Over the last decade outsourcing work offshore has been a trend in the Australian accounting landscape. Often one of the first areas an accounting practice will look to offshore is their SMSF compliance work.
Although I don’t have an issue with offshoring in general as a business solution, for a number of reasons I believe it’s unnecessary to outsource SMSF administration and compliance work offshore.
The following items must be looked at by accountants before a decision is made to push SMSF work overseas:
Correctly utilising the right SMSF accounting technology can significantly reduce the time it takes to complete basic compliance functions.
Class is the best SMSF accounting platform available. The licence fees are more than its competitors because it enables a higher level of automation and efficiency compared to alternatives. When we first implemented Class our ‘processing’ time dropped from almost 11 hours per SMSF to 2 hours.
This was close to a decade ago (we were early adopters). The efficiency levels and capabilities have increased since then.
Train Your Staff
Your team members are the face of your business. Even if you are a team of one.
Investing into your team members capabilities has many benefits:
• Makes them more proficient and competent
• Improves their morale
• Enables them to provide a better service experience to clients
• Gives opportunities for additional services to be delivered
• Improves staff retention
• Reduces business risk
Training shouldn’t purely be technically focussed. Although accountants typically gravitate towards technical content, from a client’s perspective, technical competence is assumed.
Non-technical skills (service, communication, relationship) will help differentiate you and your team from all the other accounting businesses in the market.
Training doesn’t have to be expensive. Much of the best learning can be done through case studies and team discussions of freely available rulings and content. You can also outsource training to an external provider – it’s a cost vs. time decision.
Although plugging in best-of-breed software like Class will give an efficiency kick, implementing new software by itself is not innovative.
Innovation doesn’t need to be high cost or technology driven. It could be as simple as delivering your existing services in a novel way. It could be through focusing on a niche within the SMSF market and becoming known as the go-to business for that area.
It’s often difficult to show your service is better than your competitors, however it’s significantly easier to show how you are different!
Focus on Value (Not Cost)
Providing a unique solution and quality service can be a more profitable – and satisfying – alternative compared to lowering costs through offshoring.
The SMSF value chain can best be described as follows:
Advice <> Administration <> Compliance
Advice delivered by licensed SMSF specialist advisers is highly valued by trustees.
By comparison, compliance services – i.e. core accountant functions including completing accounts, lodgement or annual returns and SMSF audits are perceived as lower value. Perhaps a better way of thinking about the value of compliance services is ‘removal of pain’.
Sitting between compliance services and advice is administration. This includes providing up to date information and support for both self-directed trustees as well as advisers. Quality administration adds value to both the delivery of advice services as well as the removal of compliance pain.
It is possible for compliance based professionals (accountants) to move up the value chain into advice. It’s not an easy road, but when done well, can be massively beneficial for both the clients as well as the business providing the advice.
The above alternatives to offshoring compliance work are different means for an accounting business to reinvent how they deliver their SMSF services.
The challenge you will face implementing change will be finding the time to make it happen. There is a shortcut.
By partnering with Intello you can leap-frog the dirty time-consuming grunt work and use the free capacity to drive change and design an SMSF service your current and future clients will love.