Jun 2012

Offshore administration gaining momentum

By: Odyssey Odyssey in the Press
Tags: cloud, compliance, labour shortage, offshore, online, tax returns

Darin Tyson-Chan interviewed David Carter, CEO of Odyssey Resources, for SMSF Magazine.

The practice of using overseasbased organisations to perform the administrative and compliance functions of SMSFs is increasing, according to a senior executive of a firm operating in the space.

“We’ve seen quite a proliferation of companies offering these services in the last six to 12 months, so people are actually thinking there might be legs in doing this,” Odyssey Resources chief executive David Carter told SMSF.

Odyssey is an Australian-owned firm based in Vietnam offering a range of accounting services to Australian accounting firms and other foreign companies with a business in Vietnam.

Carter said his business currently serviced around 3500 SMSFs, predominantly covering the areas of tax returns and bookkeeping activities.

“We’re seeing some changes in the way things are happening. The online products are definitely changing the way people view the SMSF compliance area and we see that outsourcing seems to be assisting with this change,” he said.

“You no longer need to have an accountant in Australia once operations are based on cloud technology because getting data to and from people is very easy. So we think cloud technology and outsourcing are complementary to one another.

“Some people are very scared of cloud technology so some people are pushing away, saying ‘we’ll bring all the work back onshore’. I think the reality is there are not enough accountants in Australia, that’s been proven over the decades, and operations like ours, if they’re done well and successfully, can do things almost certainly better than they are being done in Australia.”

While Odyssey’s operation is based in Vietnam, India is still the most popular location for companies offering outsourced accounting functions.

Carter said of the 50 firms it considered as direct competitors, about 25 were in India with other competitors spread among Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, China, Fiji and Singapore.