Every team has its challenges but having a team in another part of the world magnifies them. Having an offshore team is beneficial to your business but it does not mean you’re going to have it easy. Read: Why outsourcing your accounting staff is beneficial to your company To avoid misunderstandings that can lead to serious management problems, you need to have clear expectations from the very beginning and that involves communicating well with your offshore provider. How you manage your offshore team will define your company’s success. It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re new to outsourcing, it pays to be aware of the various challenges it presents to minimise problems and ensure that running your global accounting team goes smoothly.
1. Wasting time on productivity killers and non-core tasksThe success of your firm depends largely on the quality of services and output your team delivers. If you’re not meeting deadlines and are getting subpar work from your team, then something needs to change. Check which activities are killing your team’s productivity and then find ways to correct those. These could be non-core tasks that are taking too much time, like managing emails and answering calls, setting up meetings or preparing reports. According to one of the recent surveys conducted by The Outsourced Accountant, firms consider the following as roadblocks to productivity:
- Emails and calls
- Calendar management
- Client issues
2. Being impervious to your offshore team’s cultureExpect to experience some problems brought about by cultural differences. Outsourcing will expose you to different cultures so you need to learn to adapt. Remember that cultural nuances will play a factor in managing your offshore team so you need to be aware of these to identify ways on how to connect more effectively with your team. Filipinos, for example, tend to be shy and sensitive. They have the tendency to please people because they are not comfortable with confrontation. This means you will have to approach certain situations differently. Cultural differences like these need to be handled with care. To avoid conflict, you need to talk to them as calmly as possible. It’s highly recommended that you talk to them in private rather than call them out in front of the others. Here are some things you need to know about your Filipino staff.
3. Avoid giving out instructions without properly explaining themEffective communication is key to successful offshoring. This is why you have to make sure to establish clear communication rhythms across all team members. Communication barrier is one of the challenges of working with staff whose first language is not english. When not explained thoroughly, things can get lost in translation. Firms can’t afford misunderstanding especially when it comes to workflow. Information cascaded down to the team must be clear to everyone. Any instance of misinterpretation can lead to problems in output. This is why it’s important to hire professionals who are fluent in English. Fortunately, Filipino accountants are excellent English speakers. In fact, the Philippines was ranked highest in English proficiency in the 2013 Business English Index (BEI). Add that to their strong work ethic and high affinity to the western culture, and you have in your hands an impressive global accounting team. Furthermore, it’s essential that you establish efficient workflows that ensure information is clear across the board. It’s also highly recommended to have open and regular communication with the team so that everyone feels at ease with asking questions and providing feedback. How do you improve communication in the workplace? Here are some tips.
4. Avoid high attrition by giving importance to employees’ needsLosing staff will negatively impact your business. Firms need to pay attention to the staff turnover rate because a dedicated high-performing team can accelerate its growth. Identifying the causes of employee attrition will help avoid losing talented professionals. Below are factors that affect accountants’ decision to leave a firm:
- Stagnant salaries
- No opportunities for growth
- Insufficient training programs
- Insufficient performance review/feedback
- Unclear job description
5. Avoid pushing your team to the brink of exhaustionAccountants are susceptible to fatigue especially during tax season. The demands of the job can be overwhelming for some and take a toll on their health. A survey conducted by YouGov showed that one in five accountants (18%) admitted to experiencing depression while a quarter (26%) suffered from anxiety. Due to the number of hours clocked in daily, accountants are candidates for burnout, which can cost them their job. Here are some effective ways to deal with career burnout:
- Identify the cause of stress
- Take regular breaks
- Communicate with your manager
- Prioritise tasks
- Look for passion projects
- Get enough rest and sleep
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