How Two INAA Members Joined Forces to Extend Their Geographical Reach
While it’s easy for businesses to hunker down and ride out the storm of COVID-19, we’re proud to hear about our members adapting to new challenges and finding innovative solutions to thrive through unprecedented times.
Now, more than ever is a time for accountancy firms to unite, share knowledge and build collaborative relationships to steer the industry towards calmer seas. We sat down with two INAA members, Lee Hua from Wong, Lee & Associates LLP and Johannes Runtuwene from Johannes Juara & Rekan to discuss their recent collaboration.
Join us as we explore how the two firms are working together to service clients across multiple geographies and overcome unprecedented obstacles.
When Jakarta-based accountancy firm, Johannes Juara & Rekan, was approached by a French oil and gas service provider last month, the firm’s Managing Partner, Johannes Runtuwene explains how he was unable to meet the client’s requirements due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. While his firm has an established Indonesian presence, the client was looking for affordable and professional audit services across both Indonesia and Singapore.
Nevertheless, Johannes and his team were determined to find a solution and present the client with a highly-competitive proposal that they couldn’t resist. He explains how he reached out to the INAA community to find Wong, Lee & Associates LLP — a Singapore-based firm of just over twenty employees who said they could help.
After hearing that Wong, Lee & Associates LLP were looking to take on new clients, Johannes and Lee began to discuss how they could collaborate to create a winning proposal for the French client.
Johannes explained that while the client typically used one of the Big Four accounting firms to conduct their international audits, COVID-induced budget cutbacks meant they were looking for a smaller firm that could maintain the same professional quality, but with significantly reduced fees.
Following a week of back and forth via email, the two accounting firms settled upon a proposal that they were both happy with. At the end of May, the pair were delighted to hear that they had been selected from a competitive shortlist of international rivals to conduct comprehensive audits across the client’s Jakarta and Singapore branches.
Considering this was their first professional collaboration, their ability to agree upon terms, pool resources and maintain a cost-efficient approach in a matter of days reflects their versatile and highly-adaptive approach.
Adopting Innovative Processes to Enable Remote Working
After commencing work in the first week of June, both Johannes and Lee explained how they faced a number of challenges amidst the lockdown restrictions.
Lee described how the different responses of each country meant it was tricky to align processes and agree upon realistic timelines. That said, both firms were extremely complimentary of the way in which their new business partner was able to adapt to the ongoing situation and make allowances to cater to their specific needs.
Case in point — Lee describes the challenges associated with being a business owner in Singapore throughout the pandemic. Singapore’s Circuit Breaker meant that since April 7th, she was the only person from her firm that was permitted to work from their offices. She explains her difficulty in trying to juggle her day-to-day responsibilities as well as handling the administrative tasks that are usually carried about by her team members.
Despite the initial panic, Lee and her colleagues have successfully adapted to the new working conditions and implemented an innovative audit software to streamline admin-intensive processes. The firm has invested heavily in employee training to ensure team members are equipped with the tools they need to operate from home and collaborate effectively.
Lee reported that her team had managed to churn through ten filing deadlines in April, despite the difficult circumstances. She explains how the challenges of COVID-19 presented the perfect opportunity to bring the team together, refresh outdated processes and push for positive results.
Wong, Lee & Associates LLP's successful efforts to stay on top of their workload in April meant they were in a position to accept Johannes’ offer to collaborate over the coming months.
Here at INAA, we’re extremely excited about the prospect of two of our members finding common ground and working together to open opportunities for international growth. While it’s easy to hold-up your defences when the going gets tough, we believe a collaborative approach is necessary to help organisations broaden their horizons and explore new avenues.
Global associations provide an invaluable opportunity for accounting firms to service clients across multiple geographies and build lucrative professional relationships that cross entire oceans. Lee and Johannes’ ‘can-do’ attitude in the face of adversity is a prime example of how associations can open doors to a world of exciting opportunities that wouldn’t be possible as a stand-alone firm.
Going forward, we’re excited to hear about how these two firms continue to nurture their relationship and leverage the INAA network to elevate their global presence.
Take Your Business Global With INAA
INAA is an International Association of Independent Accounting firms, established over 25 years ago to facilitate cross-border business. Our increasingly globalised world means it’s more important than ever to establish common goals and collaborate as a united force for good.
We connect accounting firms who are committed to delivering quality professional services and sharing their expert knowledge with clients.
Join today to experience the benefits of collaborative accounting.