Part 2: An Accountant’s Guide to Outsourcing in the New Normal

28th Oct 2020
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Editor’s Note: As the new normal starts to settle in, Accounting firm owners have been trying their best to revive their firms, with the given constraints posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. So, here’s a 3-part series on ‘An Accountant’s Guide to Outsourcing in the New Normal’, aiming to help the accounting community to survive, revive, and proliferate. Part two aims to focus on accounting firms who are planning to make a shift from remote working to their offices.

It’s been a long time since accountants have seen the inside of their offices, and while things will take a long time to get back to normal, accounting firms have started to open their offices, albeit cautiously. Firms have to subscribe to certain safety policies underlined by the UK Government, in order to ensure employee safety. It’s not easy, but it must be done.

Does Returning to Office Mean Returning to the 'Old Normal'?

Accountants are returning to offices in the new normal. A normal that recognizes the need for lesser in-person interaction, increasing efficiency without compromising on COVID-19 office hygiene measures, and ensuring employees stay protected at the workplace at all times.

This presents a set of challenges not encountered before. Firms need to drive behavioural changes across their employees and set in motion a series of modifications in their work culture.

They have tried their best and transformed their office spaces as per the social distancing norms, intending to provide employees with the necessary confidence to return.

But, in such situations, many accountants and by association accounting firms are caught between a rock and a hard place. They realise there are productivity issues that are a direct outcome of working from home (and this is why many want to open their offices); but the sheer challenge of sanitising the workplace to ensure employees do not contract COVID-19, is overwhelming. Couple that with employees with a constant fear at the back of their minds eating into their efficiency. This is definitely not a good situation to be in.

So, the question is - do firms have a solution for this stressful scenario? Yes, they do – the knight in shining armour is a company offering finance and accounting outsourcing services.

New Beginnings in the New Normal

Here are a few ways how accounts outsourcing can help your firm become more efficient, improve scalability and at the same time benefit from digital transformation:

Planning for Uncertainty

The UK is opening up, but there are conflicting signals. The Prime Minister has talked of difficult months ahead and the need to work from home, when possible. The UK is experiencing a second wave of COVID-19 infections and amidst talks of another lockdown, firms are finding it difficult to plan ahead. The question – ‘what if’ is uppermost in their minds. This is impacting their future plans and their ability to scale.

This uncertainty is not causing grief if your firm works with an outsourcing partner. You are assured that you can scale your services up or down as per the fluidity of the situation. This is the flexibility that an offshore partner brings to the table.

Better Operational Efficiency

According to E&Y, in the second quarter, the output per worker in the UK reduced by 19.9% quarter-on-quarter and 22.0 % year-on-year. If your firm has suffered from a loss of productivity, it’s time to up the operational ante. Your firm might be operating with a limited workforce in the office, while the rest of the workforce operates out of their homes. This causes operational dissonance, resulting in loss of productivity. In this scenario, it will be difficult to handle any extra work that comes your way. Forget about extra work, you might even find it difficult to manage existing workloads.

Your offshore partner can drive operational efficiencies ensuring you are able to take care of all that extra work that can also act as a key driver of operational profitability.

ROI-Driven Digital Transformation

It is now imperative more than ever that accounting firms develop a ‘digital first’ mindset. They must adopt the use of cutting-edge accounting technology that helps them meet the highest standards of accuracy and all-round quality.

But, there is an elephant in the room – cost.

Again, outsourcing comes to the rescue.

With an offshore accounting partner on your side, you can benefit from their tech-savviness and the tech-based ecosystem they have established. This benefit also helps you reduce the costs of your accounting operations, therefore, leaving more room for growth and innovation.

Empowered Scalability

Despite the operational complexities resulting from COVID-19 and associated uncertainties, working with an accounting outsourcing services provider will help you scale efficiently and quickly, knowing expert accountants have got your back. The time-intensive accounting challenges your firm faces will be a thing of the past because you are aided by a highly experienced accounting outsourcing partner. This allows you to position your firm as a multilateral organisation that performs seamlessly. With greater expertise and diverse knowledge, a reputed service provider can help add proficiency, enable you to explore more opportunities, and give you the confidence to scale your services portfolio.

Towards Blurring the Lines between Real & Virtual

Accountants in the UK have mostly preferred meeting their clients in person. However, the new normal took that opportunity away which actually is a ‘blessing in disguise’.

The outbreak of the pandemic has opened doors to new possibilities and opportunities that can be leveraged digitally. The world is now a ‘global accounting space’ where clients sit behind a 17-inch screen, residing in different corners of the world.

The competition has become even more fierce and firms must also make decisions that centre around the wellbeing of their employees. This is a scenario tailor-made for working with an offshore accounting expert as this allows your firm to fuel its growth plan and build a future-ready practice.

If you are planning to adopt a flexible system between home and office, stay tuned for part 3. For more information on outsourcing services, checkout QXAS website.

Editorial: Dishant Desai, Head of Operations, QX Accounting Services