There is always a silver lining to every recession… and one of the big growth areas is outsourcing.
Guy Morgan, a partner with Midland accountants and business advisers Horwath Clark Whitehill, says there are real benefits.
For example, firms which have pared staffing and costs to the bone can use outsourcing to fill any gaps.
Equally it allows firms to free up time and resources to concentrate on what they do best.
In a guide to how best to go about it, Mr Morgan said: “You can be flexible with the functions you outsource, depending on the resources you already have available and the relative importance of that function to your business.
“Payroll, human resources, marketing, accounting and information technology are areas typically suited to outsourcing and the market is well supplied with experienced providers.
“Administrative burdens can be reduced to exactly the extent you determine, over a time period that suits, with the flexibility to change your mind with little notice. You may be able to obtain highly skilled assistance without the need to recruit and without incurring all of the additional costs and administration that accompanies a permanent employee. You only pay for the time that you need, with no downtime, holidays or other absences.”
He went on: “With outsourced staff, if somebody is unable to work, you will be provided with an alternative person, thereby minimising disruption to the business.
“By outsourcing you can benefit from the provision of timely and accurate management information – a great advantage for you and other stakeholders.
“For example, outsourcing the IT function should help to ensure that you have access to the most cost effective processes and technologies. With HR you may be able to offer additional services such as health benefits, retirement plans and rewards and recognition programs. Devising HR policies and helping you deal with issues including recruitment, maternity leave and redundancy are further bonuses.
“An outsourced accounting function should give you insight into cashflow management and enable you to make better long term decisions and ensure banking covenants are not breached.
“If you are channelling funds into the growth of the business, outsourcing may be a cost efficient way of achieving high level expertise that could not be afforded in-house. You can have confidence that your affairs will be dealt with by people who are technically up-to-date. This is important when it comes to dealing with laws and regulations, including HM Revenue & Customs and other authorities.”
And Mr Morgan added: “Essentially outsourcing can relieve you, as the business owner, of the need to keep abreast of the minutiae of running a successful company. It is an extremely flexible solution and will allow you to concentrate on business development, secure in the knowledge that your organisation is in safe hands.”