Monday, May 11, 2009

The Overseas Struggle

TAD has prided itself that all work we perform for our clients is performed by employees located in the United States. But, we are starting to feel resistance from potential as well as current clients that are seeking to weather the financial storm, and find ways to further cut costs. Even though we are capable of saving many firms 30 – 50% off their current accounting costs, many companies are seeking even greater savings, and yet, not sacrificing quality accounting. The real question: Does outsourcing some functions make since if it further saves the client money, over the fact that you once again have the potential for a qualified US worker to lose their job or potential job?

As an Operations Officer, this is a question that cannot be ignored; furthermore, if I plan to keep my company advancing into the future, I also cannot ignore the increased reliance on overseas functions within my industry. Outsourced accounting is in its infancy, and as it grows through toddler to maturity, we are going to see more work that is shipped overseas. Some will be performed by accounting groups that are at the peak of professionalism, others, not so much. I believe that we will see a backlash not unlike the software industry has seen with outsourcing to India. Nothing raises a person’s ire off the charts than when they have technical issues that are addressed by someone reading a script and whose accent is very thick. On the accounting side, the largest issue that I have heard addressed is the time difference. While you are sleeping, they are working. If you have issues, they are dealt with when you wake up, but not by the India team until the evening. So it can be 48 to 72 hours sometimes before issues are fixed.

In May, TAD began to test a relationship with CVR to address another issue that has slowly been arising, and that is how to best take care of the quickly growing Spanish Speaking market. Our idea is to partner with CVR and provide accounting services through their accounting firm, and we act as the gateway, working with the client of the sales tax and payroll side. So far the relationship has been progressing steadily, with some testing coming along very positively. During this testing I started to wonder, what if we were to outsource some of our data entry to CVR? What are the positives: They are in Central America, they have been in the accounting business for many years, but even larger, and they fall within the Central time zone. Work done by CVR is done during my work day, so errors that arise are easily addressed and fixed quickly.

What does all this mean? From my view point it means that TAD is continuing to look forward and discover additional ways to save our clients cash flow while delivering a product. More importantly, from an operations viewpoint, we are keeping a watchful eye on the competitor, and creating game plans that keep our firm in business and not shelved away. Overseas outsourcing cannot be ignored, companies that do so might find themselves out priced and out serviced.

For the meantime, TAD is keeping its accounting processes US based, and will always keep the compliance part of the business in the US. Tad will also continue to test data entry functions with our Spanish partners to keep focused on the future, unlike the dinosaurs, we would rather not find ourselves extinct.

Scott West / COO

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