Saturday, October 15, 2011

Who Needs a Job?

A few weeks ago I attended a four day weekend seminar on practice development. I am always looking for ways to increase my business, increase efficiency, and provide a better, more value added service, to my clients. The investment in time and money was well worth it.

Spending a long weekend in a hotel conference room for 12 hours a day is grueling work. The variety of topics required attention with a high level of concentration. The money investment was large and I wanted the most value for my dollar.

The first two days we covered acquiring clients and managing the work flow. Getting more work is the easy part. Getting the work done is the challenge. Since I had committed to adding a few more employees, I focused on the client acquisition methods taught with special attention toward moving work through the office in a timely manner without errors.

On day three we practiced what we learned. On day four, alternatives were offered. The one I want to talk about today is outsourcing in the accounting and tax industry. All during the presentation I wondered how America will ever produce jobs when even tax preparers and bookkeepers are looking to move work to India for a fraction of the cost. I listened to the details knowing I would never send my client information anywhere else. Many other accounting firms were far more interested in sending work abroad.

The company that presented their services touted the high level of education of their employees and security of data. The cost was around $12 per hour per employee. I would still be required to scan all documents into the system for the guys in India to do the work. It really is a turn-key service.

The cost of $12 an hour is only a mild advantage until you consider the additional costs of employment: worker's compensation, unemployment (federal and state), payroll taxes, and benefits. It is cheaper to hire someone to scan work in than to hire a professional. And other overhead, such as the space requirements for employees to do the work, adds up.

There are certainly advantages to outsourcing to another country. I will never do it in my office however. I want a personal relationship with my clients. If work is done in house, opportunities to save the client money increases. My profit margins are a little lower, but I hire Americans. It is worth the commitment.

And one more thing. Your accountant cannot send your social security number out of the country without your consent. Consent cannot be buried inside the engagement letter either. If your accountant/tax preparer asks you to sign such a form, get a new accountant. You want a tax/accounting professional committed to you.

The same rules do not apply to partnership and corporate tax returns. Bookkeeping either.


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