We recently connected with OMAR VIRJEE and have shared our conversation below.
Hi OMAR, thanks for joining us today. We’d love to start by getting your thoughts on what you are seeing as some the biggest trends emerging in your industry
The accounting industry is rapidly changing and this change has been turbo charged by the COVID-19 pandemic. Firstly automation and technology is playing a major role in how work is done. Transactions are auto fed into QuickBooks and other accounting platforms. Management of CPA firms is also changing with advanced practice management software and tech stacks that sit on the cloud.
The second trend we see is the ability to work remotely. Team members are now able to work from home if they have a doctors appointment or a family obligation. Many firms are going 100% remote. We however feel that a 100% remote practice will impact team collaboration as the close relationships and mentorship formed within a physical office environment is difficult to replicate in a virtual environment.
The third trend we are seeing is the increased demand for consulting services. With constant changes in tax laws, PPP Loans, EIDL loans and a vast array of business tax credits available. Clients are seeking more of a consulting relationship from their CPA’s vs the traditional bookkeeping and tax work that has kept firms busy over the past decades.
OMAR, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
My name is Omar and I am the CEO of Virjee Consulting, a CPA and Consulting firm I started with my wife Sarah in 2013.
I am a CPA by profession but a entrepreneur by heart as I started my first company at the age of 16, selling watches and costume jewelry via direct sales and through our ecommerce platform. I later sold the company at 22 as the online market was quickly changing and a recession was on the horizon. After graduating from UHD, I spent 8 years working in various Fortune 500 companies as a Analyst. While working at corporate I started Virjee Consulting from our home in 2013 and than eventually in 2016 I left my corporate job to purse building Virjee Consulting full time.
Virjee Consulting is a CPA firm that focuses on providing accounting and tax consulting services to small businesses across the country. What sets us apart is our focus on specific industries. For example a large share of our clients are doctors and dentists. Therefore our tax strategies are tailored to those industries allowing our clients to save tens of thousands of dollars in taxes. Our deep industry experience also allows us to be able to guide our clients in opening new offices, connecting them with banks and other vendors within the value chain.
We also differentiate our self by a high level of personal service. We have been ranked as one of the top three reviewed CPA firms in Houston, and have been able to maintain a 5.0 rating on Google. We achieve this by having a team dedicated to each client. So phone calls and emails are returned promptly. We go further by having 1 on 1 tax planning meetings with our clients during the fourth quarter to finalize the personalized strategy developed for the client.
This level of service and in-depth planning was most evident during the pandemic when hundreds of clients were calling our office, panicked about closing their office, defaulting on loans, laying off employees. My proudest moment is how our team as a unit navigated the ever changing waters of tax law, PPP, EIDL loans, tax credits and much more. We were the back bone of our clients businesses and the financial well being of those businesses. Our team worked hard and were able to make sure each of our clients was taken care off. Today those clients have been gracious enough to write reviews and refer other clients to us. But how our team managed this crisis will always be what I will be most proud of.
How do you keep your team’s morale high?
I believe managing a team and a company culture is one of the weakest and most under worked on areas of most small businesses. No business owner can be successful on their own. It is the responsibility of the business owner to develop their team, to foster a culture of positivity, mentorship and service. Without this once the team reaches a certain size it will implode. The reason is, social science show that a manager can effectively lead a maximum of five people. Beyond that each additional person will overload the structure. If this math is true then a successful team of five that grows to ten will not be able to upload the same standard of service or high morale. The only way to maintain the same level of service and morale is if the positivity is built into the team culture. Then each person becomes a representative and a brand ambassador of that team culture. It is no longer just on the manager.
The advise I would give would be to have plenty of team events outside of the office. Our team does bowling, picnics, Go Karting, arcades, ect each quarter. I also advise to have a weekly team building activity which can be simple as ordering lunch for the team and eating together.
Lastly recognize your team as a whole and individually for their efforts. Business is tough, customer service is not always rewarding. Thank your team members. Point our their victories. Mentor them in moments they don’t achieve their goals.
Any advice for growing your clientele? What’s been most effective for you?
The most effective strategy for growing our clientele has been service. We have from day one focused on providing a high level of service. We have focused on working in a mode of urgency. We have focused on being proactive to the needs of our clients than reactive. We have owned up to our mistakes and errors and refunded clients their fees in those situations. Doing these things, we have treated clients as how we would have liked to be treated if we were going out in the market lookin for a consulting firm.
By doing these actions we have seen referrals and reviews become our most effective tool in growing our client base.