Accountants tend to be a conservative lot, and they worry far too much about what other people think. Many firms ask us what clients and local staff might think having an offshore team. Imagine how easier your life would be if you stopped worrying about what everyone else thought?
What Will Your Clients Think? Many firms ask us, “What will my clients think if I use an offshore team?” We cringe when we hear this. Business owners asking these questions are coming at it from the wrong direction. It’s your business - and the clients need to fit into your way of doing things. The client should not be dictating to you how you run your business.
You need to understand that there are several things at play here.
● Firstly, it’s your business and you need to run it in a way that makes you happy
● Secondly, if you have strong positioning you will repel clients who don’t want to fit into your way of doing things
● Finally, strong positioning makes you more attractive than other businesses to your ideal client
Isn’t that a perfect recipe for having a client list full of business owners who appreciate what you do and don’t bitch and moan and give you headaches?
Nearly a decade now, we have never had a business take issue with the offshore model. Not one. Ever. Business owners, in my experience, couldn’t care less where and how their accounting work is being done. They just want good value for the money they are spending with you.
If you are bold and if you are confident in your position, then we suggest you take a similar approach. If you ensure your clients are receiving good value from your service, we doubt you’ll have any issues. Communicate with them. Talk to them. Write to them.
Now, we understand not everyone is going to feel that way. So, our diluted version of the strong approach would be to segment your client list. Choose the clients who are likely to be most open to having work done by an offshore team. And choose clients who are already comfortable with using cloud-based tools - the modern, forward-thinking business owners. Then start small and gradually have your offshore staff take over their accounting.
Bit by bit, as the evidence grows within your practice that the model is viable and valuable, you will be able to expand across many more of your clients. Maybe you won’t get 100% of your clients taking up cloud accounting and being comfortable with offshore staff, but we bet a good proportion of them will be. And if they aren’t, we’d seriously look at the quality of your client base.
What Will Your Staff Think? But what about the local staff? How do they feel? There are several things they might be feeling.
● They might fear for their job, thinking they could be retrenched in favour of cheaper staff offshore
● They might fear the change and how it will impact the comfortable routine they have become accustomed to
● They might be uncomfortable with the idea they have to talk to someone in another country
● They might not be happy about training someone in another country via tools like Skype
● They might be excited about having help in the Philippines
● And finally, they might be indifferent to the whole thing
We’ve seen ALL of those responses from employees. And that’s why if you are a partner reading this, you must communicate openly and honestly with your staff.
If you are reading this and don’t yet have an offshore team, you can look for guidance from the dozens of other firms who have succeeded over the last few years. We’ve collectively made the path easy to follow for firms just starting with their offshoring journey.
For further information about Frontline please email