The Fear Factor: Why Companies Hesitate to Offshore

Forget everything you thought you knew about finding qualified accountants. The game has completely changed.
Young accountant

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Forget everything you thought you knew about finding qualified accountants. The game has completely changed.

In 2022, a Xero Small Business Insights study revealed a concerning trend: as much as 42% of small businesses grapple with finding qualified accountants. This is particularly concerning when 8 out of 10 businesses agree that having accountants has helped them reduce the impacts of inflation. This isn’t an isolated issue. In 2023, membership in the national professional organization American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) fell to 415,000 from 430,000 in 2017 – missing its membership targets in four of the past five years. During the 2023 PricewaterhouseCoopers Annual Accounting and Tax Symposium, attendees discussed various factors influencing the diminishing accounting pipeline, including the branding perception that accounting is boring and declining enrollments in higher education, among others.

This talent gap presents a significant hurdle in today’s data-driven world where financial expertise is crucial.

Offshoring emerges as a potential solution, offering access to a broader talent pool. However, many companies remain apprehensive. This hesitation, often referred to as “The Fear Factor,” stems from a complex web of anxieties. Let’s review and revisit these fears, exploring real and perceived risks explicitly associated with offshoring accounting services. By equipping businesses with this knowledge, we aim to empower them to make informed decisions about their own finance and accounting future.

The Appeal of Offshoring: Cost Savings and Beyond

A 2022 study by Deloitte found that 70% of surveyed executives indicated cost was a primary reason for outsourcing (offshoring being a specific type of outsourcing). It goes without saying that traditional outsourcing continues to highlight cost reduction as its primary driver through some staff augmentation models for many transactional businesses and other activities. This cost reduction translates directly to improved profit margins. Beyond cost savings, offshoring offers access to a global talent bank, allowing companies to tap into a specialized skills and expertise market that is, otherwise, unavailable domestically – which is especially relevant as talent acquisition remains a top internal challenge in meeting organizational strategic priorities based on this survey.

Fear Factor #1: Communication Challenges and Cultural Differences

One of the biggest concerns surrounding offshoring is the potential for communication difficulties. Differences in time zones, language barriers, and misunderstandings rooted in culture can pose challenges to seamless collaboration. However, language assessment skills, apart from face-to-face (or online) interviews during recruitment can easily filter acceptable communication skills from the lot. Advancements in technology, like video conferencing and project management tools, can also bridge offshore communication gaps. In addition, investing in cultural sensitivity training for both domestic and offshore teams can foster better understanding and collaboration.

Fear Factor #2: Loss of Control and Intellectual Property (IP) Theft

Relocating operations can lead to a sense of losing control. Companies fear a decline in quality standards or difficulty in monitoring project progress. Additionally, concerns regarding intellectual property theft can be a major deterrent. However, robust contracts with clear IP ownership clauses and stringent security measures can mitigate these risks. Furthermore, partnering with reputable offshore providers with a solid track record can assuage control concerns.

Fear Factor #3: Infrastructure Concerns and Hidden Costs

The quality of infrastructure in the offshoring destination is a significant consideration. Unreliable power grids, insufficient communication networks, and inadequate transportation systems can disrupt operations. Additionally, hidden costs like travel expenses, visa fees, and managing multiple time zones can erode the perceived cost benefits of offshoring. Companies need to thoroughly assess these hidden costs during the planning stage to make informed decisions.

Fear Factor #4: Reputational Risks and Political Instability

Offshoring can expose companies to reputational risks associated with labor practices in the host country. Concerns about child labor, unsafe working conditions, or environmental damage can tarnish a brand’s image. A 2022 study by Cone Communications found that 75% of consumers consider a company’s social responsibility practices when making purchasing decisions. Companies must choose offshoring partners with ethical labor practices and robust environmental policies. Additionally, political instability in the offshore location can disrupt operations and pose investment risks. Selecting destinations with a history of political stability can help mitigate these risks.

Having explored the fear factors associated with offshoring, a deep dive into actionable strategies can help companies overcome these anxieties and successfully navigate the offshoring process.

Strategy #1: Start Small and Scale Gradually

Instead of a full-fledged leap, companies should consider a phased approach. Begin by offshoring a non-critical task or project to test the waters. This allows for evaluation of communication effectiveness, team dynamics, and overall performance before making a larger commitment. Additionally, starting small provides valuable experience for managing offshore operations and identifying potential challenges early on.

Strategy #2: Invest in Building Strong Relationships

Developing a strong working relationship with your offshore partner is crucial for success. Regular communication, clear expectations, and transparent goal setting are essential to foster trust and efficient collaboration. Consider on-site visits during the initial stages to establish rapport and build a personal connection with the offshore team.

Strategy #3: Prioritize Training and Cultural Sensitivity

Investing in cultural sensitivity training for both domestic and offshore teams can significantly improve communication and collaboration. This training should address communication styles, work ethic expectations, and potential cultural differences. Additionally, providing offshore teams with training on company processes, tools, and quality standards ensures seamless integration and reduces the risk of errors.

Strategy #4: Utilize Technology to Bridge the Gap

Technology plays a vital role in overcoming communication hurdles and fostering collaboration across geographical distances. Utilize project management tools that facilitate task delegation, progress tracking, and real-time communication. Platforms that provide virtual meetings and direct messaging tools can further enhance communication and build stronger team bonds.

Strategy #5: Implement Robust Quality Control Measures

Maintaining quality standards is paramount when offshoring. Establish clear quality control protocols and regularly monitor project deliverables for adherence to these standards. Regularly conducting performance evaluations and offering constructive feedback to the offshore team contributes to continuous quality enhancement.

Strategy #6: Mitigate Risk Through Legal Protection

Partnering with legal professionals to draft ironclad contracts is crucial. These contracts should clearly define intellectual property ownership, payment terms, service level agreements (SLAs), and dispute resolution mechanisms. Additionally, companies should research local labor laws and regulations in the offshoring destination to ensure compliance and avoid potential legal issues.

Strategy #6: Mitigate Risk Through Legal Protection

Uncertainty often holds businesses back, and offshoring can seem like a daunting leap. However, a well-crafted strategy unlocks a treasure chest of opportunities. By partnering with the right team, investing in clear communication and cultural understanding, and building strong safeguards, companies can reap the rewards of offshoring while minimizing potential roadblocks.

Today’s globalized business environment demands efficiency and adaptability. Companies that embrace offshoring with a strategic and well-defined plan can gain a significant advantage. From cost optimization and access to a wider talent pool to reaching new markets, offshoring provides a powerful toolkit for achieving success.

The future of offshoring is promising. Technological advancements are constantly shrinking communication barriers, while ethical practices are becoming increasingly crucial for businesses and consumers alike. While not a universal solution, offshoring, with thorough planning and proactive risk management, can be a powerful delivery model for achieving sustainable success in a visionary marketplace.


Here at OffsiteOffice, we build remote, offshore accounting teams that work as an integral part of our clients’ operations. We offer the best global talent at cost-effective rates so you can enhance your financial operations and achieve your goals faster. We help you do everything needed to build a team, from helping you design a strategy to recruiting, setting up interviews, onboarding your team, providing infrastructure and ongoing administration.

OffsiteOffice will meet with you to understand your business goals and the requirements for each position and then find the perfect candidates to join your team. We build dedicated teams exclusive to your account that we provide with the infrastructure and tools to work effectively with you. Lastly, we handle the administrative aspects of your team – payroll, HR, etc., so you never have to. All for 1 simple monthly fee.

Contact OffsiteOffice today to learn more about building an effective Global Accounting Team.


The main driving factor is cost savings, as revealed by a 2022 Deloitte study where 70% of executives cited this as the primary reason for outsourcing.

Offshoring allows companies to tap into specialized skills and expertise that may not be available domestically, as shown by the 2022 Xero Small Business Insights study where 42% of small businesses struggle to find qualified accountants.

Advancements in technology, such as video conferencing and project management tools, can bridge the communication gap. Additionally, investing in cultural sensitivity training for both domestic and offshore teams can foster better collaboration.
A phased approach, starting with a non-critical task or project, can help companies test the waters and gain valuable experience before making a larger commitment.
Regular communication, clear expectations, and transparent goal setting are essential for building a strong working relationship with offshore partners.

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