Outsourcing has exploded in popularity across the global business landscape this year, with the Philippines at the forefront of it all. With its skilled workforce, commitment to workforce investments, and robust infrastructure, the Philippines is not just a destination for outsourcing; It's the destination, and it's influencing the trajectory of offshoring on a global scale, especially for finance and accounting services in the beautiful city of Manila.
Accounting in the Philippines is cost-effective, and a unique blend of cultural compatibility, a flourishing secondary education system, and a robust talent pool make Philippine talent an excellent resource for finance leaders who need to augment their in-house teams.
Here are just a few ways that Manila is helping to shape the future of offshoring from within the finance function — and beyond it.
Top-notch Offshoring Talent in Manila – A virtuous cycle of education and employment
At the heart of the Philippines' primacy in the global outsourcing market is its talented workforce. As a country, there's a strong emphasis on providing a rigorous public education that starts in primary school and extends into postsecondary institutions. Just this year, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) announced that college enrollment "increased dramatically", rising from 2.9 million in 2017 to 4.1 million in 2022.
This explosion in growth — especially in the number of students working toward a bachelor's degree — follows the implementation of a 2015 policy that democratized postsecondary education by removing the costs associated with pursuing it.
We're beginning to see the results of public investments and policies like this one, which have produced a pool of highly skilled professionals across various disciplines. From finance experts and IT specialists to call center operators, the Philippines boasts a diverse talent pool that's prepared to keep up with the evolving needs of businesses worldwide.
According to CHED, the fields of study attracting the most enrollees also produce the most in-demand skills — engineering, technology, and IT-related disciplines. Leaders find that where stateside talent is lean, Philippine pools are well-stocked. Nearly a third of the accounting and bookkeeping professionals working in the financial services industries are certified public accountants, a number that's rising as stateside percentages drop.
Ongoing Investment in Training, Upskilling, and Delivering on New Demands
In the fast-paced world of technology and business, continuous learning is not just a choice; it's a necessity. That's true whether you're working from Milwaukee or Manila. Significant investments in training and upskilling programs for the Philippine workforce employed in BPO services have been vital in keeping pace with demand. Initiatives developed by government and private operators within the country ensure that professionals stay abreast of the latest industry trends and technologies.
Recently, the Philippine government has taken proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity regulations, with the Philippines Armed Forces issuing a "cyber command" in 2022 to shore up existing infrastructure and safety measures. The results so far? The risk of data breaches has declined across the board, from consumer data (76 percent) to intellectual property (78 percent), and a nearly 90 percent decline in attacks overall in 2023.
Filipino work ethic, ambition, and a culture of constant improvement even earned a callout by the president of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who called the country's workforce it's "greatest advantage" on the world stage at the ASEAN-EU summit in Belgium in December of 2022.
"Apart from the young, the Philippine workforce is distinguished by high trainability, proficiency in the English language, technological skill, cost-efficiency, cultural adaptability, and a low attrition rate," he told participants of a business roundtable discussion there. He also committed to continued government support of upskilling and training initiatives, calling them the "investments" that fuel growth and prosperity.
Established Infrastructure that Keeps Up with Global Economic Trends
Tax incentives and public investment in the development of a robust infrastructure make the Philippines a natural choice for BPOs, while talent development and explosive job growth make the professional opportunities those BPOs have on offer especially attractive to an ambitious generation of highly-educated young professionals. This early and continued support from the government has fueled the Philippines' meteoric rise to the top of Best Outsourcing Destinations lists.
The Philippines hasn't just managed to keep up, they have government backup. The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) was established in 1995 to help promote, oversee, and assist foreign-registered businesses operating within the country. And it's working: 83 percent of Philippine BPOs surveyed by the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) in 2022 are expected to post growth this year despite the looming global recession and PEZA investment approvals are expected to increase by a staggering 258 percent YoY by the end of 2023.
What’s Next for Offshoring in the Future? The Philippines Is a Bellwether
As the jobs we do, the tools we do them with, and the environment we do them within all evolve, so will the outsourcing market, including in the Philippines. In fact, it's already beginning to change. Traditionally known for its expertise in customer service and call center operations, the country is keeping up with new demands by expanding workforce resources and capabilities into more specialized fields.
Software development, IT services, finance and accounting, and even one-to-one personal assistance services are all on the upswing in the Philippines, and a shift toward outcome-based pricing models has put the country at the forefront of the evolution of outsourcing as a model. What all of these changes have in common are that they demonstrate an ability to adapt to the changing business landscape and align the goals of Philippine workers and firms with those of their global partners.
To predict what jobs will be outsourced in the future, it makes sense to follow the Philippines' lead and pay close attention to what's already on the horizon — the jobs that will be automated in the future. The ability to automate inefficiencies, whether in part or full will have a major influence on the shape the outsourced workforce takes.
The capabilities unlocked by robotic process automation, for instance, prove that what can be outsourced isn't just limited to routine tasks. Jobs and tasks that encompass high-value functions that require a blend of technical expertise and soft skills can be outsourced, too.
We're already seeing the shift in the finance function. Technological advancements and automation have added jobs to global economies that might not have been added in the past. BPOs that can meet the growing demand for highly skilled professionals and provide high-quality support for digital transformation initiatives for their partners are shaping the future of outsourcing everywhere, with countries like the Philippines taking the lead.
Getting Started: Unlocking the Benefits of Offshoring in Manila, Philippines
Offshoring to Manila has demonstrable benefits for both business leaders and the Philippine workforce. Companies seek cost-effective solutions for increased efficiency and unlock talent to support in-house teams. With a highly-educated workforce that's poised to enter into — or progress within — clear upward career trajectories, Filipinos are seeking better-paying opportunities trajectories that support a better quality of life.
Outsourcing can provide both groups with what they're looking for. Partnerships with providers that have a demonstrated commitment to investing in their employees and aligning their goals to their clients tend to have the best results.
At Personiv, for instance, a commitment to professional development and community has allowed us to build our reputation as an employer in Manila, where we're able to retain an average of 98% of our amazing employees year-over-year, earning us a coveted "Great Place to Work" in the Philippines certification in 2022.
Investing so heavily in our workers is what has allowed us to deliver consistent results within the legacy partnerships that we build with our clients, too, making us one of the Top Global Outsourcing Firms designated by Outsource Accelerator, too.
We stand apart by helping our clients build solutions that last right from the start with a customer-centric approach that borders on customer-obsessed. From the ability to bring on a Manila-based team as small as one, SLAs that codify Day-Zero results, and U.S.-based management that's with you every step of the way, we make it easy to tap into all of the ways Manila, Philippines is shaping the future of offshoring.
Ready to get started? So are we.