A Message from the COO,
We recently held two special interest group meetings which were of particular relevance to all of our members. For both Zoom meetings we had a very high attendance. Our HR SIG discussed outsourcing or offshoring of staff. The range of different outsourced activities carried out by our members was very wide. Many have been outsourcing work and running offshore teams for some time whereas at the other extreme some of our members have not outsourced at all. Some of our members offer the opportunity to outsource work directly to them.
It is clear from the level of experience shown by our members that should anyone be interested in outsourcing work or creating an offshore team then there is plenty of experience within our membership to assist them with sound advice. It is also clear that although most of what we discussed was around outsourcing professional work such as audit, bookkeeping, payroll or tax return preparation there were also quite a lot of our members outsourcing their IT support, Web design and hosting or marketing activities. Again, there is much experience within our membership which can be shared.
There are clearly professional standards and legal requirements that need to be complied with when carrying out work offshore especially with regard to audit work and the preparation of tax returns. Many of our members have amended their engagement letters accordingly and are required to obtain the consent of clients before carrying out such work. Indeed, the regulatory environment within their country may compel them to do so. However, it also became clear that in some of our members jurisdictions there were no such restrictions in place.
The second meeting was the Marketing special interest group where a lot of our firms outsource everything from branding and brand guidelines to social media management and blog creation, the production of newsletters, copywriting and website hosting and design.
However, there was also the clear message that no matter how you carry out marketing in order to convert a client it is important to have a face-to-face meeting.
Some of our members have used Google ads or LinkedIn campaigns to obtain leads and this can be very successful as long as there is a process to follow up the leads and to convert them.
It was also clear that for many of our firms they are receiving so many new inquiries for work and consequently are very busy. This is a situation exacerbated by the difficulties currently experienced in hiring new professional staff. Therefore, they may not be carrying out much direct marketing as there is simply not the need to take those extra steps to acquire new clients.
Many of our members are using some of the older traditional methods such as attending trade shows, advertising in trade journals, and attending face to face business networking events.
Should any of our members wish to have specific guidance on any outsourcing, offshoring or marketing activity I am sure that we will be able to find another member within Integra who will be only too pleased to share their experience with them. Please contact any of your administrators or myself or put a must message in our WhatsApp group. Please also communicate to us any successes you may have that we may share with our members.
- Mark Saunders