Finance And Accounting Outsourcing Trends

Outsourcing business operations is one of the new trends followed today by most of the companies. The Finance and Accounting outsourcing industry too has grown to a large extent today. Big, medium and small businesses resort to outsourcing accounting operations, because it saves them a lot of time and money. This is a process when a business hands over its finance operations to an external agency (team or individual). This external agency will take care of all the accounting operations, thereby releasing the burden of the businesses. These agencies charge a nominal fee for the finance and accounting services (preparing entries, finalization of accounts, getting audit compliance reports, year-end reporting, etc.) rendered. Some of the recent trends followed in this industry are as follows:

Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

One of the latest trends that are creating waves in the field of outsourced finance & accounting operations is Robotic Process Automation. As the name indicates, this process involves the use of technology to automate processes, improve their quality and eliminate all the unnecessary and repetitive processes involved in delivering the final result. Through this process, the agencies that take care of F&A operations of their clients, make use of computer software to bring about the speed, efficiency and accuracy in the way accounts are managed and presented.

Predictive & Prescriptive analytics

This is one of the most successful trends employed in the finance and accounting industry today. This method involves in providing a descriptive analysis, predictive analysis on how the future model would turn out to be and prescribing an optimum solution that suits the nature and operations of a particular business. When this trend is adopted by agencies who handle the F&A activities, businesses get an idea of their current situation, forecasts for future and apt F& A model to be adopted. The finance and accounting outsourcing agencies give a detailed report about this to the business for reasonable charges.

Hybrid pricing models

In the finance and accounting outsourcing industry, many agencies charge rates based on the hybrid pricing model. In this model, business owners need to pay the agencies that take care of their F&A activities, only for the exact services that have an impact on the business earnings. If you are a business owner, you can choose this model, because it is tailor-made for you with flexible pricing structure. Delegate only particular tasks to finance and accounting outsourcing companies and pay exactly for that.

Finance and Accounting Outsourcing Going Strong

Trends
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)

Benefits
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.

Trends of Outsourcing Finance and Accounting Services

Organizations are looking for effective finance and accounting trends, ways to reduce the operational costs and gain a competitive edge in the market today by outsourcing their processes.

2014 is expecting a growth of 56% in BPO service sales in the first three months of the financial year.

As per the research carried out by a self-regulating research firm, strong development is estimated in business process outsourcing. The global market shows an approximate opportunity rate of US $150 to $200 billion in the field of finance and accounting.

Back in 2010, the industries that largely shifted to finance and accounting outsourcing were retail, manufacturing, travel, financial services and logistics. These sectors accounted for roughly 70 to 75 percent of the total spending. Other industries exploring the scope since then include real estate/ property buying & selling firms, medical, banking and IT firms.

The finance & accounting solutions also takes into account payroll, accounts receivable and accounts payable outsourcing processes. Evolving development trends in this sector are financial planning and business analysis.

Reducing cost and enhancing business productivity has always been the focus of organizations operating in this field. Today, looking beyond mere cost reduction the emphasis is shifting on to create new revenue streams. Potential BPOs must make noteworthy advancements of performance metrics while dealing with large accounts of inefficiencies. Subsequently, this moderates financial risks and ensures compliance with the developing regulatory norms.

The outsourcing organisations who are up to elevate the finance function and meet client challenges, propose the best ever finance & accounting solutions to the industry. In the virtue of accelerating financial growth without putting an organisation into much of a risk, BPOs plan to give a sustainable development while enduring to capitalize on manpower and innovation.

Obtaining a better insight on business performance and maintenance, the shared service providers can lend a great support for preparing revenue growth plans. These outsourcing firms operate as a comprehensive partner supporting, managing and executing finance related functions covering the following:

General ledger
Accounts receivable
Accounts payable
Reporting & compliance
Budgeting & forecasting

Financial service providers drive a robust implementation of process enhancement mechanism that manages the monetary and regulatory risks, contributes in business growth while maintain the cost.

Such refined economic methodology not only helps businesses improve efficiency but, also drives value through upgraded key performance indicators such as profit recovery, DSO, etc.

Adding on to the business value, the service providers work towards bringing process improvement to an organisation leading to profits that are greater than their yearly convention value. Organisations benefit as enhancement in the map of accounts leading to decline in the month-end closing cycle by 10%. Firms gain up to 30% more business efficiency during their work tenure of outsourcing processes.

How the Finance and Accounting Process Is Transforming?

The chief financial officers and business owners, nowadays, look beyond cost reduction. Their focus is on developing new revenue streams for their business. They want to make a significant improvement in their performance metrics, while lowering down the inefficiencies. Consecutively, they look to address regulations and mitigate allied financial risks with the growing regulatory norms.

The financial and accounting organizations can elevate the business proficiency of any organization, thus, entrepreneurs seek to meet the following challenges.

Entrepreneurs want to:

• Accelerate revenue growth and reduce costs, without giving any risk to a business
• Acquire a greater understanding over the performance metrics and course of a business, requiring an adequate support for the growth of revenue plans
• Sustain a profitable growth and make a better investment in people and innovation

How service providers can help?

Service vendors operate as an extending arm or technology partner providing finance & accounting services and handling financial functions spanning across the following areas:

• Accounts Payable
• Accounts Receivable
• General ledger management
• Budgeting and forecasting
• Reporting and compliance

The third-party vendors help enterprises manage the fiscal and regulatory risks, drive robust business execution at the best cost and assist a business empire to accelerate growth. Service providers help entrepreneurs to explore new markets and find methods to maintain a stance in the existing market.

The outsourcing procedure not only helps an organization to improve competitiveness, but also, drive efficiency through enhanced KPIs (key performance indicators).

Outsourcing:

Offers financial centers of excellence: to drive best industry practice and benchmark finance and accounting processes.

Integrates technology as a value proposition: to help entrepreneurs reduce process timelines, accelerate process productivity, simplify processes, increase accuracy as well as maximize the value of the existing ERP or enterprise resource planning investment.

Manages risk and assures compliance and quality: to build secure and reliable operations with independent risk management, compliance, and quality assurance for your operations.

Enhances business model: to help entrepreneurs get the full mileage from outsourcing initiatives, reducing costs, enhancing control and reducing process cycle time.

A service provider implements best industry practices to enhance the overall financial and accounting functions. Reputed service vendors build the credentials of a process to support the varied financial needs of an organization, with the help of a large pool of dedicated accounts team.

Outsourcing is transforming the entire finance and accounting value chain, by working on process improvement and offering value addition to the businesses. Service providers offer end-to-end services, ranging from routine services to high-end integrations, which makes the financial stature of an organization robust. The comprehensive suite of outsourcing solutions also include, niche services such as credit referral, revenue assurance, financial settlement and rent disbursement.