We continue to profile business owners in the Philippines from all walks of life. From locals to foreigner across the restaurant, retail and business process outsourcing (BPO) industries, each sharing their experience and feedback of operating in the archipelago.
Today, we bring you accounting and payroll BPO executive Stefan Vermeulen, CEO of D&V Philippines.
1. Where are you from and what brought you to the Philippines?
I am born and raised in Nijmegen, a beautiful 2,000 (!) year old small city in the east of the Netherlands, right at the German border. As an internal auditor for Sara Lee in 2000 I was sent to the Philippines to audit the local Sara Lee subsidiaries. I worked on this assignment together with an auditor from EY who 2 years later became my wife. Early 2003 we subsequently moved to the Netherlands. In 2011 we decided to move to Manila because of the business opportunities and to set up D&V Philippines.
2. What does D&V Philippines do?
D&V Philippines is a professional services firm specializing in finance and accounting. Our clients are based in Australia (75%), USA (15%), the UK (5%) and various other countries (Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Hong Kong, New Zealand). In addition we have a unit focusing on local Philippine based clients.
3. Who is your ideal client?
For our international business either a CFO looking to outsource part of the finance and accounting function, an accounting firm looking for an extension of their practice in the Philippines, or an entrepreneur seeking to outsource bookkeeping and accounting tasks.
For our local business, foreigners who want to incorporate and start a business in the Philippines. We serve as their gateway to the Philippines.
4. What common challenges do foreigners come across operating in the Philippines
Mainly cultural differences. In my opinion culture trumps everything so it is really important to understand the culture before you start operating in the Philippines.
5. What services do you provide?
Everything you would expect from an accountant or a bookkeeper. Day-to-day bookkeeping like accounts payable/receivable processing, bank reconciliations, expense report processing and payroll processing and the like, but also higher end services like monthly financial close, monthly reporting, management accounting, financial analysis, business analysis etc. In addition various compliance tasks for our target markets Australia, UK and USA. Our niche is finance and accounting so everything within that realm.
Our local unit also includes setting up a corporation or branch, advice on tax incentives and all (annual and payroll) compliance, except statutory audit.
6. What advice would you give an entrepreneur moving into the Philippines, that you wish you knew before moving to the country?
Understand the culture first prior to engaging and starting a business. Invest time to visit and learn about the country.
7. What do your clients like about using PayrollHero?
Cloud based and technology driven product. Easy to use.
8. What do you read to keep yourself up to date with your industry and the clients you are serving?
Professional literature in the field of finance, controlling and accounting.
9. How do you see your industry changing over the next few years?
The job of a bookkeeper will disappear. Manual data-entry, e.g. accounts payable and expense report processing, will be completely automated. The technology is already available in the cloud. As a result it is possible for startups, for instance, to automate all transaction processing from day one.
10. Any other tips for entrepreneurs opening up in the Philippines?
Philippines is a fantastic and great country with a huge amount of talented people…. I suggest that they visit, explore and take time to get to know the culture.