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Boutique CEO vows to rule out offshoring

The chief executive of a Victorian accounting and advisory firm has vowed to never engage in offshoring, which it believes can be detrimental to attracting and retaining local staff, as well as succession planning.

Professional Development Lara Bullock 25 September 2017
— 1 minute read

Ken Matthews, who is CEO, director, and founding partner of Matthews Steer Accountants & Advisors, told Accountants Daily that he doesn’t “believe in offshoring”, and has vowed never to do so.


“We're committed to employing and investing in local people,” Mr Matthews said.

“We made a strategic decision at a board level probably about four or five years ago that we weren't going to offshore because we wanted to continue to employ local kids and give them a career path.”

Mr Matthews said that in order to avoid offshoring and still thrive as a firm in a competitive marketplace they called on the help of a Victoria University PhD student to help them identify other efficiency measures.

“We realised we had to become bloody efficient. We realised we just really needed to streamline what we were doing so that we could compete with the firms that are outsourcing to the Philippines or India, which we just don't like,” Mr Matthews said.

“You can drive efficiency by having low staff turnover and through technology and through processes and client engagement. That makes you become efficient, productive and profitable.”

Mr Matthews believes that keeping the entire team onshore helps with employee attraction and retention, as well as succession planning in the long run.

“It's about having a business that is really attractive in a number of ways to your people that want to work at the firm,” Mr Matthews said.

“Unless you've got the right group of people that are aligned to your culture and your strategic vision, then your succession planning just won't work. Why would they buy in?”

This comes as offshoring continues to gain traction in the Australian accounting industry, with the regulators now taking note. The Tax Practitioners Board recently released a draft practice note which aims to assist registered tax practitioners understand obligations under the Code of Professional Conduct (Code) in relation to the use of outsourcing and offshoring.

While supportive of the practice note, The Outsourced Accountant president Nick Sinclair believes that it is angled towards a small part of outsourcing, which he believes isn’t the most popular tactic.

“The draft guidance is mainly written for project outsourcing, where you send your tax work offshore and the offshore provider completes it and returns it,” he said.

“It doesn’t cover much for the fastest growing area within the offshoring industry which is where a firm employs a dedicated employee for their firm through a third-party provider. While it is covered, it is only minimal and shows the real lack of understanding for the models of offshoring and outsourcing.”

Boutique CEO vows to rule out offshoring
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