Your questions, answered
In essence, this is very easy. To start, all you need to do is pick one client who you know you will be doing their year end accounts in the next month. The best client to pick is one:
Who you may struggle to make a profit on. That way if it all goes wrong, which is incredibly unlikely, you don’t jeopardise a good client relationship.
You may dread doing this client’s accounts. Let us take the burden and show you how easy we can make completing the work for you. Whose accounts will take under 2 days to complete.
The next stage is to organise a time to agree a project plan with us. That way you still keep control of the process and we can deliver on your timelines. We often take under an hour to get the trial job project plan agreed.
If you would like, we will give you a member of our team to help you run the trial job process for you on your premises.
1. Find a manager to champion the cause
Train them up and make them your ‘expert’ on outsourcing. Our UK based manager will work with your manager to help onboard them and get the outsourcing process started.
2. Identify the ‘what’s in it for the team’
Often staff can be worried about using an outsourcer because they are concerned about loss of control and a reduction in quality. In extreme cases they may be worried about the security of their own roles. It is important to allow staff to fully voice their concerns otherwise the resistance can come out in other ways and potentially sabotage getting outsourcing started. In our experience taking the time to talk to staff as a group and individual is the best way of engaging them in the process. In these conversations we recommend talking about the benefits to them personally, e.g. less grunt work, more capacity in the team, releasing them to service clients properly.
3. Start small and gain acceptance to outsourcing
Once managers and staff can see it working and how it will work they are often more willing to embrace outsourcing. It is not uncommon for staff to have worked with outsourcers before and had a bad experience. Therefore, the best way to bring these people on board is to actually show them how it works and the fact it can work very well.
Find out how we helped our clients spend more time on the beach than in the office
When myself and my business partner retired from a large UK accountancy practice based in Canary Wharf to set up on our own, we knew that we wanted to do things slightly differently. After 20 years of handling the headaches which come with employing your own staff, we wondered whether we could grow our practice without having a large payroll. We decided to take the unusual step of investigating whether outsourcing could completely and reliably service all our client’s work, whilst we retained the client relationship and this also gave us the time to continue to give the specialist tax and accounting advice that was so valuable to our clients.
As you can imagine, this was a big change for us. Initially, we could only think about reasons why it would go wrong. After all, we didn’t want to risk any of our long term client relationships just to save a few bucks. We had acted for these clients for many years and they had shown remarkable trust and loyalty in all of them asking us to continue to act for them in our new company Tout & Brew Limited. We spent a long time with Arun and his team understanding how it would work with them becoming our back office and in effect, our staff. They were incredibly patient and we decided to go ahead partly because their 15+ years of experience and credibility with the firms that they work for already. It gives us peace of mind that their UK staff are only a phone call away.
We are glad to made the decision to go with outsourcing at the start of our new practice because we had the time to get it right. It can be tempting when the pressure is off to delay setting up an outsourcing relationship. However, you want this in place and working well before you hit a peak time.
Our practice is now established and giving us the profitable business we anticipated. We have the lovely position of having enough clients to truly service them well, whilst being able to develop our skills and contacts further in the UK and international tax consultancy area which is a major focus for us. As well as adding UK based client assignments such as advising on Company acquisitions and sales, and reorganisations, company purchase of own shares and obtaining related successful tax clearances we have had the opportunity to take on work from Australian, German, Singaporean and Canadian based clients which is a testament to the flexibility of the GI offering. GI has meant we are able to profitably service our clients and add more without the headache of having staff or large premises to manage. We’ve calculated we’ve probably saved over 30% on our costs by using GI rather than employing our own staff. The beauty of working with GI is they flex up and down based on our peaks and troughs. We are not tied into a minimal number of hours every month with them. Looking back, we realise that our biggest barrier was our resistance to change. However, we are glad we took the risk as it would be difficult to grow what we have now without doing something radically different.
Tout & Brew Limited
It is up to you how much you tell clients about us doing your accounts work for you. Many of our clients don’t feel the need to tell clients that we are actually preparing their accounts for them.
If you are planning on using us to do bookkeeping work for you, we have found that it makes sense to let the client know we are doing the work for you because:
There is a high level of queries which if we don’t speak to the client directly can create a bottleneck.
It helps the communication flow faster, which can be important as this work is often time sensitive.
If you choose to communicate the change to clients, particularly for book keeping and whole accounts dept outsourcing work we recommend telling clients this:
We can offer a high level of service whilst still giving you competitive fee quote because we are using outsourcing.
Quality of outsourced work has been consistently high.
The work is reviewed at least twice before being sent out.
They will have a named contact in Indian to liaise with directly who works in UK office hours. Just the same as if they had their book keeping work done in the UK.
In addition to the Indian named contact, they will always have a GI account manager to talk to in the UK.
It can be tempting when the pressure is off to delay setting up an outsourcing relationship. However, you want to get this in place and working well before you hit a peak time! Here are the top two reasons as to why people wait!
The cyclical nature of stress
Many accountants and business owners find themselves completely stressed out and overwhelmed simply because they are wearing too many hats and trying to do too much on their own. As a result, they start to consider outsourcing to take some of the pressure off and ease their headache. However, when the work dies down slightly, they think they can manage and go back to juggling 10 different things at once; and so the stress starts up again.
Just one too many things to do to outsource?
There are so many people out there who are considering outsourcing. But for one reason or another never quite get around to it. Here are some of the common reasons why people delay outsourcing:
- They have a hard time asking for help
- They have a certain way of doing things
- They don’t want to pay for things when they can do it themselves
- They don’t want a reduced quality of work (this isn’t the case if you work with us!)
- They don’t know who they can outsource to and how to get started
- They don’t like change.
- They’ve had a bad experience in the past with outsourcing
There’s no shame in hanging up a few of those hats and accepting you simply can’t do everything yourself. After all, no one is really superman or wonder woman. As long as you insist on doing everything yourself, you will never have enough time to do it all, and more importantly quality is likely to suffer as a result.
As the saying goes, you should work on the business rather than in the business. Focus on the things only you can do as a business owner, and delegate all the other tasks to help free up your time and switch your focus to things that will generate income for your business. When was the last time you spent real quality time with your family and friends? By choosing to selectively outsource you might find yourself leaving the office at a reasonable hour and minimising the amount of work you have to do on the weekends.
Sounds good right?
Many of our clients are initially sceptical about the quality of our work and losing control of their client work. Of course, we would tell you that this will not be a problem. However, this is what our client Tout and Brew had to say about working with us:
“As you can imagine, choosing to outsource our accounts prep work was a big change for us. Initially, we could only think about reasons why it would go wrong. After all, we didn’t want to risk any of our long term client relationships to save a few bucks. We had acted for these clients for many years and they had shown remarkable trust and loyalty in all of them asking us to continue to act for them in our new company Tout and Brew Limited. We spent a long time with Arun and his team understanding how it would work with them becoming our back office and in effect, our staff. They were incredibly patient and we decided to go ahead partly because their 15+ years of experience and credibility with the firms that they work for already. It gives us peace of mind that their UK staff are only a phone call away”
Here is how you keep control of the work we do:
- We provide a weekly status report. Within the next 12 months you will be able to track progress of all your jobs via an online portal
- We have in place a staff exchange programme between our large clients and our indian operation. Every year we take clients across to our Indian office for them to see and meet key personnel in India.
- You will be given a dedicated team to service your work. That way you will always know who you are talking to at the other end of the phone.
- Our Indian operation works UK hours. That means you will always be able to get hold of either someone in our UK Headquarters or Indian operation to discuss your client’s work at a time convenient for you.
- We agree in advance the work you will be sending us and when it needs to be delivered
- Part of how we work with all our clients is to get feedback on each job to help us improve our services
- Each of our clients has a regular update meeting, at partner and manager levels, where we discuss how the relationship is working
- We agree in advance how we will communicate to your clients. For many of our clients we don’t talk with their clients. In fact, for many of our accountancy client’s clients, they don’t even realise that we have prepared their accounts for them. You can rest assured that we wouldn’t be talking to your clients without your express permission. GI Outsourcing actually evolved from an accountancy practice, and they still happen to be one of our top 3 clients. This means that you know that we have been built with quality at the heart of what we do.
- ISO 9001 certified, which is the internationally recognised standard of quality
- Every piece of work is reviewed twice by a quality control team
- The feedback we get on each job helps us improve our quality even further
Probably the best way to reassure about the quality of our work, is the quality of our client list. We wouldn’t still be working with 18 Uk accountancy firms in the top 100 and 3 firms in the UK top 20 if we didn’t consistently deliver a high quality job every single time.