Remote Work At Summit CPA Group

90%

Remote

40+

Team Members

Fort Wayne, IN

Headquarters

* As of June 2017

Summit CPA Group Remote Company Q&A

Jody Grunden, Partner - Interview with Remote.co

What does your remote-friendly company do?

Summit CPA Group is changing the way people think about accounting. We are a distributed-model CPA firm that specializes in both Virtual CFO Services and 401k Audits. Growing service-based businesses often reach a point where they need professional financial advice, but can’t afford a full-time CFO or controller. Our Virtual CFO service teams you up with a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) who works with you to help guide your business to success. We also specialize in 401(k) Audits–plans that are governed by ever-changing rules and regulations issued by the IRS, DOL, ERISA, and the Social Security Administration. These audits are complex.  We will “guide you through” rather than “stumble through” the process.

Did you switch to remote or start out that way?

We were a brick and mortar company for years. The switch was made starting at the top.  Me and my partner Adam, started working remotely a couple of days a week so that we could determine what processes, software, etc needed to be put in place in order to make working remote a great experience for the team.

How important is remote work to your business model?

Extremely important.  We work remotely with almost all of our clients.  So, it is important for our team to experience the same issues.  We conduct all of our team meetings through Sococo and really frown upon face-to-face meetings even if anyone happens to be in the office at the same time.

What do you consider the biggest benefits of a remote workforce?

Remote workers tend to work more independently with less reliance on the co-workers.  Also, the talent pool is the entire United States and not just what is available in your hometown.

What were the main reasons to integrate remote work into your workforce?

One reason is that we did not want to change our behavior as a growing firm by the capacity limit that our building had. With hiring remote workers there is no limitation on how many team members that we can add without having to remodel or relocate.

What is your hiring process for remote workers?

The interview process is entirely though video conferencing.

Do your remote team members meet in person?

We meet up at least once a year for a Company Retreat. It’s a “no spouse/significant other” event. The format really is conducive to team bonding. The Leadership Team met up in February for a Corporate Leadership Training Retreat. It was a huge success and everyone walked away reenergized about the business and were assigned actionable items to continue working through. Check out our blog post on that retreat. Our entire company will meet up in November for a similar experience of working and learning and team bonding.

How do you measure the productivity of remote workers?

Results.  No different than a brick and mortar business.

What is the hardest part about managing a remote workforce?

It is not for everyone.  You have to be able to hire effectively and be quick to realize that if it is not a good fit for the employee.

What is your BYOD policy for remote workers?

We provide remote workers with a $2,000 per year technology stipend.

What is your time off policy for remote workers?

Flex time with two weeks first year, three weeks second year, and four weeks thereafter.

How did you implement a remote work policy?

We had a team member move to another state and we used her as our Beta. Originally, only a few wanted to work remotely – accountants hate change, so we then kicked everyone out of the office for one month and forced them to work remotely.  They surprised themselves and found out that they actually liked working from home.  All but four team members work primarily outside of the office.

How do you nurture your company’s culture in a remote work environment?

Constant communication with all team members.  We also use Slack for sharing “water cooler” discussions. Another important aspect of our culture is our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program. Every year, each employee has access to $100 to which they can donate to a cause important to them.  Employees love this program as they recognize their employer cares about their life outside the office and empowers them and supports them in making a difference in their local communities.

What advice would you give to a team considering to go remote?

Use a system like Sococo, zoom, or google hangouts so that you can not only screenshare but can also video conference.

How do you personally manage work-life balance?

My family is really important to me.  Working remotely is the perfect solution to travel sports.  I bring my laptop with me all the time and am able to conduct meetings in the “luxury of my hotel room” without the client knowing any difference.  I find that I spend 100 times more time with my family than what I would if I was the prisoner of a brick and mortar company.

What is your favorite business book?

E-Myth by Michael E. Gerber

Where is the best or worst place you’ve worked remotely?

The best place for sure is in the bleachers — watching my son’s baseball game.