Speaking at the Accounting Business Expo on Tuesday, The Outsourced Accountant CEO Nick Sinclair gave a presentation on how to build a successful offshore team.
“Offshoring is about getting the right people to do the right tasks, at the right time, in the right place, for the right price,” Mr Sinclair said.
Mr Sinclair said that those accounting firms wanting to pursue offshoring have to be dedicated to making it work.
“Where the offshoring model works is where you're actually dedicated to making it work,” he said.
“A lot of people think, 'I’ve got workflow problems. How do I get rid of them? I’ll ship them offshore, and that'll fix our problems'. But it’s not a quick fix to your problems that you've got internally. It’s not a solution that's going to solve your problems tomorrow.”
Mr Sinclair said that instead, a long-term strategy needs to be formulated before beginning the process.
“The first thing is slow down, relax, and get a strategy. The reality is you need to set a strategy for what your firm needs. This is not something that will be up and running tomorrow,” he said.
“So really think through what the firm wants the strategy to be. Identify the systems and processes. It won’t work if you don’t have a structured way of doing it.”
While accounting firms traditionally offshored tax and compliance-based tasks, Mr Sinclair said the scope of work that can be outsourced is now evolving.
“A lot of people don't understand what you can do. Outsourcing, traditionally, is thought of as tax and compliance, but outsourcing is now about how to make your business more efficient,” he said.
“It’s about what roles in your business can help you become more efficient. Outsourcing can be tax and compliance, it can be SMSF work, it can be liquidation work, it can be audit work, and it can be marketing. It can be anything that you want it to be.”
A final point from Mr Sinclair is that regular and structured communication is also necessary to making an outsourced arrangement work successfully.
“You need to get a meeting rhythm if your [offshore] team is going to work. You can’t just put them in an office where you can’t see them and not talk to them,” he said.
“You wouldn't employ someone in Australia, put them in your boardroom, give them a pile of work and say good luck. So if you're going to build an offshore team, you need to be investing the time to make it work.”