Speaking at the Accounting Business Expo recently, The Outsourced Accountant CEO Nick Sinclair spoke about how to bridge the cultural divide when offshoring.
Mr Sinclair said that many misconceptions exist about potential drawbacks of offshoring to countries, like the Philippines, that can be banished by a quick trip over there.
“A lot of perceptions around outsourcing include poor infrastructure, poor work ethic; they're in a third world country, their environment's not as good as ours,” he said.
“The reality though is that the infrastructure and facilities [in Asia] are a lot better than our offices here. If you're going to invest in an offshore team, you need to get over there.”
While there are cultural differences, Mr Sinclair said that success can be achieved by understanding their work ethic and providing sufficient training.
“[Some cultures] tend to say yes to everything. That's just part of their culture. They hate confrontation, and they hate letting you down,” he said.
“So you can do a training session with them for an hour, you'll ask them if they understand and they'll say yes, even if they don't. So when you're training an offshore team, ask them to explain back to you how to do it.”
Mr Sinclair said that setting number-based targets is the best way to ensure you’re getting the most out of your offshore team.
“If you're getting bookkeeping work done there, work out how many transactions per hour they should be doing. If you haven't done that before, get them to do it for an hour and track how many they're doing, increase it by 10 or 20 per cent and set that as the KPI and celebrate when they achieve it,” he said.
“So make sure you break it into mathematics; don’t do time, time is the worst gauge I think any accountant can use to gauge whether someone is doing work because you can always fudge that. Set real numbers that are based on real maths.”