The Five Main Ways to Send Work Offshore



Let us explain the difference between outsourcing and offshoring so you have context for the rest of this article.


Outsourcing a task means you are handing a discrete process or task to an outsourcing company or professional to perform for you using their systems. This could be done in your country, or offshore.

Offshoring means that your work is being done offshore by someone on your own team using your systems under your supervision. They just happen to be in another location. A bit like having someone working at home, they just happen to be in another country

Let's discuss five valid models for either offshoring or outsourcing your work. It’s up to you to choose the model that best fits your firm.

Freelancer Websites

Back when we started our accounting firm, the two main choices were Elance or oDesk. There are great contractors on these websites. Unfortunately, it’s tough to find them. On the upside, we have had some fantastic contractors work for us and it has saved us thousands of dollars. For small, 30minute odd jobs, a freelance website like oDesk (now called Upwork) will be your best bet. If you’re looking to place full-time staff and build a team, this type of freelancer website is the last place you want to be looking due to the mixed results you will get.

Independent Contractors

You can hire people full or part-time as independent contractors in the Philippines. There are several ways to do this. You can build your own networks so you can find staff yourself, or you can use a service provider who will match you with contractors. You will be responsible for paying them directly, either through a direct bank deposit, PayPal or some other payment tool. If your team grows, managing it will become a challenge. Fortunately, all these things can be overcome with clever uses of technology.

Outsource Companies

This is a model where you use the service on an hourly, part-time or even full-time basis, with different price points depending on the amount of time you use. The upside of this model is there is a lower training requirement for your offshore staff. If you are having workflow issues, my suggestion would be to find a quality provider in this space and get some guarantees around the two high-risk areas concerning (1) turnaround time and (2) quality.

Staff Leasing

Staff leasing is where a company in the Philippines (usually called a BPO) employs team members on your behalf. As a foreigner, you can’t hire staff directly without the correct corporate structure in place. This is the model we specialise in, and we believe it’s a great model for accounting firms that have a long-term view to create a lowcost, sustainable offshore team. Your job is to train the staff and to manage their workflow while the BPO handles the backend issues around the office, internet, HR, legal and so on.

Incorporation This enables you to bypass the services of a BPO when hiring a team offshore. Rather than using one to employ the staff and provide support and infrastructure, some firms choose to set up their own foreign entity and do it themselves. This is often a difficult path and not one I’d recommend for most accounting firms.

The main thing to decide, after you decide to offshore/outsource your work, is the model that best suits your firm. They all have their pros and cons, and it’s critical to make this choice wisely after doing your research.

Where to From Here


If you are ready to be at the forefront of the accounting profession by building an offshore team, you can email us at mktg@frontlineaccounting.com or book an appointment with our team to get you started.


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