Marcel Palm is the Business Director of a young and innovative FSI company called FinSuperstars, which provides high-quality services to companies looking to hire professionals in the financial sector. FinSuperstars works remotely by matching accounting firms in the Netherlands with highly qualified finance professionals from Serbia. Find out where he got the idea for his business and what it looks like directly from Marcel.
What are the biggest challenges facing accounting and auditing firms today?
In my opinion, accounting and auditing firms face a huge challenge in finding and retaining talented and well-trained young professionals. In addition, fast-growing accounting firms have a scalability problem. More than one-third of companies in the accounting sector face a labor shortage, which severely hinders the growth of these firms.
The Dutch employment office also confirms the ongoing shortage of certain workers in bachelor’s and master’s accounting programs, such as accountants, accounting assistants, and accounting controllers. According to the CEA, the larger offices in particular are having difficulty retaining young employees.
Figures from DUO show that the number of bachelor’s and master’s degree graduates in accounting has declined in recent years. For example, since 2014, the number of students who started a bachelor’s degree in accounting has dropped by 8%. In the master’s degree program in accounting at universities, the number of students starting the program actually fell by 15%.
What made you think of starting an accounting and bookkeeping business remotely?
I’ve been in the staffing industry since 2015 and have noticed a shortage of qualified candidates in the accounting field. I’ve partnered with Typeqast and Hybrid IT Solutions, companies that do outsourcing for IT and the architecture industry, in order to investigate the need for outsourced accounting labor. Our shareholders from these companies already had a test case in IT sector and architecture where they offered remote professionals from Serbia to large Dutch companies and these companies have grown rapidly in the last 5 years.
After the research, we found that the accounting sector suffers from the same problems due to our ever growing economy. The number of vacancies in accounting has skyrocketed. Besides that, the big 4 already have enrolled in remote accounting and this has been very successful. At FinSsuperstars, we want to make these services available to other accounting firms and larger companies whose finance departments need to keep up with their growth.
What benefits do registered accounting firms have from partnering up with a remote firm like FinSuperstars?
The advantages are obvious: the talent pool in Novi Sad, where our offices are located, is very large. We can place enough young, well-educated, and motivated financial professionals who have been trained internally through our FinAcademy. This makes working with FinSuperstars scalable and cost-effective and can help your business grow.
What kind of services do you offer?
We offer a total of 4 services:
- Bookkeeping offices
We support administration offices to provide professionals who keep the administration and prepare the annual accounts.
- Audit firms (international)
Supporting audit firms in recruiting CPA/ACCA and PCOAB accredited young professionals.
- Audit firms (in the Netherlands)
Supporting Dutch accounting firms in the deployment of young professionals by standardizing and centralizing parts of the auditing process through a shared service concept.
- Large clients (international)
Supporting international companies in the recruitment of:
- Business controllers
- Reporting specialists (ESG)
- Finance business partners
- Financial controllers
- Financial data analysts and modelers
- Information security risk experts
Who are your employees, and what’s their level of education?
Our employees are young and talented accountants from Novi Sad, Serbia. They all have bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting and are proficient in English. In order to introduce them to Dutch accounting practices, we’ve prepared a special FinAcademy course that each of our employees should go through. This way, the employees are properly trained and certified for the right tools before they start. FinAcademy also includes courses for the following software solutions: AFAS, Exact Software, Twinfield – Basic, Advanced, Expert and Reeleezee.
Why did you choose Serbia?
Since our partners at Typeqast have been working with remote professionals from Serbia for years, we found that the people in Serbia have a good work ethic, education, and English proficiency. This was a good starting point. Furthermore, we researched and found out the great statistics about qualified finance professionals in Novi Sad. According to LinkedIn, Novi Sad has:
- Finance Analyst – more than 1100, 60% with more than 5 years of experience
- Finance Manager – more than 150, 90% of them with more than 5 years of experience
- Financial Controller – more than 150, 50% of them with more than 5 years of experience
- Bookkeeper – more than 100
- Financial Accountant – more than 100
What is it like to work with remote teams?
FinSuperstars has sales offices in the Netherlands with Dutch-speaking sales representatives. We also have a chartered accountant that has a track record of building a successful remote service center abroad. Our chartered accountant has the capability to professionally integrate the client’s wishes into an optimally functioning remote team that supports the client’s finance department.
If a prospect is interested in expanding his financial department, he books a personal meeting with our sales representative and our chartered accountant. At this meeting, the client’s needs are expressed and we begin the process of selecting the perfect candidate(s).
We have our own FinAcademy, where the selected candidates are trained and prepared to work with the client’s software. They are also trained to adapt to the client’s office culture. Based on our 5 years of experience in managing remote teams, we confident that each new employee will do exactly what they need to do and more. The time it takes to integrate your new employees is FinSuperstars’ investment. We calculate up to one month of preparation time to make your new employee a valuable asset to your company.
What kind of digital transformation does FinSupertstars offer?
Digital transformation in this case is based on the idea of shared services. With FinSuperstars, accounting firms and companies can standardize and automate their work processes and deploy analytical tools.
Why should accounting firms in the Netherlands choose FinSuperstars?
We offer our potential customers access to a large pool of talented financial professionals who’ll work as an extension of their company. Even though our employees are from Serbia, our clients have the support of Dutch management at all times. Thanks to the hybrid working model, working with FinSuperstars guarantees flexibility, as companies can deploy skilled accoutants only where and when they are needed. Our finance team has a high level of education, uses innovative approaches and drives digital transformation by using the latest robotics and cloud solutions.
How to get started with remote accounting?
If you’re ready to drive change in your business, or need more information about remote accounting for your specific needs, feel free to schedule a meeting with Marcel, CEO of the young, innovative company FSI.