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How to make Offshoring Accounting Successful.

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Offshoring accounting isn’t simply about hiring a team of people offshore and managing them the same way you manage a team in your office. If it’s not done properly, it can be frustrating and consume more time than it’s worth.

While this article explores the keys to making offshoring accounting successful, and we highly recommend you read the full article, here are the key points we will focus on:

offshoring accounting team

When offshoring accounting, Finding a Reliable Partner is the first key to success

One of the most difficult and critical aspects of remote accounting is finding a partner that you can count on to recruit the highest quality talent while also providing an excellent work atmosphere, benefits and infrastructure to your team. If you choose the wrong partner, you can end up with disappointing results. The wrong choice may yield lower quality talent, high turnover, missed deadlines and ultimately poor work product. Even worse, it may result in extra work for your existing accounting team.

A good partner, such as Offsite Office, has a proven track record of hiring teams at all professional levels, an emphasis on quality resources, excellent benefits and infrastructure.

A common mistake is to find an offshore partner that promises staff at a low price. Your savings from using offshore resources will already be significant, generally 30% to 50%. If you try to cut costs more than that you will usually end up with sorry results and extra work on your plate.

Managing a Remote Accounting Team has unique challenges

Managing an offshore team is very different than managing a team in your office. You will have the same issues as you would when managing a remote team in your home country. You need software to manage video conferencing and messaging as well as other collaborative applications that many people have become more familiar with since experiencing the recent global pandemic. In addition, other software is important to help manage various processes such as the close process regardless of where the staff are located.

Hiring Quality Talent can be difficult when offshoring accounting

Just as in your home country, finding the best people is difficult everywhere today. But offshore countries have large, highly trained populations that are interested in good job opportunities.

While available good talent is generally more plentiful offshore, it may be tempting to try to only recruit staff with the same years of experience at a very low price, thinking that they will be able to do equivalent work to a local resource in the same position. Generally, this is a fallacy. Many offshore companies are smaller, have less resources so often are less sophisticated, have inferior accounting systems, and poor accounting practices. So an offshore resource with the same years of experience may be significantly behind someone you would hire in your home country. Even though they may have excellent accounting skills, if they have spent years performing manual and/or less sophisticated processes they may have less comparable experience for the same number of work years.

So each resource must be evaluated and, as a rule, you will probably benefit by hiring people with more experience than you would normally expect for the given role. If they already have experience working with US or UK companies and their procedures and culture, that is even better and conducive being a good fit for any particular position. They will cost more but will be more likely to be able to meet your expectations and adapt to the role.

Different Work Hours

Remember that your business work hours are generally during the night time in an offshore country. While some people are fine working nights (the “graveyard” shift), most cannot do it successfully. Often candidates will say they can work nights, only to find that they cannot handle it well once they start the job.

And talented resources who have their pick of opportunities may not be willing to accommodate the shift.

One way to be successful is to allow your team, once trained, to work their normal work hours or a mid-shift. In that way they have 2-4 hours of overlap with your normal work hours. You will have a larger pool of talent to pull from as well as a team that will be happier.

There is another advantage as well – your team will be able to accomplish their tasks overnight while you are sleeping. This will enable you to close your books faster or accomplish other processes faster.

Cultural Differences must be considered when offshoring accounting

In the modern internet age, we feel part of a global community. While you may be thinking that cultural differences between an offshore accounting team and your existing team will not effect their ability to work together, think again!

The list of these differences is long, but here are some examples.

Even today service oriented offshore teams often do not want to say no. Your team may not say no to an assertively stated request that is unachievable. And then when the deadline is missed they still may not tell you: often they do not like to report bad news.

And conflict-averse staff may avoid bringing up errors, missed deadlines, penalties or other problems; you will suddenly find out there is a problem after it is too late to fix it.

The solution to this is cultural training both for your existing team as well as your offshore team. A good partner will help you with this training and help you reinforce it in people’s daily tasks, communications and deliverables.

How to make offshoring accounting successful - Conclusion

Offshoring accounting can be very successful if you have some guidance on how to do it. Finding a good partner to help you recruit and retain the best talent is paramount. Make sure you hire the best resources available with – at least – comparable experience. Don’t skimp on recruiting: don’t be afraid to spend a bit more to ensure retention of the best resources as you will already be saving a great deal by using offshore resources. Take advantage of the different work hours to maximize the benefits of offshore accounting. Finally, be mindful of cultural differences and their impact on successful collaboration.

With these in mind, you can be very successful with offshoring your accounting roles.

Offshoring Accounting - FAQs

Finding the right partner to help you recruit and retain the best talent is paramount. With the right partner, you can hire the best resources at a price that ensures retention of the best talent.
Managing an offshore team is very different than managing a team in your office. It requires specialized software and communication tools, managing the different work hours that time differences may create, and cultural differences that may require additional training.

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