One thing Accounting Firms get wrong when they offshore accounting functions

‘Set up an offshore accounting team in the Philippines, and your Accounting Firm will save money’ – simple, right?

Well, yes, but there’s a bit more to it. The truth is that despite the explosion in the number of Accounting Firms setting up offshore support teams in lower cost economies, many firms never really achieve the full value that outsourcing offers. 

The reason for this is that firm principals and managers often make one very common mistake – they approach outsourcing as a cost-saving measure rather than a profit driving lever.

Cost savings are just the tip of the iceberg

It is, of course, understandable that cost factors are usually the driving force that leads accounting firms to consider setting up an offshore team for their business. The savings are significant, with most firms finding they can hire three fully qualified outsourced professionals for the price of one similarly qualified resource locally. 

Further significant savings are made when you consider that common operational overheads such as providing office space, computers, furniture, utilities, payroll and HR support can be provided far more affordably by an offshore partner. 

Now, as a starting point, these savings are great, but what do they offer to your clients? How do they add to your business? The true benefits of outsourcing are in generating new business and actively driving profits by leveraging the advantages that teams of low-cost, yet highly skilled teams of professionals offer. 

While there are many ways to utilize an offshore accounting team to maximize your return on investment, there are a few primary strategies that all accounting firms should consider. 

  1. Build stronger relationships with your customers
  2. Extend your billable hours
  3. Think beyond accounting  

Build stronger relationships with your customers

Speak with the management team of any successful accounting firm and they will soon tell you that building relationships with your clients and developing new networks are just as important as the technical aspects of accounting.

Your top local talent should be focusing their time on performing the tasks that generate profit – meeting clients, providing highly personalized advice, building relationships, and increasing your client base.  

This is where business owners can really unlock the true value of outsourcing.

By shifting the repetitive accounting tasks to an offshore team, your local team can focus on the high-value tasks and invest more time into your clients.

Extend your billable hours

Time is money, and the more hours in the day, the more money that can be made. Around the world, the standard practice for accounting firms is to charge clients in time blocks, but in a regular business day, there is roughly only an eight-hour period, and a limited number of clients you can take on before you reach capacity. 

A popular way around this is to set up a ‘chase the sun’ system where your local staff either assign or hand over their functional accounting tasks to the offshore team in a different time zone at the end of their shift to complete tasks quickly. Work is checked in the morning and the clients are charged accordingly. 

Businesses operating with this model are easily able to increase their capacity to look after a greater number of clients and double the number of billable hours available to them each day.  

Think beyond Accounting 

When business owners and managers visit their offshore teams, they are frequently surprised by just how many different industries they find working away under the one roof. Real estate, accounting, healthcare, educational institutes, tech & IT, mining, logistics, hospitality, and retail are all here. In fact, it would be hard to find an industry sector that’s not represented. 

Outsourcing, when done right, is not just about adding more of the same to your existing skill set, rather it’s about adding skills and expertise to your business. 

Step behind the suite doors of one of Cloudstaff’s top accounting clients and chances are, you won’t just find accountants. It’s likely that you will meet SEO experts, marketing assistants, content writers, tech support staff, live chat operators and more.

So often, business owners in advanced economies think ‘wouldn’t it be great if we could hire someone to take care of x ’ but to do so locally would be cost prohibitive. Outsourcing solves this problem by opening up a massive global talent pool of affordable professionals ready to help you reach new markets and find new ways to please your customers.

Click through to learn how one of the Top 20 accounting firms in the United States, Wipfli, has learned how to collaborate effectively with their Cloudstaff team in the Philippines.