May 2016

Accountants advised on outsourcing quality problems

By: Odyssey Publication
Tags: Ad hoc resources, Full time resources, limited outsourcing supply, Quality

Mitchell Turner released an article on Accountants Daily, explaining that there can be inconsistency issues and wavering quality levels when it comes to outsourcing of operations  overseas. This article might have been headed: “Problems with outsourcing”.

As the article indicates, one Outsourcing provider notes the problems with controlling and managing outsourcing operations, quite possibly in reference to the recent trend to hire “full time” resources which seems to go against the coaching advice many firms have received over the past several years.

On the face of it, accountants have up until more recently been advised to move to fixed pricing for their services and to move away from compliance services. We should be experiencing massive changes given the high shortage of qualified Australian accountants who are prepared to work long hours in the compliance field, and the impact of automation, cloud and offshoring. As older accountants retire, younger Qualified Australian accountants want more challenging work and variety of assignments. And that doesn’t translate to hours working in compliance.

As firms receive new work on an “ad hoc” basis, it would seem to make sense to have labour resources available on an “as needed” basis, which matches supply with demand. However, more recent and massive over-demand has led to shortage in the supply side, resulting in some “ad hoc” service providers taking several months to prepare simple compliance jobs, or full-time providers providing “fresh off the street” resources in a “train them yourself” option.

At the end of the day, if you can’t control your staff when they are in your own office, then you won’t be able to control them when they are 2,000 kms away from your office. And replacing your local staff with offshore staff is just moving your headaches further away, not completely away.

The article has already seen a few comments down the bottom which means that while the shortage of accountants is a given, the debate about which business model works best is still heating up.

As referenced in the IPA to the original article in the Accountants Daily.