Use Offshoring as a Tactic to Transition from Compliance to Advisory

For several years now, there’s been a long-standing argument that if those of us in the accounting profession are to thrive, and not just survive, we’re doing to have to switch from a compliance mindset—merely being passive order-takers who enable our client to comply with prevailing tax codes—to an advisory role. By assuming an active position as trusted advisors, we can demonstrate how we can use our superior tax expertise to enable our clients to accomplish their strategic business goals in ways they never imagined.

The Tactic Called Offshoring

I suggest that offshoring is a tactic you should consider to help with this transition.

Normally, when those of us in the CPA field discuss securing offshoring talent—recruiting accounting professionals abroad to execute your firm’s work—it’s in the context of the severe labor shortage we’ve been facing. Where can we get the help we need when qualified accountants are in such short supply? And it’s true, the last year has proven that firms can successfully manage a remote workforce and deliver high-quality services in a virtual setting.

Article on Offshoring

On March 16, Patrick Ross published an article online entitled Has Covid Changed Accounting Firm Offshore Hiring? that contends that offshore staffing could answer some of the accounting profession’s most pressing problems right now.

In Ross’ view, offshore teams are designed to augment, not replace, existing onshore CPA teams in the U.S. By absorbing routine work, offshore support can save managers and senior staff from burnout and overwork, while freeing them up to focus on high-value client-facing advisory work.

Think of it. While you’re driving, you’d never say, “I’m too busy to buy gas.” By the same token, you’d never say, “I’m too busy to take care of my best clients.” Offshoring can be a tactic for you that creates capacity for your partners and frees up their time to devote to your more lucrative advisory practice—which is the future of your firm.

Talent Sourcing Concerns

U.S. CPA firms rightly have concerns about engaging offshore talent sourcing. Will the in-house staff be threatened? Would clients disapprove? What about security concerns? And exactly how skilled is the offshore staff?

When it comes to offshoring, 90% of accounting firms cite as their top concerns data security and quality of staff. Here are some tips when it comes to in selecting your offshore staffing partner.

Here’s what else you should check:

  • Their client references and the client testimonials featured on their website and social media.
  • Their online reviews;
  • Their IT policy, internal data security and confidentiality policy, and compliance record;
  • Their agreements before you sign: be aware of relevant clauses;
  • Their cybersecurity defenses, E&O insurance, and certifications

Also, feel free to ask for a virtual tour of their office.

A major player in the world of offshore CPA talent staffing is a firm called Entigrity, which has partnered with over 250 U.S. accounting firms since the pandemic, but a Google search for “offshore staffing for accountants” will yield a large number of potential offshore staffing partner suitable for your needs.

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