About a year ago, our advisor (yes we’re an advisory firm that has an advisor!) suggested that we should consider offshoring! It was a challenging suggestion as he wanted us to do something we hadn’t done before and that was to use a telemarketer. I was sceptical!
Not that we hadn’t made use of offshoring before. We used offshoring to help us build databases, to get some computer code written. All simple tasks rather than an ongoing arrangement whereby we’d have staff offshore.
Now, as an advisory firm to accountants we’re not an accounting firm so we’re not offshoring accounting work, but the experience contains many messages that accountants should bear in mind when they go down the offshoring road.
We engaged an Australian based company to assist us. They provide the office and manage the people from a HR perspective. They undertook the recruitment and developed a shortlist. We recruited via Skype. Key message – set your standards high. Don’t compromise. Take your time. It is more important to get the right person. Have an organiser that takes the day to day pain of employing someone in a foreign land.
The next key ingredient is day to day management. Our commercial manager is in contact every day. Agreeing tasks, dealing with any issues that have arisen. This is a key element. Accounting firms that have successfully utilised offshoring almost universally have someone to be the single interface between the staff offshore and the staff and clients onshore so that work is well organised, queries are well managed and issues and concerns are quickly put to bed.
A further ingredient is involvement. We have found that it is important that our man has a good understanding in what we do. We have him sit on our webinars and webcasts, read our blogs so that as far as possible he understands what we do. He then has a much greater understanding of our business and is more effective as a result.
As an aside, I was very sceptical about telemarketing of our events but it has been working for us. I put it down to a few factors:
- People’s phones don’t ring as often as they used to. Email, SMS and other messaging platforms have reduced the number of calls people receive. Therefore, there is greater chance of getting through.
- The person making the calls must have the right personality. Our man in Manila fits that bill. We have not received any complaints. We receive universal feedback as how nice our man is. He’s enhancing our brand.
- We can directly attribute sales to his activities. It’s a profitable exercise.
Who would have thought – taking a risk that paid off. We now also have a Maiden in Manila helping us with our event organisation.
Our offshoring event on July 27 brings together a range of offshoring providers working with accounting firms. We designed the event as a way for accountants to easily get an appreciation of the different business models available and hear directly from the providers. More information can be found at http://www.smithink2020.com/events/july_2015_3_day_series