One of the main questions we get from our clients is, “How can I get quality outsourcing down pat?” It’s a valid question and one that should be considered before choosing an outsourcing provider. As you start thinking about outsourcing your finance and accounting functions, quality is bound to be one of your main concerns. In fact, we can give you a resounding yes for the following questions:
Will it be just as good as my in-house team?
Will the talent be up to standard?
Will I be able to focus more time on other projects?
The truth is, ensuring quality is not an overnight process – you’ll need to follow some guidelines to guarantee that quality is understood, met and continuously improved with your outsourcing provider. We’ve outlined a few rules below to implement the same (or better) quality for seamless outsourcing.
Research Your Options
This rule might seem like a breeze, but it’s often the toughest one to follow. And just like you wouldn’t play Russian roulette with hiring the right candidate, you shouldn’t do the same with choosing the right provider. Here’s what you should take note of before jumping the gun:
Do they have experience? Imagine hiring someone to babysit your kids with zero capability or prior knowledge. Now keep that thought and imagine hiring an outsourcing partner that has only been in business for less than a month, has nothing in their pipeline and knows nothing about the industry. Would you still hire them? The answer would be a definite no.
Do their values and your values align? Your provider should be an extension of your team. Do they care about the growth of your company? Are you both mutually invested?
Do they have quality talent? How do they find top talent? If the talent they hire is below standards, walk away. Your provider is only as good as the talent it employs.
Do they have sound technology and infrastructures in place? Nothing screams frustration more than a provider with unreliable software and systems. And don’t forget to ask them about their security protocols.
Focus on Culture for Optimal Quality Outsourcing Results
In outsourcing, you’re bound to come across cultural differences between you and your team – and that’s okay. And while many may brush aside culture, it actually plays a key role in lowering attrition rates and creating a positive employee experience. Make sure you understand the outsourcing provider’s core values, culture and philosophy. Consider this: a BuiltIn survey found that 88 percent of employees believe that a solid company culture is key to business success. Here’s why cultural fit is critical:
Allows for an open line of communication. Culture fit allows team members to share their thoughts and ideas freely without difficulty.
Improves team collaboration. When you have a successful cultural fit, carrying out tasks is easy. Furthermore, it makes employees of both organizations feel supported.
Protects your brand’s reputation. When you partner with an outsourcing provider, they become an extension of your team. You don’t want to risk a ruined company image with a bad cultural fit.
Ensure Technology Alignment to Achieve Quality Results When Outsourcing
The last thing you need on your plate is to partner with a provider that is married to specific tech stack that you’re not familiar with. Be sure that your provider can align with your technology. The more control you have over the process, the easier the transition will be. Further, by choosing a company that can work well within your system, your end clients will never know that you are outsourcing (a win-win). Ask your provider about any other programs they offer to build on your tech infrastructure.
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Give Clear Expectations
Don’t let miscommunication get in the way of progress. By setting up important goals and clear expectations upfront, you’ll remove headaches later on. If there is any confusion, address it directly, before work even begins. This way, your provider will know how to serve your needs and help ensure quality outsourcing.
Additionally, don’t set any expectations that are far-fetched. Before you outline your requirements and demands, make sure they’re within reason. The worst thing you can do for your company (and provider) is forgetting to set guidelines; the end result can have devasting effects on your team. So how can you set effective expectations to ensure quality?
Define your expectations. Do not make abstract statements, like ‘improve closing time’. Instead, try ‘improve closing time by 20 percent by end of second quarter’.
Find ways to communicate. Things can get lost in translation. Instead of verbalizing your needs, put them in writing so that there’s a frame of reference.
Set realistic goals. Establishing goals doesn’t guarantee success, but it can lead you on a path towards success. Consider the S.M.A.R.T approach – is it specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely?
As Henry Ford once said, “If everyone is moving forward together then success takes care of itself.”
Suggested Reading: How to Set Goals to Grow Your Business in the New Year
Consider Your Team Size
We always get the question of, “I have a small team, can I still outsource?”
If you thought outsourcing was for just for global corporations, think again. Over the past few years, many businesses have realized the benefits of outsourcing and have shifted towards adopting outsourcing as a viable resource. The beauty of outsourcing is that you can outsource what you need, whether that’s one role (AR Specialist) or a whole accounting team (AR Specialist, AP Specialist, Bookkeeper, Tax Accountant, etc.).
And if the quality isn’t what you expected, don’t fret. In many cases, this issue can be resolved by working with your account manager one-on-one. However, you should be specific about what isn’t working, such as the speed at which tasks are being completed, accuracy of tasks - are there constant reporting errors? - or experience – does the assigned accounting professional lack competence?
There are many factors to consider where quality is concerned. The above tips are just a small snippet of the outsourcing pie and will allow you to really dive deep into what it means to have a quality outsourcing partner. For over 35 years, our team has been committed to delivering the best solutions to our clients and we can help you too. Get in touch with our virtual accounting experts to learn why quality is one of our core values.