In the future, you can expect to have firms from all over the world competing for your clients. There are outsourcing companies which offer cheap accounting services from India, Vietnam, and the Philippines. It’s easy to be dismissive and brush off this issue by incorrectly assuming offshore equals low quality.
You need to consider how your clients will react to an accounting firm who can produce not only the basic compliance work, but value added services for half the price you are currently charging them.
Fortunately, cloud technology is now making everyone’s lives easier in the accounting world. The ability to turn work around quickly is also at our fingertips. This ease of use is making it possible for people anywhere in the world to do the accounting work for your clients.
The Top Five Opportunities Facing Accounting Firms
- Increase your gross margin
The largest expense for any accounting firm is labour. Some firms are now choosing to source their labour differently. Rather than having junior level accountants at home in Australia or the UK, they’re employing staff in the Philippines to perform entry level tasks.If you take some of the costs and replace them with the same skills in the Philippines, the difference will go straight to your bottom line.
- Increase capacity
We’ve observed the increased knowledge and competence of Filipino teams. It’s more than just having an extra few ‘sets of hands’ to deal with low level tasks (although this isn’t a bad way to start). As their skills grow, so does the capacity of the firm they work for. Firms that develop their teams well can continue to grow them quickly and cheaply.
- Increase your talent pool
For those firms starved of talent, the Philippines offer a large pool of experienced accountants to choose from. The prevailing attitude of Filipino workers (in general) is of gratitude for their employment. This is more so than in Western countries, where entitlement and complacency can often be an unfortunate feature in the workplace.
- Decreased turnaround time for work
Some firms (not you, right?) sit on clients’ work for months. Their clients then get frustrated with the lack of response, accountants drown in the backlog and generally all parties are disappointed with the process. On the other hand, there are firms who have an offshore team and are able to respond within hours (not days) to client queries, and they turn work around in days (not weeks and months). The client is happy, the accountant is happy and the owner of the firm is happy.
- Value-added work!
Clients don’t just want their tax return filed each year. That’s the bare minimum service your firm should be offering.With all the extra capacity, partners and onshore accountants can get out and visit their clients more. They can find out what their clients really need from their accountant and design innovative services that make a difference.Forward thinking firms will leverage their distilled years of business wisdom into events and programmes for their clients that will help transform their businesses and lives. They will be
able to walk alongside their clients and provide great advice when the client needs it.
The future of the accounting profession is far from certain. It is hard to predict what it will look like in five years’ time. But one thing is certain – what worked yesterday, and even today, is fast becoming obsolete.
By focusing on how you can utilise technology and offshore labour, your firm can be well placed to respond to, and take advantage of, the opportunities that are here now, and the opportunities that are going to present themselves in the near future.
With the constant changes the accounting industry experiences due to technology advancement, 2020 Innovation has organised the 20th Annual 2020 Conference entitled “The Changing Face of Accountancy”. Come along and visit Frontline there – 22nd of November 2018 at QEII Centre, London – to discuss the massive impact of technology in the Accounting industry and discover the fundamental ways to adapt and keep up with innovation. Let’s brings together a new perspective on how to become a successful “Firm of the Future”.