A few letters make a big difference, especially when considering “outsourcing” as opposed to “offshoring” your bookkeeping or accounting. Still, the two concepts confuse many people and often lead people to feel that one (outsourced) equates the other (offshored). Let’s take a look at these two in both theoretical and practical terms.
Yes, just as the name implies, and several political speeches confirm, offshoring is taking a labor task of a U.S.-based business and fulfilling it in another country. In the case of offshore bookkeeping or accounting, this practice blossomed in the digital age. Quite simply, improvements in secure digital document transfers allowed people to simply upload data that is classified, entered and processed into P&L statements, payroll, cash flow reports and other financial basics. The majority of thought is that bookkeeping remains a fairly black and white practice, without cultural variation, making it a good task in which to utilize less-expensive overseas labor.
Outsourced bookkeeping simply relates to bringing in an outside operation, no matter of their destination. In fact, outsourced bookkeeping within the U.S. has been a popular option for small businesses for years. The client acquires a certain set of skills or expertise, not the selection of individual staffers. The technology which assists offshore bookkeepers now holds the same advantages for outsourced bookkeeping teams within the country.
So, what are some of the main practical distinctions between these two?
While offshore bookkeeping may have excellent skills when it comes to accounting applications and a general knowledge of U.S. or state regulations for items such as payroll or taxes, it’s doubtful they have as much real-life experience with such matters. Complicated state tax laws – especially regarding payroll – may be abstract or one-dimensional to offshore workers. Outsourcing within a local area may reveal staff not only more aware of, but also experienced in regulatory issues. This may allow your bookkeeping team the ability to offer alternative considerations and advice to customers.
Part of the ease of offshore bookkeeping and accounting now is that digital documents can be sent and received at any hour of the day, negating time differences. However, this can become a problem with more document questions and clarifications. Many times, offshore bookkeepers must wait for American clients to return missing documents or clarify questions. As well, the contracting business may need to wait for contractor office hours or look for answers locally.
Many often feel social or political pressure not to offshore work that can be done within the U.S. with American workers. With digital interfaces, it’s often difficult to distinguish if a firm is truly supplying American jobs or an initial interface layer of local workers. If this issue is important to you, investigate outsourced bookkeeping options closely.
Most small businesses and entrepreneurs want the best work with the least amount of hassle when bringing in a team to handle bookkeeping. Knowing the difference between and outsourced and offshore firms can greatly assist you in your search.