Ants – leading accounting firm in Georgia
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Quality accounting services, timely and accurate lodgement of tax returns, risk factor assessment, and obtaining and analyzing financial data are critical to long-term business success. Far too often, unqualified accountants have led companies to significant financial losses, and sometimes even to bankruptcy, so, today, businesses are even more aware of the importance of quality accounting services.
AccountAnts, or Ants, is one of the largest accounting firms in the Georgian market. It has been a leading company for eight years, offering sophisticated, smooth, and high-quality accounting services to companies operating in Georgia, using the latest accounting and communication software systems. A team of young, energetic, and experienced professionals ensures that the privacy of the company's clients is protected, and that all their accounting needs are met.
How was Ants established?
When we think of ants – the insects – we picture hard work and organization, and these are exactly the values that have become part of Ants' identity; values that fully integrated into the company's organizational culture today.
The leading accounting company was founded by three friends - Nika Tsiklauri, Nika Mchedlishvili, and Dima Basilashvili - back in 2015, and they have been friends since university. All three of them are business management graduates of the Free University and have accumulated many exciting experiences in the industry since then.
For years, Nika Tsiklauri worked as a senior auditor at Ernst&Young, a Big 4 auditing company member. Later, he moved to the Georgian Healthcare Group ("GHG"), which includes several large companies like GPC, Pharmadepot, Imedi L, Evex Hospitals, Evex Clinics, and Ekimo. Today, he heads GHG's Financial Department, and is also a member of the supervisory board of Evex Clinics, Ekimo and Vabako.
Nika has several internationally acclaimed certifications, among them a CFA - the world's leading international certification in financial analysis, investment management, quantitative analysis, capital, loans, and financial derivatives; an ACCA - the world's leading international certification in accounting based on International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS); a CAIA - the world's leading international certification in the analysis of alternative investments (hedge funds, private equity, and venture capital); an FRM - the world's leading international certification in financial risk management; and a PMP - the world's leading international certification in project management.
Nika Mchedlishvili has many years of experience working in managerial positions in the leading banks of Georgia- TBC Bank, Tera Bank, and Liberty Bank. Today, Nika is Head of the Reporting and IFRS Standards Compliance Department of Liberty Bank. Nika also holds an advanced diploma in ACCA.
Dima Basilashvili worked for two years as a financial reporting manager at GPI Holding. Later, he held the position of Financial Director at Toyota Center Tegeta. At various times, Dima has also held senior managerial positions in several large organizations. Today, he is the Managing Partner of Ants.
With their accumulated years of experience working in leading Georgian and international companies, the founders of Ants knew well the existing issues in the industry. Their clients had often voiced concern over the mistakes made by accountants that resulted in financial losses and the forced closure of services. Solving the problem was their inspiration: the company's founders decided to apply their knowledge and experience and help their clients – and that's how Ants was born.
Ants aims to offer small and medium-sized businesses the high quality accounting, financial and tax services that large companies can access, a disparity that can lead to financial distress for small and medium-sized businesses. Ants' team is there to solve this imbalance innovatively and help companies succeed financially.
What advantages does Ants have over other accounting firms?
An outsourced accounting service for any company is sure to be of both higher quality and more effective. In many cases, outsourcing accounting costs less than hiring an in-house accountant. For small and medium-sized companies, hiring a qualified accountant full-time is less cost-efficient because they will use less than 100% of the accountant's time and often get the same result as with only a third or quarter of that time. Meanwhile, for large companies which boast a full accounting and tax department, purchasing quality accounting software is often quite expensive. Coming in with the perfect solution, Ants' automated systems and modern approaches allow such companies to receive accounting services at a lower cost, with better efficiency guaranteed.
"Ants offers high-quality accounting and tax services with a three-level control system," Dima tells us. "The bookkeeping is checked by our chief accountant, then by the portfolio manager, and finally by our internal auditor. If an error is found, Ants takes responsibility for any fines and fees incurred with the tax office. Most importantly, by cooperating with us, our clients gain a reliable partner in tax and accounting matters."
What services does Ants offer?
The Ants team endeavours to provide its clients with rapid, simple, and flexible services. Ants offers companies three types of outsourcing services:
• Outsourcing of accounting services – Ants becomes the company's trusted accountant and ensures full compliance with state and international accounting standards and tax regulations;
• Tax services – the team of experienced tax accountants will leave no question unanswered. Ants provides tax monitoring and compliance services tailored to its clients' needs;
• Outsourced Financial Management – which includes financial budgeting, analysis, reporting, and transaction planning.
Today, Ants provides services to more than 480 recurring clients monthly. The annual increase in the number of clients proves that Ants has professional acumen. The company cares about customer satisfaction and conducts a customer satisfaction survey biannually. Using that feedback, Ants' managers ensure continuous improvement of its services.
According to external research, more than 90% of Ants' clients would recommend the company's services to their peers.
Along with numerous clients, Ants has partnered with several big companies in Georgia, among them Bank of Georgia (BOG) and Medialab.
Within the partnership agreement with BOG, companies who sign up for Ants accounting services and organize their accounting will benefit from a 0.5% lower interest rate on loans and will enjoy simplified procedures and other benefits.
The Ants team conducts free training in managing financial issues and offers discounts on all services to startups at Medialab. With Impact Hub Tbilisi, Ants offers free consultations and discounts to participating companies within the partnership agreement.
"During the past eight years, we have implemented dozens of large projects, including projects financed by international organizations, which aimed to foster the financial development of Georgian businesses, standardizing accounting practices, and supporting Georgian entrepreneurs," - says Nika Tsiklauri, co-founder of the company. "We are currently actively collaborating with the Bank of Georgia on the project 'Digitalization of Accounting,' which means Ants' client companies can instantly receive information on the available credit limit, open a bank account free of charge, receive a business package as a gift, and have a credit limit promptly approved. Most importantly, companies that sign up for our services receive a 0.5% lower interest rate on their loans."
Customer feedback on Ants' services
AccountAnts' client base is diverse and spans many industries – including IT, construction, and agriculture. Interested in customer feedback on Ants, Entrepreneur spoke to several of them directly.
Cardeal.ge - an online platform for selling used cars, has been a client of Ants for four years. Director of the company Zura Bakuridze tells us the advantage of outsourcing services and highly qualified personnel are the reasons he entrusted his company's accounting and financial management matters to the Ants team.
Zura himself talked to other startup companies first, and says he heard only positive feedback on Ants' services. "One of the main advantages of AccounAnts is that they work remotely, with minimal communication, and yet are totally able to manage accounting and other financial matters for us. In addition, they provide consultation on various issues; they have experts who discuss our problems and then come up with solutions. Their services are not limited to accounting or tax, but include strategy development and financial consulting," he says.
Geosoft, the official partner of Google Workspace and Google Cloud in Georgia, is another satisfied customer of Ants' diverse services offerings. The company has been cooperating with Ants for two years. As Andro Meskoradze, director of Geosoft, notes, "Ants' tailored service allows me and my team to devote all our time to the growth and development of the company and to entrust financial issues to the Ants team."
"As the organization grows, accounting, financial analysis and payment systems become vital components for running the business smoothly," Andro tells us. "During the rigorous selection process, we talked to several accounting firms, including Ants. Their expertise and professionalism were evident, so we looked no further and partnered with them. Today, we have a great result, and I no longer worry about financial management and accounting issues. What I especially like about working with Ants is that they are very easy to communicate with. In addition to the fact that we get an answer to any question very promptly, they also share with us in plain language what is needed to be done, the reasons, and the potential consequences of our actions."
Another satisfied customer is Kvalifika - a high-tech business that simplifies the process of user verification for companies, including Georgian banks. As the company's founder, Gabriel Meliva, tells us, over the past six years, he has accumulated many positive experiences from working with Ants.
"The Ants team provides us with both accounting and financial reporting services. We had a specific project where we were required to provide continuous reporting, and Ants stood up to the challenge. They provide their services meticulously, and I no longer have to worry about the financial side of the business. We really like their approach: a young team that provides high-quality service, without any barriers in communication," - Gabriel says.
The AccounAnts Team
Today, more than 80 professionals are employed in Ants, including accountants with experience in accounting services of various industries and businesses, as well as tax experts, financial management, and reporting specialists with more than 15 years of experience in tax disputes and financial management.
"Ants is an unequivocally modern company, with the latest accounting systems and verified international methodologies. We pay great attention to finding qualified, professional, growth-oriented employees, as well as keeping our employees motivated. A motivated and skilled employee ensures the speed, simplicity and high quality of our services," - says co-founder, Nika Mchedlishvili.
In Ants, the satisfaction of both clients and employees is especially valued and taken care of. The special department for Employee and Customer Experience is managed separately from HR, and its sole purpose is to ensure a positive employee experience within the company.
The typical employee benefits are:
• Frequent employee retreats and various fun activities to de-stress;
• Opportunity for rapid career growth;
• Opportunity to work with the latest technologies and software;
• Frequent internal and external training and upskilling;
• Paid external courses, certifications.
The company's future plans.
Throughout the years, Ants had to overcome many obstacles, and managed to turn these obstacles into opportunities. Unlike many accounting firms on the market, Ants is a Georgian company, not a local branch of an international company. That's why it was twice as hard to gain customers' trust when taking its first steps. The depth of services offered, the company's unique personalized approach, and accounting and communication systems adapted to the Georgian tax code, which minimizes the probability of errors, as well as methodologies corresponding to the latest international practices for controlling the quality of service and customer satisfaction, convinced the current Ants clients of its reliability and high-quality service.
"Today, Ants provides services to the largest number of clients among all accounting companies on the Georgian market. This success is driven by the fact that our industry, to a large extent, depends on 'word of mouth' - customers who come through the recommendations of their friends. The high level of satisfaction of our clients led to the spread of positive recommendations, which eventually led the company to significant success," says Nika Tsiklauri.
Upon establishment, Ants set three main goals for themselves:
• Implementing a system that minimizes the probability of accounting errors and tax risks;
• Creating a positive working environment for employees;
• Ensuring a high level of customer satisfaction.
As Nika Mchedlishvili mentioned in his conversation with Entrepreneur, in order to achieve these goals, the Ants team first prioritized working on the operational part of the company and paid less attention to marketing activities. However, today, all three goals are being achieved, and the company can focus on attracting high-potential employees as well as client companies through its marketing activities.
In addition, after eight years of successfully operating in Georgia, Ants is actively working on extending its services to international markets. The company already has clients in the USA and the United Kingdom, and aims to build its clientele abroad. So, very soon, we should expect exciting news from the leading Georgian accounting firm.