AdvanceTrack catches up with its new APAC General Manager Craig McKell. Craig’s tech and accounting experience will hold him in good stead to drive AdvanceTrack forward in both Australia and the wider Asia Pacific region.


Current role and responsibilities

I’m driving marketing and sales for AdvanceTrack in Australia and New Zealand, as general manager Asia-Pacific.

What is your background?

It’s fair to describe my career as split into two. Firstly, I worked as a chartered accountant in Australia within professional services and consulting firms. I started as a trainee at Price Waterhouse (before it became PricewaterhouseCoopers and later PwC) and eventually became a partner at EY.

And then second part of my career: in the early 2000s, like a lot of people, I got headhunted into an ‘e-business’ start-up. Following a second stint at PwC, I found myself driving sales for this organisation, living on airplanes and in airport lounges, flying around Asia selling telco technology to the tier 1 organisations.

The transition came into effect because at PwC I had spent time in its risk management (GRMS – Global Risk Management Solutions) and e-business divisions, giving presentations and educating clients on e-business (remember that??!). A company called Teradyne was funding an internal start-up and they asked me to join to head up their new Australian business. It was all very exciting, but I found myself leaving an accounting world of numbers, rigour and process for a sales world where there was absolutely none of that. And in that absence, came the idea for what is now RevenueTEK.

I started RevenueTEK in 2005 as a consulting offering inside EY’s Strategic Growth Markets business. When I left in 2009 at the height of the global financial crisis, the firm was kind enough to allow me to take the IP that I had created with me. Essentially RevenueTEK is an organisation that applies mathematics and process optimisation disciplines to business sales pipelines – combining my two areas of expertise and quite frankly, passion.

How did you get the role?

A friend of mine, Ian Briggs (a recruiter), contacted me out of the blue and said: “I think I have someone you should talk to.” That someone was Vipul Sheth, CEO and founder of AdvanceTrack. Ian was right.

In August 2023 I heard Vipul give a talk about his belief in the trusted adviser status of accounting practitioners, and the immense value they provide – when they want to. It really resonated with me. We then chatted and just clicked. Those who know Vipul know that he has a very engaging style – full of integrity, humility, and honesty. While I wasn’t looking for a “job” per se, I was interested in getting involved in something compelling and making a difference. I could almost immediately feel Vipul and I could work well together.

I have a pretty good network here in Australia and 35+ years of experience across professional accounting and technology. It’s already proving to be an interesting challenge for me because it turns out there’s a lot more to outsourcing accountants than meets the eye… as the entire global accounting profession is beginning to realise.

Tell us more about Australian accountants and the software industry?

Australians are big embracers of technology. We’ve always been enthusiastic early-adopters. Accountants, while naturally and professionally conservative, aren’t dismissive of new things, providing someone else has done something and proved it works. Many of them have tried offshoring – but generally those experiences have been poor. So naturally, as a cohort, they’re sceptical now, even though they accept the need to do it.

Few here in Australia have explored outsourcing (versus offshoring). There are two main reasons for that. Firstly, because very few of the “providers” here have the capability to take on outsourcing. They’re recruiters really; they source people in India or the Philippines (or elsewhere) and they ‘employ’ them on the accounting firm’s behalf. But basically, they’re recruiters. By nature and definition that whole model is very transactional. It also depends for its viability on the opportunity to arbitrage the salary differentials between countries. For any number of reasons, it’s a world away from outsourcing.

So, unlike places like the UK, Australian firms’ experiences have most come courtesy of recruiters effectively acting as the outsourcing arbiter – however, recruiters are transactional and won’t support the practices through the consultative and integrative aspects of utilising ‘dislocated’ staff.

A lot of firms struggle to run their own HR processes effectively. Parachuting in offshored staff won’t help if that’s the case – and while it’s an elephant in most rooms, it’s nonetheless the truth. Handing a HR mess off to an offshore recruiter may find you people, but it’ll end up making the underlying problem worse rather than better.

Practices have looked to the major accountancy tech platforms to provide answers. But they’re selling transactional accounting engines, not people management solutions.

I’d certainly challenge the practices and ask: Do you want to be a reseller of tech, or a client-driven adviser? With the waves of compliance that clients and firms face, outsourcing – if used effectively – can be a boon, as seen by AdvanceTrack’s UK practice partners.

What do you expect it to entail? How have the first months gone?

It’s been good. The first few months have been a learning experience, and now we’re into the new year we can push on. I feel like I’m in a good place; I’m working with an organisation with integrity, and they offer a genuine, well-thought-out solution to the acute shortage of accountants. A problem, incidentally, which isn’t going away any time soon.

What does success in your role, and for AdvanceTrack, look like?

AdvanceTrack is actually an accounting firm itself. What we’re offering that sets us apart from just about every other provider in the market is an extension of an accounting firm. It’s like bolting on another firm, just one that’s in India rather than Australia or New Zealand or wherever. I think that’s a big reason for why it has been so successful in the UK in recent years. Vipul invested in technology and process – to make sure that it works and scales, alongside great people with good technical and communication skills… as I said, like a great accounting firm. I’ll consider myself a success if I help make AdvanceTrack the outsourcer of choice for top firms in ANZ. If we continue to grow, we’ll earn the reputation that AdvanceTrack has earnt in the UK and Ireland. When you do good things, good things then follow!

We chat with operations director Arjun Brahmbhatt about his journey with AdvanceTrack, and how accountancy practices have come to appreciate our outsourcing values.

Current role and responsibilities

I’m director of operations here at AdvanceTrack. As the senior team member for our Indian operations my role is to manage client relationships, delivery standards and ensure that quality is maintained.

What is your background?

I joined AdvanceTrack back in 2008. It was my first assignment! I’d completed my Indian chartered accountancy qualifications and then joined AdvanceTrack directly after doing so.

When I joined, UK practice and business was new to me – I had good accounting knowledge but needed more. AdvanceTrack founder Vipul Sheth supported me in developing my accounting, bookkeeping and payroll skills – and of course we still deliver these services today.

Since then, my role has changed to become the teacher, and managing the team. Training is an ongoing process, as is reviewing work.

What is the future for you and AdvanceTrack?

At AdvanceTrack we’ve always been very particular about how we undertake our work – strong processes and with robust security.

Before Covid we would often find resistance from practices that were not so concerned about some of our ‘checks and balances’ – wanting things done quickly or in different ways.

But, as things have developed, clients now appreciate and value our way of working – Referrals are growing and we are becoming bigger. We are also a ‘pure’ outsourcer/offshorer – it is our only focus, which is not always the case in the market.

Our next step is growing the business in other regions – it is an exciting time!


A demanding and challenging year – but a rewarding one for both AdvanceTrack and its accountancy partners.

In a stuttering economy, one held back by high inflation and interest rates, AdvanceTrack celebrated its 20th year in business; a highlight was our annual conference at the British Museum.

Despite the tough conditions, we have seen outsourcing and offshoring appreciated as a key plank of the operational and strategic direction for accountancy practices. And not just in the UK, but across the world.

Practices’ services have been in demand, and we have worked more closely than ever with them to work through resourcing bottlenecks or, more often the case, as the backbone of their core services. In doing so we’re very proud to have maintained compound growth of 60%… Can we do that again in 2024? Well, that’s a tough ask – but not too shabby for a 20-year-old business!

Opportunity and investment

Keeping such a level of growth requires investment, opportunity and ambition. Seasoned accountancy tech pro Dermot Hamblin joined the team in the spring as sales director, and our longest-serving team members were awarded with a five-day trip to Dubai.

Staff numbers have increased, as have our office locations. We expect numbers of both to rise again in the next 12 months.

Speaking of our team – it seems a great opportunity to announce that former EY partner Craig McKell has joined AdvanceTrack. Based in Sydney, Australia, the chartered accountant will support our growth in the Asia-Pacific region. Craig has run a tech business for more than ten years and understands the steps to scale an organisation. AdvanceTrack has a core of experienced professionals managing at both strategic and operational levels. As important, we’re ready to take things to the next stage.

Our conduct and service

What we don’t expect to change at AdvanceTrack is our commitment to both service and our conduct. We consider ourselves as values-based, and we like to think that our accountancy firm partners would vouch for us as living to our principles.

The practice market

It’s been spoken about in recent blogs, but we will say it again: the inner workings of practices must be streamlined, efficient and provide insight to the clientele. Without these things in place then everything becomes much harder for the practice to operate day-to-day or to make a good profit. And, inevitably, margins erode.

Even though the working world is tough, practitioners are in a great position to support their end clients through the sharing of important and timely financial or business information – whether it’s cashflow advice, debt restructuring, credit control or more. My biggest concern is practices not grasping the nettle of automation, process improvement and tech investment to streamline and make efficient their core compliance services. Perhaps more will come out in the wash during 2024.

We see audit as a huge area of growth for practices and, therefore, us too. Our audit services offering will grow in the next 12 months as firms look to manage resources. Management accounts and bookkeeping will also be critical. We will make another big round of investment in our tech – and no doubt there will be more chatter and developments in the AI space too.

The next 12 months will be transformative in the way we deliver services to clients, and perhaps your firm is looking to achieve the same thing too. Let’s see what we can do together.

Vipul Sheth is founder and MD of AdvanceTrack Outsourcing

The Big Four seem to find talent and resource management easy… and we can apply some of their approach to make your people requirements easier, too.


Talent management in the Big Four firms is very different to that of other practices. But there are lessons that can be learnt from their approach.

Due to their scale (and reputation), they can hire en masse; which is particularly useful when steering their services towards the latest disruptive regulatory changes that drive multinational clients in their direction.

And, as we’ve seen with the news of 800 job cuts at Deloitte, when that wave of work is about to break, they take the opportunity to change tack and steer themselves ready for the next wave to come along.

You may think that smaller firms should, by definition, be more ‘agile’ than the Big Four. But, they don’t have the same pull (in a recruitment sense) as the biggest firms. They simply don’t have a mass of people that can be utilised on different tasks and projects. The room to manoeuvre isn’t the same.

From talent, to resource

But we can learn from their model. Because, behind the front-facing engagement partners and consultants, the biggest firms manage their margin (and resource) by utilising huge shared-service centres. And a version of this model is available to practices of practically all denominations – we should know because we work with them.

Working with an outsourcing and offshoring partner, you can create vital flexibility into your resource management. This, in turn, helps you better develop and utilise your own internal talent.

Talent management can mean a number of things – in the short- to medium-term it can relate to developing and offering a new service, or the best service possible. Without wishing to go too off-topic, it’s worth remembering that in the longer-term, it relates to practice sustainability and succession planning.

Outsourcing and offshoring sit more on the resources side of things. We’re not here to ‘replace talent’ or ‘take away jobs’. Instead, we enable practices to focus on their clients and their people. We like to think that we’re also very efficient and good value for both what we offer; and what we free your firm’s people to achieve.

The second lesson? Well, this may be a bit controversial. If the people leaving the biggest firms haven’t quite worked out there, then they might not be the answer to your talent issue either. Even great people can find it hard working in a smaller practice compared to a Big Four firm, particularly where they haven’t been client-facing (which is generally a requirement in smaller practice – I know from having trained in such an office).

But please don’t look at the Big four with envy. There are options available to your firm, and we’d be happy to discuss them with you.

Vipul Sheth is MD of AdvanceTrack Outsourcing

Our latest FAQ details our team in India, from the perspective of MD Vipul Sheth: who they are, their working environment, and why they’re critical to our outsourcing and offshoring offerings.

In 2005 we had five people operating in one of our locations – now our team number is in the hundreds. One of those original five was Rajni, who has been a constant for us and has helped to set the culture and tone of our much-enlarged group – hopefully in my mirror of being honest; decent people wanting to do a good job.

It’s also a place where people must feel safe to make it their own – certainly when you don’t have the big boss watching over things every day.

The office

If any of our client firms had an office like ours then I think they’d be proud to call it their own. It’s spacious and paperless (the exception being HR’s printer – some formal documents HAVE to be printed). It’s contemporary and modern.

We have meeting rooms, smaller breakout spaces and canteens across all our four offices. We want our people to step away from their desks during breaks – we don’t want too much of a production line-style way of working.


No mobile phones are allowed in the office for security reasons – that even means guests. Recently the IPL cricket was reaching its crescendo, and people on their break would watch it in the canteen and relay the scores when back at their desk.

There are metal detectors to pass when you arrive, along with lockers for valuables (such as the mobile phone) – for visitors and staff.


We have very happy and productive teams, and recently we took our longest-serving members to Dubai (click here to read more).

Even though our team numbers are growing quickly, we have plenty of people to help them settle into our way of working. It’s incredibly calm, and make sure the work’s done. But it’s important to appreciate and represent the social side of things too.

Vipul Sheth is founder and MD of AdvanceTrack

If you’d like to speak to us about your practice, and how it would work with the AdvanceTrack team, please contact us by clicking here.

We catch up with AdvanceTrack’s new sales director Dermot Hamblin, and discuss his current role, along with his storied background in accountancy and tech.

Current role and responsibilities

I’m the new sales director – AdvanceTrack MD Vipul Sheth and I have known each other for a long time. Vipul has high values and lives by them, which I support.

He’s asked me to help continue AdvanceTrack’s growth. I’ve always had a passion to ensure that existing clients are well looked after, so I’m not just here to win new work. The opportunity in this sector is great, and I want to play a positive part in the AdvanceTrack team.

What is your background?

Well, I started in accountancy tech way back in 1996. I was, in fact, employee number 44 on IRIS’s payroll. I was there for ten years before working for a construction company.

I moved back into the professional tech sector with Thomson Reuters Digita and then launched Panalitix’s entry into the UK – my expertise is supporting vendors with their go-to-market strategies. I’ve also been a long-standing coach to accountants.

What is the future for you and AdvanceTrack?

Accountants want someone who tells it to them straight: no crazy demos. I’ll speak sensibly with them and discuss the business case. We want to make accountancy practices greater than they already are. Firms are realising that outsourcing and offshoring are viable options to enable them to be more productive, flexible, and to scale up.

I also see geographies that AdvanceTrack can expand into, as well as a broadening of its services – it’s a very exciting time. I’m really excited by our audit offering.

How can accountants contact you?

I can be reached at de************@ad**********.com and I’d welcome the opportunity to chat with either potential or existing clients.

In the first of a regular series, we chat to AdvanceTrack team member about their work, what makes them tick, and what lies ahead for accountants and AdvanceTrack.

Our inaugural interviewee is AdvanceTrack CTO Ian Gregory.

Current role and responsibilities

As CTO I have a wide range of IT-focused areas to look after. These include: AdvanceTrack’s client portal; any customer-related IT; our support desk; training; and I have a dotted line into our India operation, overseeing their IT. I don’t really have a spare moment!

It’s quite a general role – there’s responsibility too, for business continuity and security. It really is the whole IT spectrum for India and the UK.

How long have you served with AdvanceTrack, and what is your background?

I’ve spent six years at AdvanceTrack. My career began in engineering and academia, before moving into industry and then management consultancy. I served as a freelance IT consultant in various industries including private healthcare where I cut my security teeth. I’d known Vipul for more than 15 years before having the conversation about joining AdvanceTrack.

Why is AdvanceTrack an exciting place to work? How you see its direction of travel?

In the six years that I’ve worked here we’ve gone from a ‘fast-growing business’ to a ‘large and fast growing business’! We’re now at a scale where we have a much larger team, and that brings its own challenges.

The external assurance we receive from the ISO and BSI is also making us think very hard about how we work. It’s much more than just signing up for a certificate – the standards help us think through exactly how we do things and ensure that any gaps are closed; it’s a good discipline and keeps us on our toes. 

AdvanceTrack is moving into new markets, such as North America, Australia and New Zealand. Following the pandemic, we’ve developed new product lines and services, such as dedicated seats and audit – which is very much a new space for the outsourcing sector. This means there is a continual stream of new processes and systems for me to put in place.