We have complied the below list of the most frequently asked questions. If you cannot find the answer you want, then please feel free to contact us

What is the difference between outsourcing and offshoring?

The way that accountancy outsourcing works is that you work with a company that has a team of accountants (usually offshore) who are ready to pick up the work that you send over.

Typically, they will have a portal where you can upload your jobs.  Your job is picked up by somebody, it comes back and you review it. You pass on any queries to your client, feedback through the portal and then pass the finalised report onto the client.

This is a very elastic solution, where during busy periods you could upload more jobs, and less busy periods you could do more of it in house if you wanted.

The main issues with outsourcing like this are:

  1. The quality of the work is very haphazard as it depends on who picks up the work
  2. The person doing the work follows their own processes and uses their own systems rather than yours.
  3. You cannot develop the person doing the work as it could be someone different each time.
  4. There is no commitment from the person doing the work to you or your clients.

With offshoring, you select someone who has the right skills and is right for your team.  You then train them in your processes and systems and they become part of your team.  They are dedicated to working solely for you and you manage their workload as if they were your employee.

Your offshore team members are employed by iO but you are involved in the selection process and they work solely for you.

This eliminates the above issues as:

  1. They work solely for you and become part of your team
  2. You have trained them in how to do the work your way
  3. They take on board regular feedback from you, so they improve and grow.
  4. You train them in new things and give them more responsibility, so they stay with you and add even more value.

What our clients really like about offshoring is that they get someone who is just like a member of their team internally that just happens to be based offshore. They can develop that person so they get stronger and stronger, week by week.

Your offshore team member can also be client-centric.  You can assign them a portfolio of clients and they work on these same clients’ work month after month strengthening their connection and relationship.  This gives them a better understanding of the clients in their portfolio and they feel they are a valuable part of your business.

When should I start considering offshoring?

The answer varies greatly business to business.  Here are three of the key drivers for offshoring:

  1. You need to recruit an accountant but cannot find the right person locally. UK recruitment is taking longer and longer and many businesses do not have the luxury of waiting.
  2. You need to reduce costs. An offshore iO team member costs at least 50% less than their UK equivalent. 
  3. You want to focus on giving your clients more value. You want an offshore team who will do the year end accounts, produce the management accounts etc. so you can meet your clients with these completed reports and advise them accordingly.  It allows you to focus on supporting your clients while your offshore team members do the heavy lifting.  

What do I need in place to offshore work?

There are a few things you need to have in place to offshore work. 

  1. You must be able to give your offshore team member 40 hours of work a week.
  2. You must have standardised processes and systems. You must have your processes nailed down so you can train and get the most from your offshore team.
  3. You must have a job description and a person specification so we can find the right person for you. We will help you to develop these.
  4. You have to make sure that your UK team is onboard with the idea of offshoring. If they are not, it probably won’t work.

You must organise daily huddles which include both your UK and offshore team.  The reason for this is that your offshore team members must feel part of your team.

What work should I offshore?

Everyone does this differently and approaches it in a different way.  Some accountancy firms start their offshoring journey by assigning management accounts to their iO team members.  Others have built their team up by starting with payroll and VAT returns before progressing to year end and management accounts and finally self-assessment returns.

Most accountancy practices offshore bookkeeping as it is the basis from which everything else follows.

Am I involved in the selection process?

Yes- absolutely.  Your first step is to work with Dee Smith in developing a job description and person specification.  This helps us to find the right team member for you.

Dee is a qualified and professional member of the association Chartered of the Personnel and Development (CIPD) in human resources management.  She has an international career spanning work in the USA, the Philippines and in the UK and has worked with NAS and iO for many years.

We will then promote the position, review applications and invite them to an initial assessment center.  This allows us to assess their technical ability.  We then shortlist to two candidates and send you their CVs.  You can then interview them and select one, both or ask us to carry on searching.

You have the final say as they are your team member. 

What's the minimum number in a client facing team before considering an offshore team member?

It depends on the nature of the work that you’re doing.  As a general guideline, it should be when you can provide someone with 40 hours a week worth of work.  This frees up your time to focus on business development and client relationships.

What are the implications around GDPR and data?

You must be GDPR compliant.  Your team members will be working for you, using your cloud-based systems running on your UK server.  This means your data stays in the UK and is covered by your existing policies and procedures.

Do you require offshore staff to learn and use all your systems?

No.  They must learn and use all of your processes and systems.  While they are iO employees, they are working as your team member.  So, they are required to do everything that you need them to do.  You need to ensure they know your processes and systems and have the information they need to do the job right.

How do I pay them?

They are our employees, so we manage their pay.  You are contracted with iO in the UK and this is who you pay.  You pay a monthly fee and this covers their salary, PAYE, workspace, pc, internet connection etc. as well as the cost of their HR support.

Your one easy monthly fee covers everything.

What happens if our iO Team Member is not the right fit?

iO employ your team member.  It is straightforward for us to change someone within the first six months of on-boarding them.  After this, it gets more difficult.  The position is similar to that of a UK employee who has worked for a company for over two years.   

Generally, we find that with our constant feedback and close working relationship with you and your team member, we know if the fit is right or not within the first three months.

How often do we get to give and receive feedback from iO?

Initially, we contact you on a weekly basis to make sure everything is OK.  After a few months, when everyone is happy, we’ll contact you on a monthly basis.

What are their working hours?

Their working hours are 6am-3pm UK time, Monday to Friday.  The local time is 1-10pm.

What holidays do they get?

They get 17 days holiday a year.  Most of them are the same as ours (e.g. Christmas, Easter etc.).  They also have some lunar holidays which are Muslim.  They get an additional five to 10 days on top, depending on their circumstances.

What is the average monthly fee?

Your monthly fee depends on the skills and experience of your iO team member.  You will make a minimum saving of 50% compared to employing someone in the UK.  The more experienced your iO team member, the higher the saving.  We will discuss the monthly fee with you during the selection process.

Remember your fee covers, the bigger expenses such as rent, internet, computers etc.   

Do iO cover holiday?

No, we don’t. It’s just like having your own employees in your own team.

How important is their development?

It is important that you look to develop them.  This means they can add more value to your business, they will find the work more interesting and makes them more likely to stay with you.  You should consider their career path and how you will keep them engaged.

Do they job hop at all? Especially the qualified team members?

No.  Job hopping is common in Manila, but Filipinos want to work in Subic Bay as it gives them a much easier commute and a more attractive and healthier working environment. 

Most Filipinos work on a Saturday. The iO team only works Monday to Friday so our team members appreciate the work-life balance we offer.

What is the quality of their spoken English

In the Philippines, the dominant language is Tagalog but their whole education system is English.  The main languages spoken in their Parliament are Tagalog and English.

Filipinos generally have very good American English.  However, there is a variance between individuals and we can select your candidate based on the quality of their English.  For example, many Filipinos work abroad for a period in places like Dubai, the Emirates etc. and they return speaking better English.

Are there culture differences?

Yes. Our employees have different levels of English understanding. They all write English amazingly and their grammar is better than ours.

They are very polite; they enjoy their work and they are grateful for the opportunity to support UK clients- something which really stands out.

They will also address you as “sir” or “ma’am” out of respect.  We train them not to do this when speaking with your clients.

Where in the Philippines is iO based?

iO is based in Subic bay.  Our offices are located on the old site of a US naval base. 

This means it has the infrastructure and connectivity that are vital for an offshore company.  It is also an attractive location on the coast and is quite prestigious.  Most Filipinos want to work in Subic Bay as it was a US base and these are widely considered to be among the best places to work.

People working in Subic Bay are much more loyal and likely to stay than those working in Manila.  The commute into Manila is often 2-hours one-way meaning that people are spending 4 hours a day travelling. 

Our Subic Bay team has a commute time of between 30 and 60 minutes, so they spend no more than 2 hours a day travelling.