From a recent webinar poll we’ve conducted, results showed that three-quarters of accounting firms are outsourcing or getting ready to engage in this space. Even with this significant number, The Outsourced Accountant (TOA) CEO Nick Sinclair believes that the industry has yet to fully benefit from it.
For those who are contemplating on or about to engage in outsourcing, here are 3 accounting tips to bear in mind to help you align expectations, avoid unnecessary disappointments and be able to maximise the opportunity and resources outsourcing brings.
1. Outsourcing is not a one-size-fits-all strategy
For anyone who is looking into building out a global workforce or an offshore team, what I would recommend is to learn more and prepare your firm to what is needed to make outsourcing a long term success.
It’s not something that you can just plug and play. There’s an important pre-work to consider to help dramatically improve your performance in the first 12 months. At TOA, we can make this simple.
“We get you set up, you manage the workflow – you grow.”
You don’t necessarily need to spend six to 12 months building out every process and system. What is more important is that you are prepared as a firm to evolve and change. If you’ve been executing tasks differently across 12 different partners, for example, it makes sense to streamline this so you can scale quickly and efficiently through outsourcing.
It’s all about standardising the way you operate and what you deliver to your clients. Coming in with a prepared strategy, having the whole team engaged and on board with this strategy (not just to the partner), will dramatically improve your chances of early success.
2. You have to expand and diversify your services
For the accounting industry these days, profiting from compliance services is just not enough. It won’t just cut it. Compliance, as I have anticipated a few years ago, will be commoditised. Technology will take over and will make it automated. Having said this, firms should expand and diversify their sources of income. My recommendation is to provide more advisory services, more bookkeeping, more in financial services, more in different offerings.
The reality that technology is changing the way accountants work and is going to continue to evolve and change gives way into exploring the areas of advice — into becoming the trusted advisor.
“We’re just going to have to adapt and change to where technology, particularly cloud technology, and where the industry is evolving and moving to. It’s exciting times for us.”
3. Look beyond tax and compliance
When you’re looking at outsourcing, don’t just look at tax and compliance functions. That’s what outsourcing for accountants used to be about but as the industry has matured, so has the level of complexity and tasks considerably improved that can be done offshore. Look at this as a fresh approach on how do you make your firm more efficient. Ask yourselves what roles do you need to make your partners more efficient? How will you be able to get more clients? What tasks do you have to do that can be outsourced? What do you want to do that you’re unable to because of capacity constraints?
“One benefit of outsourcing is that it allows you to identify inefficiencies within your business.”
When you come to the part of pinpointing which roles to outsource, then you will see the opportunities to improve your processes and ensure you have the best talent working on the right tasks. You can have a dramatic impact on firm productivity by streamlining and growing out divisions with outsourcing. It’s really a firm-wide strategy and not just a tax and compliance strategy.
Nick has been running The Outsourced Accountant for only three years now and has grown the firm from seven staff to over 600. Working with businesses in Australia, UK, New Zealand and the United States, he has helped his clients reach success and firm growth with outsourcing. Learn more about Nick or see his keynote presentations here.
If you have capacity restraints, are looking to grow your firm, or just want to know what is possible with offshoring, please contact our local outsourcing experts/specialists for a free consultation or call us today at 1300 896 522.