A study by accounting company Grant Thornton reveals that 40% or two in five of businesses are open to outsourcing business processes, climbing to 43% of larger businesses, where economies of scale mean outsourcing can have a greater impact. These firms believe that outsourcing will provide them a competitive edge.
Previously, we have tackled the main drivers of a successful outsourcing experience. Now we’re going to discuss how firms looking to outsource, or already doing so, can help establish a good outsourcing relationship, according to Grant Thornton:
·Do Your Research
As we have seen in Grant Thornton’s latest IBR survey, there is more to technical expertise behind any positive outsourcing experience; non-technical skills should be taken into account, too. Hard, specialist skills may be becoming more standardised and these soft skills or ‘intangible assets’ become important differentiators when assessing potential outsourcing providers.
If you are outsourcing for the first time or looking for a new provider, determine the prospective company’s reliability and relevant experience through case studies and testimonials. It won’t hurt a bit if you do an extensive research as this company will be your business partner.
· Evaluate Regularly
If you are already outsourcing, it is important to review your provider’s performance, at least, every two years. Aside from the quality-of-service standards in your outsourcing agreement, you should also evaluate the said non-technical factors like responsiveness and communication practices. As the survey uncovered, it is important for businesses that their outsourcing provider is able to meet with them at very short notice – within 24 hours. Check for the company’s resource management and project governance.
· Devise New Standards
Now that we have proven that non-technical skills are important ingredients of a successful outsourcing experience, it’s time to come up with new metrics aside from the specific levels of service in your contract. Include softer skills like average response times to client queries and the frequency and success rates of provider ideas for streamlining processes in your key performance indicators (KPIs) in order to capture these areas and have a more comprehensive overall review.
The significance of non-technical attributes that this research has shown confirms that the criteria of firms outsourcing are evolving. Therefore, it is important to develop ways to measure performance and provide training in order to maintain a positive outsourcing relationship.
The Outsourced Accountant supports Australian and New Zealand accounting firms by helping them understand and implement outsourcing solutions to help them become more proactive and truly add value to their clients. If you want to know more about outsourcing, call us at 1300 896 522 / 0800 452 853, and download our e-book.