Due to the growing economic instability and decline in profit margins in most industries around the world, the management strategies of companies are now solely focusing on increasing efficiency and on generating significant cost savings. Business process outsourcing as a strategic tool has been accepted as one of the most effective means to achieve these twin goals. Most companies now consider finance and accounting outsourcing as an important part of their outsourcing strategy. Some recent studies and surveys highlight the following:
• An independent survey estimated that Software and Services export revenues expected to grow over 16-17% to reach USD 62 billion by FY 11 with FAO being the second largest area of outsourcing
• The Finance and Accounting Outsourcing (FAO) market in 2010 is expected to resume a growth trajectory more similar to pre-recessionary levels, moving towards 20 percent and reach nearly US$3.7 million in annual contract volume (ACV)
Common Activities outsourced in Accounting
The most common activities in this area include:
• Record to Report (e.g., general accounting and reporting, forecasting and planning, banking)
• Procure to Pay (e.g., invoicing, travel and expense)
• Order to Cash (e.g., order processing, credit and collections)
While cost reduction would remain the primary driver for finance and accounting outsourcing, a study suggests that global finance executives also appreciate the ability to gain sharper focus on core competencies. Thirty-two percent of the respondents said outsourcing was instrumental in increasing the business productivity of the finance staff and allowed their organizations to access best-of-breed talent and technology.
Some of the key benefits of outsourcing are as follows:
• Cost savings-Outsourcing reduces staffing costs by 30 to 70%, reducing the overall net processing costs by 20 to 50%. Good accounting firms are equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure, innovative technology and professional expertise to handle custom projects in their branch of specialization. As a result, you are not only saved from making costly investment, but also get the benefit of professional expertise at a price most of the developed countries cannot offer
• Greater leverage-Buyers have access to supplier leverage gained from infrastructure sharing and process consolidation
• Improved reporting-Outsourcing could also improve service delivery, enhance process accuracy and increase the speed of reporting
• Achieve strategic business value- According to a recent study, half of the total respondents indicated that FAO is viewed as a tool to address both operational and strategic F&A needs
Buyers generally achieve the benefits they seek from their FAO implementation, particularly relative to reducing cost and using savings to fund F&A transformation efforts
The role of outsourcing in driving profitability has increased significantly in the current economic scenario. Organizations that adapt outsourcing will not only lower their operating costs but gain significant competitive advantage within their industry.