the new team members has a different process and timeline than hiring locally. On an ongoing basis the management dynamic including creating an team culture, mutual respect and helping people work to their strengths is more difficult because the general observations and water cooler chat doesn’t happen in the same way as when people are physically in the same place.

Making our recruitment process more successful

“We’ve learnt that understanding people beyond their technical competence and understanding their personality (by adding REACH Profiling) to our process has really improved our recruitment and ongoing strengths-based management.

To give you an example we hired a new 4-person team for a client through our BPO a few months back. We have always used competence assessment to check skill levels for roles and with that as our only tool we would have simply hired the four most technically-skilled accountants with good reference and background checks.

However, in this team we needed a highly detailed person to prepare audit-ready work on an ongoing basis, I knew I needed someone that was methodical, detailed and really enjoyed scrutinising detail and taking time thinking through each of their processes – and would do it day in and day out happily and reliably. So, in addition to the technical ability we looked deeper into their preferred workstyle using REACH profiles.

We found someone with the following attributes so they would be consistent, methodical, reliable and really enjoy themselves:

So we hired a specific person that was technically competent, but not the highest score and was more likely to enjoy the role than the top scoring person that had a very different urgent competitive big picture personality type.

And it has worked out exactly as planned, they love their work, are reliable and performing outstandingly well.”

Ongoing Management

“We work hard at being personable and human to create a sense of ‘camaraderie’ and ‘team’ but the reality our day to day dialogues tend to be very outcome and task oriented – we are a bunch of accountants doing accounting work after all!

Regardless, you just don’t get to know a person as well when you’re not physically with them as much – we all experience that.

So to help me communicate and delegate more effectively I keep a team visualiser handy on the wall in my office so I can remind myself to adapt to the different team members, and delegate tasks they’ll do enthusiastically rather than lump them with tasks they’ll do out of obligation.

This has really enhanced our experience hiring and managing offshore teams and helps us maximise the value we give back to our clients” said Mr Harwood.”

“It’s funny” said Harwood, “I’ve even developed more self-awareness from using these tools, I now spot things that I say to myself ‘I wouldn’t hire myself for that’ and promptly delegate it – even when I know I have the technical ability to get the task done.”

Moving forward

We’re committed to continue to use the REACH Profiles for recruitment and are planning to use the tools more broadly for 360 surveys and culture surveys with to get more insights about what to do to help our people enjoy their roles and for our clients to get the maximum benefit from working with us.

Contact Mr. Bryn Harwood from the Tradies Accountant: bryn@tradiesaccountant.com

More information on the REACH Ecosystem can be found here.

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