“We now have a completely new business structure based on the value we can bring to a business”
Green Lion is a modern accounting firm that is thriving with the help of Connect Outsourcing’s accounting services. Last year Green Lion took over a more traditional firm that wanted to transition to a modernised practice but didn’t know how.
We talked with Felicity Hill about getting the merged firm on board with outsourcing and the benefits it offers.
What is the difference between a traditional accounting firm and a modern firm?
In a modern practice the accounting role can be hugely varied. In our practice we have specialists that offer accounting services such as systems, tax advice, finance valuations, compliance reviewing, company office trusts, office administration, and more.
Modern accountants have a more diverse role that includes advisory at all levels – not just in a director position. They need to be thinking about adding ongoing value to their client’s business.
This involves driving a different, more in-depth relationship with your clients. One where your clients call you before making any big decisions so you can advise them of implications and outcomes.
What were the challenges in merging the two firms?
The culture of the other firm was quite different from ours, but the vision and the client service aligned. Some staff had been there for many years and there was some fear of the unknown.
Some of the staff weren’t sure they could trust the quality of outsourced work. Some staff were worried that there wouldn’t be enough work for them to do themselves. We took a softly, softly approach to making change. It helped that they could see our team, their roles, and how they made it work.
We did unfortunately lose three people from the original company before the end of the first year.
What did you have to do to set up the outsourcing for the merged team?
The technical handover wasn’t that difficult as Connect and Xero did most of the work for us.
- Setting up DocZone and SharePoint (mainly done by Connect)
- Setting up Xero Practice Manager (mainly done by Xero)
- Designing the workflow process from start to finish
- Creating a new role of office manager who passes all information to and from the Connect team
- Training Connect as to how we wanted things done (similar to training a grad on your rules and procedures).
How do you make sure that your information and handover is consistent to Connect’s team?
We already had our systems and protocols in place.
To ensure consistency we have one person who deals directly with Connect. And we have templates designed to our requirements that everyone uses.
We make sure everything that needs to be communicated is on file and the notes on every job are saved in the next year’s documents. We also communicate through Xero work papers.
What have been the advantages of outsourcing with Connect?
Overall, it’s allowed us to look at how we might offer and price both firms services differently.
We now have an opportunity to do more than simply price our services cheaper to be more competitive in the race to the bottom.
Some traditional practices have tried to grow their business by offering competitive monthly compliance packages and then billing for extra services.
We price our services quite differently and asses a client fee based on their individual requirements. The size of a business does not dictate the fees.
We now have a completely new billing structure based on the value we can bring to a business.
For example, I recently completed a business restructure that added $30,000 to my client’s bottom line. In the old model I would only bill for my time, now I look at the value my services have added to the client.
How do feel about the merge now?
Our first year ends on April 1. It’s been a hectic year of moving offices and settling.
We have grown a lot, and I am happy with where we are now. This year we have some more processes to nail down and I expect we will grow even more this year, which is exciting.
Looking to grow your practice? Book in a 10 min discovery session to see how we can help your business grow!