There is a large amount of Australian compliance work being done overseas, and recently there have been cheaper “offshore” offerings by labour hire firms.
These labour hire firms tend to offer a controlled offering, which seems to be accepted in line with the traditional business model some accountants understand and prefer. Newer accounting business model adoptees are ok with the gig economy and having ad-hoc resources available, but the older model adoptees prefer an option that they can own and control. There may be something here about understanding the “value of the firm” as a saleable commodity consisting of employees and clients, but in the new age (with mobile staff and mobile clients) this older business model might not be as suitable.
Leaving the discussion or argument on accounting business models, and possibly any arguments about the controlling nature of accountants, we look at the decision by accounting firm to hire offshore workers in full time engagements.
We’ve always believed in a match between the services required to the services demanded. For accountants, they receive their jobs client by client, and it makes sense for their service requirements to be job by job.
However, accountants seem to be pushing for the ever lower hourly rates, even when it means accepting a full time resource offering. And in accepting a full time resource, the variable input/output moves from being jobs to hours.
So at the same time as the “consultants to the accountants” are telling accountants to value price and throw away their timesheets, the accountants are moving towards hiring full time offshore labour on an hourly basis, and not on a job basis.
This seems strangely incongruent as there are thousands of articles talking about the history of accountants and the 1/10th of an hour being early last century, and the rise of the job economy the way of the future.
So why then are Australian accountants engaging an offshore labour force in a manner inconsistent with the future of all workforces. This seems the question that is stunning the experts. Cost and familiarity seem two obvious explanations. A desire to stick with what is familiar.
It seems in the interim that the productivity of offshore labour is not being aggressively challenged, and to some extent the productivity of Australian labour versus cost is to blame here, but the real comparison should be the productivity of Offshore labour compared to Offshore Outsourced labour. And the reality is that this might not be an achievable comparison, as comparing apples to oranges (hours to jobs) isn’t ever going to give a meaningful comparison.
However, our bet is on developing a highly trained workforce focused on Quality work, and our experience in our offshore market means that we have the ability to reward, retain and remunerate in line with best practices.