SOI Case Study

How we’ve helped businesses grow

PWK Accounting Group

$100K a year on lost capacity – regained!


Phillip Efthimioiu is the director of pwkgroup – a Melbourne-based chartered accounting group. Originally a one-man band, Phillip grew the business from just him to now having a team of 6 and they’re looking to grow their team significantly again in 2018. The group’s clients range from small business through to larger sized clients.



“Congrats on celebrating 10 years in business this year! If you had to name your greatest challenge over that time, what would that be?”

About 18 months to two years ago, we were really struggling with the admin side of our accounting business. Our admin girl left and we really struggled with that side of things. We tried out three or four replacements. Unfortunately they just didn’t perform well. And that put a lot of pressure on the accountants.

Whilst we could manage the physical paperwork, where we were really struggling was with taking phone calls. Every time the phone would ring one of the accountants would answer it and that would knock each of us off task. Then it would take 15-20 mins to remember what where we were up to and regain focus. Our efficiencies were dropping off – a lot!


WOW – that’s more than $100,000. I’d never really figured that out before. I just knew it was a lot of capacity we were losing.

“What happened then?”

Well, that meant that we kept falling behind on lodgements – that’s never a good thing.  But even worse than that, we were all really stressed. That feeling of being constantly behind, gave us all a level of anxiety. And we just couldn’t find a solution. It felt like a really vicious cycle. Thankfully we found Roland from SOI.

“Why SOI’s virtual receptionist solution?”

It was quick and easy to set up, we could trial it. There was no lock-in period. And if it didn’t work we could just cancel. In the end it was a really easy decision. One I wish we’d found so much earlier.


 “If you were going to quantify your saving in time or money?”

I’m an accountant, so my answer is likely to be really conservative. So if we think about it in the following terms – the client would call. They’d catch you off guard. You’re not prepared in your own mind to talk to them right then. You take a minute to gather your thoughts on their situation, find the file, etc. You take the call. You do the thing they’re after, they might have another couple of questions and then you take 15-20 minutes to get back to what you were doing previously. We were just bleeding productivity.

So all that times 5 phone calls a day would be about 3 hours.  Times that by 5 days a week and 52 weeks a year. Then times it by our average charge out rate.

WOW – that’s more than $100,000. I’d never really figured that out before. I just knew it was a lot of capacity we were losing.

Now I’m even more thankful we found SOI!

“Did you have any concerns initially?”

Sure. I think our biggest concern was how it was going to work with people taking calls in Sydney. Our other concern was whether it would sound like a ‘call centre’. We wanted to know how it would sound when they answer PWK? Would it sound like us. And finally logistically how the call transfer would all work. But Roland worked his way through all my questions over a couple of calls.

But it all just works. In fact it works so well that one of our big clients the other commented on how great our receptionist was. I told the client how we work with SOI and he’s now looking at using SOI’s virtual receptionist service too.


“What was the most surprising thing that came out of working with SOI?”

We can take holidays and still be responsive. For example, we had Melbourne Cup recently on a Tuesday. So we also closed the office on the Monday. On the Monday, a big client of ours called and needed some documents sent to them. SOI took the call, emailed me the message with some detail around what was needed. I could then make the decision as to how best to handle it. I called the client straight back, explained I’d get her the files within a couple of hours. The client was rapt.

What would have happened previously, is that her call would have gone to an out of office answering machine on Monday. It would have been checked on Wednesday and that might have been too late. The client might have been angry and then we’d have to deal, not only with the work, but an angry client as well.

Or worse, previously an admin might have missed the message and forgotten to check the messages for a week or more. We’d might then have gotten an ‘ethical letter’ from another accountant explaining the client had changed accountants. When you’d ring them, the client would say, “I called several times and no-one got back to me”. That’s just mortifying. And it’s lose:lose all round.


“Any other outcomes you weren’t expecting?”

Yes, actually it allowed us the time to properly train our admin team members and get them doing the admin work. When you’re caught on the fly, you just think it’s going to be easier to do it all yourself. So you do. So then you’re paying your admin staff and you’re doing the admin work anyway. That’s just madness. Allowing SOI to take our calls means we can figure out who’s best to handle the work and we can say “I’ll get so and so to get that to you”.

It’s not that we don’t want to talk to our clients. It’s just that it works so much better from a productivity point of view when you have a list of who you’re going to talk to, you’re prepared for the call and you can just batch everything up together. There’s no stop, start, less anxiety. And the most appropriate person is doing what needs to be done.


“What would you say to someone considering SOI’s virtual reception service?”

Just do it – trial it for a month. You’ll never look back. I highly recommend it.

For the first time, we’ll be ahead of the workload. And that’s going to give us time as a team to focus on new business. Everyone wants that. Let SOI help you reclaim your time.

Contact us today to tailor a solution for your business.