Jul 2013

A CA member’s review of Odyssey Outsourced Accounting Services

By: Odyssey Odyssey in the Press
Tags: Client visit, Experience, Outsourcing, Quality, Review, Turnaround times

A letter from Tony.

In response to our email asking – How did we do last year…

10th July 2013

Hi Dave,

I have been in the unique position of having knowledge of how accounting firms in Australia operate; having provided management consulting & tax consulting services to a number of chartered accounting firms in Brisbane, Gold Coast & Sydney & also having worked for the Big 4 in the past.

Job turnaround times are within industry standards. The trend today is for accounting firms to employ non chartered accountants in the form of para professionals, TAFE qualified accountants, university graduates, CPA’s etc., as they cannot afford or do not want to pay for fully qualified accountants. As a result the standard of the work is not as high as it was in the 1980’s or 1990’s when you needed to be a chartered accountant to be a supervisor or manager. Moreover, the proportion of practitioners that come from a Big 4 type background with all the relevant training is much less than it was. As a result the standard of work coming from practitioners has also fallen over the last couple of decades.

Even more startling is the lack of knowledge of tax law & even a level of ignorance of its application. The normal standard accounting firm is compliance based and is merely relying too much on MYOB type products to merge the data into the tax returns. The gap between an accounting firm and ITP & H&R Block is lessening.

In the current economic environment business confidence is low and small business in particular are minimising their accounting costs by limiting their work to compliance work only thereby reducing their level of demand for high value added services & consultancy work. There is also a trend for larger firms to also reduce their level of reliance on higher qualified CA’s to reduce costs.

Once the election is out of the way business and assuming the economy goes back to 3% growth or more business confidence should start to recover. Once that happens it will not take long for the shortage of experienced accountants to come to the fore again and for outsourcing to really move forward.

I have reviewed the other outsourcing firms & Odyssey appears to me to be the only outsourcing firm with an appropriate number of accountants experienced in Australian tax and accounting to provide a proper and efficient service.

Too many of the others are there to introduce you to an Indian accountant for you to train up. We know only too much about how long it takes to train a graduate from Australia working in Australia.

This might be a suitable for basis bookkeeping but it definitely is not suitable for the standard chartered accounting firm. Firms would be better off using Australian bookkeepers than going down this path both in terms of quality of work, cost & efficiency. It does not make sense.

I look forward to hearing from you and discussing these & other issues in more detail when I come over late August.



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