The Ten best practices for Accounting firms working with Offshore Outsourcing firms.

David CarterOutsourcing

top 10 best practice

Outsourcing is not a new way of working, and outsourcing to Australian accounting firms is now approaching 20 years. Certainly a mature offering for those firms like Odyssey that were the first movers (the pioneers) in this space.

However, it’s acknowledged that with demand far outstripping supply in this area, there has recently arisen “labour hire” firms, with low barriers to entry for anyone willing to hop on a plane and head over to destinations like the Philippines. The competition for labour is fierce over there, and the labour force offered consists of untrained staff. With training being given by the Australian accounting firm engaging the resource, it’s really a couple of years before the untrained staff provide good returns. And with the competition for labour ever growing with new market entrants, that means lots of job jumpings.

Alleviating these risks, and pushing them back to the offshore firm, is considered good risk mitigation.

So here we have the top 10 best practices for Accounting firms working with Offshore Outsourcing Firms:

  1. Make sure you do a decent due diligence. Yes, this involves some hard work up front. Carefully identify what services you require, then map out what you are looking for in a provider. If you just jump on google you are likely to see a couple of hundred providers. Where to start?
  2. Consider the time zone differences and make them work to your advantage. This means getting the compliance out the door by midday, so that it is ready for our team here in Vietnam to start when they hit the office. Make use of the time difference. Don’t get bogged down in the emails first thing!
  3. Keep the communication to a minimum. Yes, forget the five minute huddles, and the chats. Odyssey staff are here to get work done. We’ve created pathways for communication through our administration staff. There are no phones on our desks, no social media, none of that stuff. Step aside and let us get cracking!
  4. If you are shoveling a lot of work over, make sure you are ready to resolve queries, and do the final review.
  5. Communicate effectively how you do things in your practice. Odyssey keeps a procedure register for each client, so that we can identify just how you like things done. However, at the same time, make sure you have the same discipline in your office. There is nothing worse than getting  a job back done to the “way you like it”, only to find the new tax manager you’ve hired wants it done a different way.
  6. Make sure you communicate effectively any specific job nuances. Did the client change bookkeepers a couple of times during the year. Is the GST out of whack. Like anyone else we like a bit of heads up on the job.
  7. Start with ad-hoc work. Get used to the Odyssey. Then talk more about full time resources if you feel that’s the way to go. We’re not a big fan of full time workers, as it forces the management back onto you, and takes the fun out of outsourcing. Not to mention it paralyses the main benefit of sending a bucket load of work over and getting it back a few weeks later. Send over 100 jobs to a dedicated resource, and you can expect the 100th job is going to take a loooong time to get back!
  8. Put the risk of HR back onto the Offshore company. One of the great benefits of outsourcing is that you’re given a firm commitment on dates. If the Outsourcing company has staff absent from work for illness or other reasons, it’s not your problem. They are still required to get the job back when promised. You didn’t go into business to manage HR issues, and certainly not remotely!
  9. You can expect outsourcing to take the weight of compliance off your shoulders. A good outsourcing company like Odyssey will take your work and whilst not waving our magic wand, we think you’ll be impressed with the quality of our work!
  10. Lastly, we like to be treated as professional staff. We appreciate polite communication, and the odd kind word is always appreciated. PS if you are coming up to visit, please bring a couple of boxes of Tim-Tams!