From the 27th – 29th of July, we attended and spoke at the Smithink Offshoring Conference. Many accountants travelled from across the country to attend this event, with an aim to grasp a better understanding on outsourcing and how it can be efficiently implemented in an accounting or financial planning firm.
There were TWO key messages Mike McHenry (Founder of SuperAA and MyOutsource) gave for those considering outsourcing:
- Your in-house culture must support Outsourcing!
- Be clear on WHY you are doing it! That is, when you create the ultimate outcome of ‘more capacity’, what do you intend to do with it?
Check our earlier blog called ‘Keys to Future Business Success’ which draws greater detail around these two points.
It was also apparent that the accounting profession has come to grips with initial concerns around offshoring. These are the common concerns, which the industry appears to have now moved beyond:
Accountants View: “If I outsource my work, the quality will be reduced, and not in line with our organisational standards.”
Response: All outsourced SMSF administration and business services work should be completed by qualified accountants with Australian experience. The offshore office should have internal training programs that focus on systemised delivery of work. Leased seats puts the onus of training, workflows and all things HR in YOUR basket of responsibilities. The alternative of job-by-job processing puts the onus on the offshore group. Additionally, your local team review files and maintain the quality standards expected.
Accountant View: “Our staff are resisting the process as they are fearful they will lose their job.”
Response: This is the most common response we receive from accounting firms who are considering outsourcing. This answer stems from the culture of the workplace not being where it needs to be. Before you outsource, every individual needs to understand the firm’s goals and the reason why you want to start outsourcing. It’s not about being made redundant and increasing the firm’s profits, it’s about creating capacity in the firm so the firm can focus on developing templates and training staff to sell other services that ADD VALUE to your existing and new clients.
Accountants View: “If I outsource I am just adding an extra cost to the client, and by the time I upload the job and have our staff review the job, we may as well have completed it ourselves.”
Response: System and process is the key! If you DON’T have documented, measurable systems and processes in place, outsourcing WILL be an extra cost.
Accountants View: If I outsource, am placing my client’s information at risk?”
Response: The security procedures offshore need to have the following protocols as a minimum.
- Data upload systems require 256Bit SSL Encryption capability as a minimum to ensure data is scrambled in transit.
- Portal access and all communications should be password protected. Password policies are routinely updated.
- In house systems should be protected by a firewall and the latest computer and internet security packages.
- Restricted access to client data must be maintained at all times and computer USB drives must be disabled, printing and internet restrictions are in place, and the office is completely paperless.
- A Clear desktop for PC’s, and clear desk policy are critical. Documents should be saved in secure locations and accountants can only process on allocated jobs.
- Mobile phones, tablets, laptops, cameras and any other electronic transmitting devices should be prohibited within operational areas of the office.
- Building security must be implemented to prevent unauthorised access from non-staff.
- Security guards should monitor and patrol building entrances, exits and the floors occupied by the offshore team, and visitors must clear security upon entry to the building.
- Security cameras must be installed for 24/7 monitoring.
- Office access should be compulsory whereby biometric fingerprint scanning technology limits access into the office to authorised staff.
When these points are satisfied with your Offshore partner, your team culture supports your business commitment to outsource, AND you are clear on what to do with the capacity to be created…….then pull the trigger! Time is of the essence. Don’t muck around training staff offshore. Get source data structured, scanned and delivered for processing NOW, and focus on client visits, building consulting templates and training staff for future GROWTH.
For access to our help desk and training videos on SMSF technical issues, contact our team on 03-5226 3599 or email [email protected]. For other technical and business growth ideas, follow us on our social media pages.