To Outsource Or Not To Outsource Accounting Work: That Is The Question
Outsourcing or offshoring is a common practice in today’s accounting world, yet it still encounters much resistance. Why is that?
Some of the common concerns include:
· Privacy: What happens to your data? Is it encrypted or stored securely? Could someone hack into it? Could it be shared with third parties?
· Accountability: Maybe you’ve heard stories of reports coming back full of errors and the providers denying blame.
· Trust and reliability: If you are not there to oversee things, how can you be sure that your providers will do what they say they will do? Will they prioritise your work and meet your deadlines?
· Quality control: Can they do the job to your expectations and follow professional standards?
· Turnover, re-hiring and retraining: Training anyone new can drain your time and resource when they are in your office. How much worse will this be when you hire and train people overseas and they only stay with you for a few months? You’ll have to start all over again.
These concerns are all quite valid, however, they shouldn’t stop you from considering outsourcing as an option. The chances are, you’ve been through this whole process before with your office cleaner. True, you might not have found the right person first off, but that probably didn’t put you off looking for someone else. After all, you didn’t want to have to clean the floors and toilets yourself, did you?
Think about it. A good cleaner respects your privacy and only accesses the areas you give them permission to. They don’t tell others about all the things you get up to. You can trust them with the office keys and alarm code and trust that they will turn up when they are supposed to. They know that if they don’t do a great job, they’ll be out the door. And, if you are both happy with the relationship, they’ll want to work with you for as long as possible.
If you can delegate this sort of mundane work, why not delegate other mundane or repetitive work, too? It’s all a matter of scale.
5 Tips For Managing An Offshore Accounting Team
1. Do your homework. Can they do what you want them to do? Use a reputable provider and make sure they understand your company, your clients, your expectations, and your requirements before you make a decision.
2. Let them do their job and avoid micromanaging them. This not only helps to build trust, but it frees up your own time for more profitable work.
3. Have clear and well-documented policies and procedures and be open to constructive feedback on them.
4. Be aware of how you treat your offshore team. You want them to feel like any other member of your staff, so avoid being condescending and get to know them a little, especially if you have a small team.
5. Get the right people working on the right things for the right amount of time. Anything else wastes both time and money.
Other Members Of Your Offshore Team
Some say that the future of offshore accounting services is limited as these roles will become redundant with advancements in accounting automation. What’s more likely is that the nature of these services will change and that you’ll end up using a customised combination of both offshore and automated services.
There will also always be a need for related roles such as personal assistants, sales support managers, and media strategists. Many savvy offshore accounting suppliers are already hiring people for these roles as they’ll become invaluable for growing accounting firms and using a single supplier helps keep everything streamlined.
To keep your business agile enough to remain competitive in the future, you’ll need a flexible workforce, and, for accounting firms looking to expand, offshoring ticks all the boxes.
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Many of the themes in this article came from Episode 46 Outsourcing - The Good, The Bad And The Ugly presented by Paul Meissner and David Boyer. Paul & David are passionate CA's who care deeply about the accounting industry.
Paul quit his accounting day job seven years ago and now owns and runs the Melbourne-based firm, 5ways Group Chartered Accountants, and his online Freedom Accounting System firm which allows him to travel and work from anywhere.
For the last 4 years, David has worked as a Virtual CFO. At the start of 2016 he co-founded the Virtual CFO Association and in December 2016 his company, Sequel VCFO began franchising to mobilise the experienced work force of accountants in industry and bring their expertise to SMEs.
Together with their impressive list of guest presenters, Paul and David are the brave souls needed to fight through the noise and give accountants in practice the support and information they deserve.
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