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Vince Ilarda, Prosperity Accountants Testimonial

Lee:
So Vince you’ve been dealing with BOSS for some time now and your firm is Prosperity Accountants and I’d just like to find out, to start off with for everyone else out there, if you could just describe your firm and give them a better idea about your business.

Vince:
Sure. Thanks Lee, thanks for the opportunity. Prosperity Accountants, we’re a sole practitioner firm I am the principal partner and the sole partner I have two accountants, two qualified accountants working in my firm, I have a zero bookkeeper and I have a personal assistant/office manager. We are based in Leederville Western Australia, which is an inner city suburb, an old suburb of Perth but it’s a suburb that’s been revitalized with a lot of singles and working couples that are renovating the old homes here in Perth, so we’re seeing a lot of development there.

I’ve been a practice for about 10 years, prior to that I held some positions in financial management and as finance director and I decided to open up my own practice about 10 years ago. Our client base has changed in the last 10 years, now we’re focusing on owner-managed small-mid size business entities in no particular industry but we’ve got clients that range from service-based industries, retail, wholesale, tradies, we also have a large database of professionals – engineers, architects – and we also specialize in preparing accounts for superannuation funds and self-managed super funds.

So the last 12 months we’ve been transitioning to be a Cloud-based accounting firm we’re trying to transition most of our clients if not all to a Zero single ledger and also using Spotlight, Zero working papers. So that’s an area that we believe will add a lot of value to the firm in terms of productivity and also value-adding services to our clients.

Lee:
OK great, that’s an excellent description. So what were your reasons for outsourcing compliance work?

Vince:
A number of reasons, firstly as you probably know Perth in particular and Western Australia has been undergoing quite a boom in the mining industry in the last five or six years and as a result of that a lot of accounting graduates and accountants were lured by the high salaries in the mining industry so we had difficulty attracting good qualified people to work for us in our profession and therefore we looked for alternatives. That’s one of the reasons.

The other reason is that historically the business – most accounting businesses – are seasonal where you probably do about 80 percent of your compliance work between July and November and so you’re going ‘hammer and tongs’ in those months and things then slow down a little bit and so we had times when accountants were overloaded with work and other times where they didn’t have so much work. So we’re looking for flexibility also; so for those two reasons.

I’d heard about the growing incidences of outsourcing compliance work and so I looked at some of the providers of compliance work, spoke to some of the accountants who’ve used outsourcing and that’s how we progressed to where we are now.

Lee:
And out of interest why did you choose BOSS?

Vince:
I guess through high recommendations from the accountants that we spoke about. We didn’t rush into it ‘hammer and tongs’ initially, we really tested, we wanted to test the quality of the work that BOSS was able to provide, the timeliness; quality of the working papers; their understanding of the tax law; their responsiveness to our queries; how well they spoke English; how well they communicated in emails and things of that nature so I guess what we did is I drip-fed some work along the way to really assure myself that all the boxes were ticked in terms of our priorities and in terms of moving forward to maybe giving a higher volume of work to BOSS.

We also looked at another option in Vietnam, their model was a little bit different to BOSS in that you really don’t engage with an accountant; you’re dealing through client service coordinators who pass information onto the accountants and sometimes there’s a lack of understanding in terms of exactly what you’re trying to communicate to the accountant whereas with BOSS we’re actually able to deal and communicate directly with the accountant who’s dealing with the file.

Lee:
Yeah, that’s a very good point. You’ve touched on some of the aspects of how you set things up with BOSS, because you drip-fed at the beginning and started off slowing but are there any other particular things that you did internally to set things up with BOSS to make it work?

Vince:
We developed our own templates, BOSS provided us with a couple of templates in terms of how to load jobs up, the type of information that was required to initiate the job with BOSS and we felt that the template didn’t suit the way we do business here in terms of workflow management and job initiation so we developed our own templates and passed them onto BOSS to see if they were agreeable to use our templates for job initiation and they were fantastic about it, they had no issues in terms of our firm requiring something more specific in terms of those templates and so we were able to implement that without too many problems and that fitted in really with our workflow management system that we had within the firm here. And so we felt that BOSS were not regimented in terms of dictating to us how files should be processed and managed, that they adjusted their workflow practices to a large extent in terms of meeting our requirements.

Lee:
Fantastic: So what’s it like dealing with the BOSS accountants?

Vince:
Well I can only speak highly of the BOSS accountants. The basis of our arrangement with BOSS is that its casual work and so we’ve dealt with quite a number of accountants within the BOSS workforce and there have been changes in terms of who manages our work; so there’s a lead accountant that manages our work and then that person at BOSS then delegates that work down to other accountants and then when queries are filed through those accountants who are directly working the job are giving us the queries.

We’ve found all the accountants that we’ve worked with have been efficient, cooperative; knowledgeable and flexible and I guess one of the main issues is at times when there were very strict deadlines to be met in terms of clients needing work done quickly BOSS always came to the party in terms of trying to facilitate those tight deadlines that we met – not all the time, which is understandable – but wherever possible they bent over backwards to meet those particular deadlines.

What I found that was very, very important is that they look behind the accounts or behind the information we gave in terms of actually not just doing the work but they saw that there was issues that needed to be brought to our attention in terms of taxation issues then they were also helpful in that area, which added value also.

Lee:
That’s very good. Very interesting. Apart from what you’ve just mentioned there, what have been the benefits of using BOSS? Any extra things that come to mind?

Vince:
Yes well, in June of last year I bought some accounting fees from a gentleman who was retiring which effectively doubled our workload. I was able to take on that workload without appointing a new accountant. All I did was to appoint a client service coordinator/bookkeeper who was able to provide the link between the client and BOSS in terms of providing information. So we were able to almost double our capacity without actually adding to our professional staff by using BOSS and that was the greatest benefit for us.

We were able to meet client expectations, the clients that we took on I think we retained about 98 percent of the clients, they were happy with the work and I as the sole practitioner was able to devote my time more to looking at the client’s needs in terms of added services and added benefits rather than concentrate on the nitty-gritty compliance work. That was the standout. That we were able to increase our workload significantly without adding to our professional staff and also the flexibility of the timing of jobs coming through. You’d have some weeks were very busy, some weeks where we weren’t that busy and so BOSS was able to manage that capacity changes through without me having to worry about it so flexibility and increased capacity was the main benefits.

Lee:
Yeah, great. This is a bit of difficult question, and you don’t have to answer it: can you put a dollar figure on using BOSS?

Vince:
Well I guess, you know, the fact that we didn’t have to employ another qualified accountant and still able to do the work, was probably $100,000 saving a year. I guess also there was a lot of efficiency savings and I think that’s probably another $20-30,000. So I’d say it improved our performance by at least $100,000 a year.

Lee:
Excellent. Have there been any problems along the way?

Vince:
There are always issues and problems along the way, I think the important thing is are they able to be resolved and how quickly can they be resolved. I guess because we changed some of the processes within our organization better quality of information to outsource – and that’s a good thing – in terms of actually making sure that the information that we have from clients is complete and accurate as much as possible, so that when we outsource it to BOSS they have as much of the information to start and complete the job without having to down tools on a frequent basis. So that’s also important.

We’re now moving away from HandyLedger which is one of the industry standards and we’re moving to a single ledger Zero from the 1st July this year and using Spotlight working papers over the last 3-4 months BOSS has helped us to look at that transition, they’ve tested some work that we’ve put onto Zero and used Spotlight working papers and BOSS are comfortable in moving down that direction in terms of using those new tools for our compliance work, so that’s great and they are actually making their own commitment, both financially and in resources to train their people because we’re moving to a new platform for our clients so that’s a big plus also.

Lee:
Do you think as you grow you’ll be engaging BOSS’s services more, if you need more capacity you’ll be coming to BOSS first?

Vince:
Absolutely, absolutely right. If BOSS can maintain the same level of quality and work and timeliness then I will have no hesitation in continuing to outsource more work to BOSS, even to the extent to that if BOSS is prepared to add more services – we’re also starting a bookkeeping service in the next six months, Zero Bookkeeping, and we’ll possibly be looking to outsource some of that bookkeeping to BOSS also, and that’s some discussion that I’m having with BOSS at the moment.

Lee:
Great. So would you recommend BOSS as a service?

Vince:
I have no hesitation in recommending BOSS. I’ve only had very, very good experiences with BOSS, I have not been let down in terms of their work and to any of my colleagues who are considering BOSS as an option in terms of undertaking compliance work, I’m available to take their calls and to talk about my experiences with BOSS.

Lee:
Thank you very much Vince, I appreciate that. OK. I really appreciate you spending the time to do the testimonial and we’ll be in contact later on.

Vince:
Thanks Lee.

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