How Working Remotely Affects Culture & Client Relationships

Tips from a Successful Virtual CFO Firm

Summit CPA is a distributed accounting firm, and I strongly believe that this has had a huge impact on our ability to grow. When it comes to hiring, we are not limited to the area of a physical office as most accounting firms are. Having a physical location really limits the talent pool and how quickly a firm can onboard new talent. Instead of receiving one or two résumés per week, we get nearly 2,000 résumés a year. The talent pool is so much larger!

We can be more selective with the people we hire. Not only do we get thousands of applicants for job openings, but the quality of the people we get is incredible! It’s not just people who couldn’t find a job in a brick-and-mortar location, it’s people who are coming from brick-and-mortar jobs that don’t want to fight traffic and spend so much time away from their family. We’re not hiring people just because they live in the area and they’re almost perfect for what we need. We can actually look for the highest quality candidates who fit our model.

This has significantly impacted the growth we’ve experienced — more than 150% consecutively over the last 3 years! If we were a local company, not distributed, it would have been very tough, if not impossible, to make everything work. This should become the norm for accounting firms rather than an exception. As technology continues to advance, the world is becoming smaller and borders are being eliminated.

One of the concerns I’ve heard people express when I talk about running a virtual firm is they don’t think it’s possible to develop strong relationships remotely, internally, and with clients. That’s simply not true. You can actually get to know your team members and clients a lot better when you’re meeting with them on a regular basis, sitting with them, seeing them in a video conference. You get to know your team members and clients on more of a personal level, which is the opposite of what many people think.

It doesn’t feel distant. If you’re meeting on the phone, that may be different, but video conferencing makes a huge difference. You can see their eyes, the expressions on their faces. You can tell whether or not they’re paying attention and if they understood you. You can screen-share and interact with them. A client can bring team members onto the call if needed. If you can’t make the meeting, it’s not a big deal because a team member can take over. Clients love it. It’s more of a personal touch.

We have found that working together remotely has an incredibly positive impact on both client relationships and company culture!

Summit CPA is a distributed accounting firm with a non-traditional approach to accounting. We have an amazing team of CPAs and accountants who provide professional Virtual CFO Services and 401(k) Audits for companies all over the United States — many of which are remote companies as well. We also recently launched a CPA Firm Augmentation service, coaching other CPA Firms on how to successfully provide Virtual CFO services. We fully understand the accounting, bookkeeping, cash flow management, and business tax nuances that come with being distributed, and we love helping our clients overcome these challenges through our own experience and expertise.

CEO & Co-Founder of Virtual CFO firm, Summit CPA Group, author of Digital Dollars and Cents, and contributing member of the Forbes Finance Council.

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