Engineered Advisory Partners Aim to Solve Capacity Issues for Overworked CPAs

Nick Sinclair ran his own accounting and financial planning business for 12 years, and like many leaders faced with too much work and too few professionals, he needed to outsource tax returns to keep up. But after sending the work out to third parties with little control over work hours and other issues, he wanted to develop his own team.

That’s why he expanded his accounting department into the Philippines in 2013. Impressed by the efficiency of the staff, the quality of their work and the low labor costs, he has now taken his business model to the entire accounting profession with 3,000-plus team members working in more than 800 accounting firms of all sizes.

Sinclair’s company, TOA Global, was one of 26 vetted specialist companies introduced to accounting firm members of the Engineered Advisory Accelerator program earlier this month at Engineered Advisory’s second HABU (Highest and Best Use) conference in Plano, Texas.

TOA was one of several partners taking aim at the time crunch stemming from the ongoing talent shortage throughout the profession. Firm leaders in attendance were interested in widening their breadth of services, but they didn’t necessarily have the expertise, or the capacity, to do so on their own. TOA is working to help accounting firms buy back their time.

The talent shortage, which shows no signs of letting up in the U.S., hasn’t hit the Philippines or South Africa. Sinclair says his firm receives 3,000 applications for 200 jobs every month. In South Africa, he received 148 applications for one senior audit job in 48 hours. “There is talent if you’re looking in the right places.”

Routine tasks bogging down staffers can be assigned elsewhere at costs of about 40% of what their U.S. counterparts would make. That money can be used to raise local salaries, a valuable retention play, and to reinvest in the firm. “If you want the best talent, guess what you have to do? You have to pay the most money,” Sinclair says. “Offshoring is not about reducing your costs, it’s not about making more profit, it’s about attracting the best talent locally and how we pay our best people locally.”

While TOA covered offshoring at the conference, Paragon Tax Advisory Services’ COO Angel Way discussed onshoring with a virtual tax office, while two other presenters offered options to improve efficiency and free up time for overworked professionals ­­– guHRoo’s Matt Vaadi and Aiwyn’s Patrick Morrell. All three spoke to the same theme of buying back time through efficiencies.

Way pointed out that many CPA firms are culling clients to handle all the work coming in, but Paragon pairs firms with CPAs who are looking for more 1040 clients. “You can focus on all those things you’ll hear here today without dropping revenue or alienating your client base.”

Morrell, co-founder and chief revenue officer of Aiwyn, a practice automation platform that has partnered with 60 accounting firms in the past two years, helps these firms streamline “unfun” billings and collections tasks. “We speed up cash flow, we save their partners a ton of time and we deliver a truly personalized, best-in-class experience for their clients.” .

And Vaadi, founder and CEO of guHRoo, said all firms and small businesses have the same issues – too little time and resources. “We are light on resources so we need the tools to help us be more efficient with our time and our staff,” which is where guHRoo’s AI-powered payroll, benefits, HR and compliance software comes in. GuHRoo is different than the mammoths of the payroll industry because the firm is consciously involved in the communities it serves, pledging to give away 5% of its business to charity – 3% of revenue, 1% of time and 1% of products.

All of these partners in the accelerator program are dedicated to helping CPA firms expand into advisory services, whether by saving them time and money, automating mundane tasks, or referring their clients to specialists when they don’t have the capacity or knowledge to serve them in-house. EA partners include specialists in a variety of tax credit and incentive programs covering solar energy, private jet ownership, land preservation, commercial real estate, exports, grant funding, charitable gifts and more.

As Morrell observed about the HABU conference, “It’s a great forum of growth-minded firms, and partners to firms, as we all look to how we can grow into the future together.”

To learn more about Engineered Advisory and the Engineered Advisory Accelerator program, schedule a call.

 

 

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