DHA CPAs, a dynamic public accounting firm, prides itself on providing “big-firm expertise” with “small-firm relationships.” Their dedicated team offers a variety of services including tax compliance and planning, consulting, bookkeeping, and audits. Known for their client-focused approach, they cater to a diverse range of businesses to provide customized, comprehensive consulting and compliance services.

Key Takeaways

Public Accounting
Chaska, Minnesota, USA
roles we filled
Article Cover Image
time For each role
3.5 weeks

Like many US firms, Drazan, Henke & Associates (DHA CPAs), which has 30 offshore and remote employees, struggled to find onshore accounting staff for their firm in Minnesota.

A few years ago they started struggling to finding qualified local staff at a manageable cost.

Administrative manager Laura Rohwer says that not only was there a lack of candidates, but few were interested in client-facing roles.

"It was really tough to find onshore staff at a salary rate that we could provide compared to some of the Big Four companies," Laura explains.

The accounting candidate market was tough.

“There weren't a lot of candidates. There doesn't seem to be as many young students going to school for tax accounting, specifically public accounting. So it was really difficult for us to find talent.”

Laura’s experience reflects a continuing pattern in the US. A 2023 Trends report revealed a 7.8% drop in students who earned a bachelor's degree in accounting in the 2021–22 school year.

And this doesn’t look to improve, there’s been a notable 17% decline in the number of students entering the field of accounting across colleges in the United States.

Despite working with several different recruiters, they couldn’t find the right fits for their culture, this led them to consider offshoring as a strategic move.

Considering all of their options

DHA CPAs initially considered an offshoring company (also known as a Business Process Outsourcing company or BPO).

These are outsourcing businesses, usually located overseas, that hire staff locally and then contract them through you. They handle payroll and compliance, and they usually have an office where people commute to where they provide laptops, desks, and everything that they need to do their work.

However, they come with their downsides.

Laura says the biggest problem with using an offshoring company was that they couldn’t work directly with new staff.

“We needed staff that we could help train, develop and who could learn our internal processes,” says Laura. “We wanted to work hand in hand with our reviewers.”

They decided they hire directly instead.

“We wanted staff who would stay with us long-term and we've found that the more that we work with them on their personal development, the more invested they become.”

Their aim is to help employees in the company continue moving up so that the firm can fill their more complex positions with the staff that they helped develop. They can then fill their more entry level staff positions from outside the company.

Turning to TeamUp

The firm's need for hiring directly in the Philippines lead them to TeamUp.

They had previously hired staff in India, but were now looking for client-facing staff with very strong English language skills.

“We really needed to break that language barrier, and with the Philippines being more English-speaking, that just seemed to be a better fit for some of those client-facing roles that we wanted to fill.”

English is widely spoken and understood in the Philippines. It’s one of the official languages of the country, along with Filipino. This makes the Philippines an ideal location for hiring offshore accounting staff.

The firm ended up hiring three Filipino employees through TeamUp.

”We just made an offer to two more that were accepted. They'll start later this month and want in November and we’re currently interviewing for another position. So by the end of the year we're hoping to have six hired.”

Finding staff for client-facing roles

Laura also says that her staff are “willing and eager” to work in client-facing positions - a trait that’s something that’s becoming harder to find among candidates.

“Younger candidates aren’t interested in having face to face interaction and talking on the phone with clients - so it's good to find people who want to do that,” she says.

In the Philippines, client-facing roles, particularly in global industries, customer service, and hospitality, are abundant and growing. They often provide more stable employment opportunities and competitive salaries compared to other sectors, making them attractive to young job seekers.

This has created a large pool of experienced and skilled workers who are comfortable and proficient in these roles.

Taking the leap

Laura says the addition of Filipino offshore staff has been a resounding success.

"The candidates we ended up with were actually more qualified than what we were expecting."

The offshore team's quick learning ability, work ethic, and communication skills significantly enhanced the firm's service quality and efficiency.

Laura advises firms considering offshoring to go into it with an open mind and to ensure internal processes are well-established. The firm is looking forward to further expanding its offshore team and building a culturally diverse workforce.

“The process of interviewing and talking with the candidates is really no different than trying to hire on shore,” she says. “It's nothing to be afraid of or to be nervous about.”

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