Outsourcing is common for accounting and bookkeeping tasks. Many accounting firms work with offshore teams to serve their clients. Outsourcing firms can bring better results when their offshore team is on the same page with the in-house team. An important aspect to look for here is the knowledge transfer to the offshore team.
At Pransform, we work as a leading outsourcing accounting firm. Our experts have a few tips for you to manage the knowledge transfer to the offshore team.
Tips for Knowledge Transfer with Offshore Teams
Unshared knowledge with the offshores may lead to inventing the wheel again for your firm. It may result in a time waste and poor results for your clients.
You can share specific project details with the offshore teams regularly. However, there are certain steps you should consider to set a strong foundation when working with an offshore team.
Accounting teams may come with experience in different industries. Individual team members may also come with different skill sets. Thus, it’s important to delegate responsibilities smartly.
You should consider a focal person to handle the offshore team responsibilities at first. Think of that person as a project manager for your offshore team.
If you keep all the communication and knowledge sharing through the same designated person, it will make life easier for both teams.
Use communication tools effectively to your and the offshore team’s advantage. For instance, consider file sharing through ordinary email services whenever possible.
For detailed discussions about a client’s specific accounting or taxation services requirements, use video calling tools.
You can make communication smarter by choosing the right tools first. For instance, using email for formal communication, a video calling app (Skype or Zoom) for detailed discussions, and file-sharing tools such as Dropbox.
Use Cloud Accounting Software
One way of keeping both teams on the same page is to use cloud-based accounting software. Both teams can collaborate and work with the shared access.
An important point to remember is to address the privacy concern. Segregation of roles and delegated access can help you overcome the issue here.
Speaking from our experience at Pransform, the use of cloud accounting solutions such as QuickBooks, Xero, and FreshBooks, etc. Makes knowledge sharing a lot easier for us.
Communicate Regulatory Requirements Clearly
Accounting standards and taxation regulatory environment is continuously changing. New tax regulations such as temporary provisions for deductions, allowable credits, etc. Can make a lot of difference when serving local clients through offshore teams.
Thus, a vital point in knowledge transfer planning is to keep your offshore team abreast of the regulatory requirements of your local clients.
Share Past Experience with the Offshore Team
An effective way of knowledge sharing with your offshore teams is by sharing your completed projects with them.
As an accounting outsourcing firm, you’ll retain a few customers on an ongoing basis. Thus, sharing your experience with these customers can help the offshore team to understand their requirements.
You may take two different approaches here. Either assign a new project to your offshore, so that they work independently on it from start to finish. Else, you can take your offshore team on board with an ongoing project, so that they get along with your local team efficiently.
Manage Privacy Issues
A major concern for many accounting firms has been the privacy of their clients. Working with a professional and established offshore team reduces that risk.
A professional way of handling these issues with knowledge sharing is to enter into formal privacy contracts with the offshore team. You can formulate a non-disclosure agreement, a privacy protection plan, or a similar document that binds both parties.
Formal planning in terms of data transfer methods, access, and collection can help mitigate the privacy issues as well.
Develop Trust with Your Offshore Team
The more trust you develop in your offshore team the easier it gets for you to share knowledge. You can build that trust by knowing your offshore team members professionally and personally.
Always keep your offshore team in the loop when assigning new tasks. Keep the communication consistent and effective. Keep communicating your company’s vision to the offshore team so that both sides keep an eye on the long-term goal.