By Gavin Sneddon
It has been reported that the UK job vacancy rate had hit a high as the economy restarts in an employment frenzy.
As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK economy appears to be regaining strength and moving towards better stability.
With this positive stride it would be in the thoughts of accounting firms to begin bolstering their workforce by recruiting from the available resources and talent pool. However, there would appear to be a shortage in skilled workers.
There is the battle of recruitment with the top firms taking resources from the 2nd tier firms and 2nd tier firms doing the same to the 3rd tier and so on. This shortage would complicate and halt any business plans in growth and scaling the company. So where will you find this required resource and talent?
There has been a trend in sponsoring workers from overseas to join companies when faced with talent shortages. However, this comes with additional processes in immigration, setup of licences and fees.
If you’ve looked at the sponsorship method of hiring, what would be the difference in hiring a professional offshore? The worker would simply be taking out the tasks remotely as many of your current work force had been during the COVID-19 pandemic.
When it comes to offshoring and outsourcing, I hear a lot of people say it doesn’t work. But it’s not that it doesn’t work. Accountancy outsourcing is a big market. It’s that it didn’t work for them. And when I ask why, the most common answers are quality, communication and control.
Quality and communication issues can be easily sorted by working with the right outsourcing partners. I believe if you pay peanuts, you’ll get monkeys. I know a lot of firms who have gone for the cheaper option and yet expect quality. Unfortunately, they do not go hand in hand. Not every outsourcer can deliver a quality service. This is why there are only a select few players in the market who are successful at outsourcing. Most outsourcing failures are doomed from the start simply by bad choices.
Another issue with a lot of traditional firms is that they are concerned about losing control. However, remote working tools like Teams, Zoom, Skype and Google Hangout are alleviating these concerns by bridging the distance gap and helping everyone work together as a single unit. Quite a few firms involve their offshore team in training, team meetings, job allocations and more. So, the firms still get to keep control of workflows, and the outsourcing/offshoring partners are responsible for delivering consistent quality.
For UK accounting firms, I believe that a UK-based outsourcing unit is in the best position to work with those firms and iron out any issues that may arise. Having a UK counterpart is useful from a communications point of view because it acts as a buffer between the firm and the offshore team.
Finding the right outsourcing/offshoring partner with the right experience and expertise will make the transition smooth because they will have already come across challenges with outsourcing and found solutions to make it work.
Remember, it’s in the interests of the outsourcing/offshoring partner to make it work too, and it’s in the firm’s interest to find a cost-effective delivery solution for their work. It works both ways and a collective, collaborative effort will see this journey through to fruition. See our video on the pro’s and cons of outsourcing.