Recently Debra and I made a trip to Clark, Philippines to spend some time with our team there – Grace and Arlyn. My time over there led me to reflect on my experience with outsourcing to the Philippines, the changes that this way of working has brought about and the differences with our two outsource teams – Philippines and India.
Gilligan Sheppard has been using an outsource team in Chandigarh, India for over 10 years to prepare accounts and work with our compliance team. As manager of Business Advisory Services I have had a lot to do with this team and have traveled over there for training and relationship building on two occasions. We have a great relationship with this team and their management and the relationship has been beneficial on both sides.
So when we decided to branch out and use outsourcing in Clark, Philippines it wasn’t a big leap in mind-set. There are some important differences in the structure of these arrangements. The main ones being that India are contractors and Grace and Arlyn are employees of Gilligan Sheppard and while the Indian team do accounting work, the Philippines staff are administration. Grace and Arlyn cover a range of tasks including client set up and maintenance of our CRM system, Company Office administration and tax administration.
Grace and Arlyn are a part of our team and we treat them as such. Since their employment they have traveled to NZ to have training and spend time with us in the office. Grace and Arlyn also came to our bi-annual conference on Great Barrier Island in February. This helped develop relationships with our NZ staff and provide some training as well.
Our time spent in Philippines was wonderful. Debra and I were able to give hands on training, and as I hadn’t been to Clark before it helped me to further develop my relationship with the girls.
There are many benefits of using an outsource team in Philippines including:
- Time – it allows the business advisory team to concentrate on completing their technical work rather than worrying about the tax administration side and it allows the administration team spend more time on improving core functions and services provided to clients.
- Economic – there is a higher return on investment and this allows us to provide a great service to our clients at a competitive price.
- Speed of Delivery – with the time difference of 5 hours it gives us an extra 5 hours in the day. As Gilligan Sheppard works on a glide time principle there is usually at least one staff member that is working ‘after hours’ in NZ and with Grace an Arlyn available to help, it gives us a chance to deliver services faster.
Of course there are disadvantages but these are heavily outweighed by the benefits. The disadvantages include – additional training time needed including the cost of travel, less control over staff due to geography (however technology helps a lot here) and possible concerns over quality of work. To counter this we have good training programs in place and both girls are encouraged to contact any staff with questions as are all NZ staff encouraged to call Grace or Arlyn to discuss any issues or jobs required.
Overall the use of outsourcing has been positive and I have enjoyed the relationships that I have developed with both teams and how we have been able to work together from across the globe.
If you would like to discuss outsourcing please feel free to give me a call.