In a digital, connected world, businesses like accounting and bookkeeping firms are looking to leverage opportunities for outsourcing various business functions.
No longer restricted by geographical borders, the desire to cost-save, access specialized accounting skills, increase efficiency, reduce equipment or overhead costs, and gain a competitive advantage are big draw cards for accounting practices who otherwise may struggle to scale.
In fact, it’s possible to outsource just about any aspect of your business if it makes sense from an operational or financial perspective. From HR or administrative services, through to IT, accounting or manufacturing, outsourcing allows you to operate with the might of a larger enterprise, without the costs that may come with an in-house team.
Let’s take a look at some common types of outsourcing:
Professional services outsourcing
This is the most common type of outsourcing that businesses are likely to engage – at least initially. As your business grows, it’s likely you’ll have a need for specialized services for HR or recruitment, data entry or dealing with the legal side of your business. These are all examples of professional services that can be managed with the help of external business support. Professional services often come under what is often referred to as back-office outsourcing. Often what occurs in this model is outsourcing a task or a number of tasks. One of the main limitations of this model is that you cannot often always guarantee who will be conducting your outsourcing, or if it will be guaranteed that they will be able to support your services long term. The drawback here is that you risk investing a lot of time and effort in getting starting, with limited control over ongoing quality.
Business Process Outsourcing
Business process outsourcing involves contracting specific functions that support your business to an external supplier. An example we’re all likely familiar with is a call-center, which is outsourced to a separate provider, yet acts on behalf of your business with customers. Or it could be that a company relies on a distributor, in order to get its products in front of consumers. This could occur in your local country, or to an offshore outsourcing provider (offshoring). Either way, this can attract higher setup and ongoing investment costs, or run the risk of venturing into an unknown region where there are a number of challenges ranging from time zones, communication skills, technology and security issues, varied support levels and a guaranteed level of support you would be comfortable with.
Project style outsourcing
Some businesses may choose to outsource work on a project-by-project basis, rather than on-going work. This allows you to work through a backlog of work quickly and cost-effectively without having to hire a staff, there’s no need to train staff, and you know the work will be completed for a fixed cost. Again a risk here is that you may not be able to guarantee the ongoing availability of the project individuals or team.
Dedicated outsourcing, a global team
A more strategic option is to work with a provider who has local support but offers you dedicated offshore staff. This model provides the best of both worlds where you can focus on workflow, and where the offshore provider is the legal employer of the staff. You can engage the provider who then offers local and offshore management, and has the specialist skills to take care of all the offshore business. This can be wide-ranging through a number of key functions including: talent attraction, recruitment, HR and onboarding, technology and security support, full office, and facilities management, transport as well as investing heavily on employee engagement to help ensure you have a highly engaged team. Most importantly, these team members are dedicated to only work for you, so as they grow, so do you.
For all of these types of outsourcing the outcome is the same – reduced overheads for your business, while getting high-level support from experts in their field.
If you’re looking for more information, we’ve put together a full guide to help you understand what outsourcing is or talk to our consultants to learn more about how it can benefit your firm.