Bright!Tax Remote Company Q&A
Gregory Dewald, Founder and CEO - Interview with Remote.co
We provide tax services for Americans living abroad. We have clients in over 150 countries. We specialize in US expat tax return preparation for individuals and businesses and helping clients catch up with past years’ overdue returns.
It started out as remote.
We provide all our services online, so location isn’t a key requirement for our employees. We could operate our firm from a physical location, but our remote model gives us access to a global talent pool, rather than a local or regional one, so we can employ the best American CPAs wherever they happen to reside, worldwide.
The ability to recruit the best talent, globally, regardless of their location, and the ability to have team members in the same (or nearby) time zones as our clients allows us to provide a better customer service experience.
From our inception, Bright!Tax has always been an online tax preparation services provider, so remote work has always been a natural model for us.
Their experience, credentials and achievements are the most important factor, whether they’ve worked remotely before or not. Self-discipline and desire to do the job are perhaps the most important factors in terms of working remotely, and you can soon get an idea about someone’s aptitude for location-independent work (or not).
Most often via Skype. Most of our team members then have a trial period to allow us both to make sure that it’s a good fit.
Some of our team members happen to live nearby, so we meet up once a month or so for lunch or coffee. Many of our other associates I’ve never met in person though, despite having worked closely together for years.
We agree upon targets with measurable results for all our team members, allowing them and us to keep track of their progress. The reality though is that if you hire people who are well-suited to working remotely, they will respond better to encouragement and the freedom their location-independence offers as opposed to a more rigid and structured environment in a physical office space.
You don’t develop such close relationships as you do with people whom you see every day. This can be a positive too though, as productivity tends to remain high and also you might find that you didn’t get on with someone so well if you saw them every day!
Absolutely. The keys for us have been maintaining ongoing, open communication as a group, whether by Whatsapp, instant chat, email, Skype and phone, and ensuring everyone feels part of the journey and has a share in our success.
Find ways to let team members feel part of the business culturally, despite being in disparate and sometimes distant locations.
The challenges in terms of managing a remote team relate to communication. So long as you can find ways to keep communication channels open, both between individuals and as a team, these can be mitigated.
No commuting! This leaves me with more time for working, instead of to-ing and fro-ing.
I have a room where I work, a home office. When I enter the room then I’m working, and when I’ve finished for the day I simply shut the door on it. This would work better if I didn’t have a phone of course!