Feb 2017

Tax Agents still upset at outsourcing work overseas

By: Odyssey Outsourcing
Tags: commoditization of compliance, Data security, Offshoring, Outsourcing

In a recent posting on the IPA website, titled: “Tax agent hits out at outsourcing work, there was plenty of online comments from the Australian accounting community, proving the matter of outsourcing and offshoring is raising considerable angst and anger amongst Australian accountants.

The article leads with an Australian tax agent indicating that outsourcing work presents an “unfair advantage” over sole practitioners, seemingly to indicate that outsourcing is really only for the realm of the big accounting firms. Somewhat strange as outsourcing should enable a level playing field, and indeed give sole practitioners the chance to punch above their weight!

And sending work overseas is unfair, and sole practitioners are not in a position to compete with overseas rates.

The other common issue raised in this article is that Outsourcing hinders Australians and graduate students trying to get work in the industry.

At the same time, the article mentions pressure on accounting firms’ profitability and margins was forcing firms to outsource work, reducing the number of entry-level and clerical jobs.

All the above shouldn’t be anything new for regular readers of the Odyssey blogs.

What is perhaps surprising is the furor that was raised after the article was posted.

Comments included:

  • concern about the long term impact of outsourcing
  • poor work quality which as one post mentioned was due to the accountant chasing a cheap price, without doing a due diligence and selecting a provider who provided quality work in a reasonable time frame.
  • Concern about the future of compliance accounting and tax work.
  • Australia first – employ Australians only, regardless of the cost
  • Train our young people to become our future senior accountants
  • Data security and scams
  • Disclosure on sending work overseas
  • The commoditization of compliance work
  • Graduates not wanting to undertake mundane work
  • Addressing education standards in Australia

Certainly these issues are not new with respect to outsourcing, and outsourcing continues to be a hotly debated topic. It does seem that outsourcing and the cloud are both here to stay, and ensuring our future accountants are competitive in the world arena key to Australia’s success.