We offer an array of Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers) in response to inquiries on Outbooks policies and processes.
Frequenty Asked Questions
How do I start ?
Assuming we have signed contract and agreed ways of working, you would need to pick one client who will be doing their year-end accounts in the next few months. The best way to pick a client is:
- Identify a client where you currently struggle to make profit. This will help you judge the value we deliver
- Client whose accounts will take under 5 days to complete. This will help us complete something quickly
Thereafter, we will share the checklist of all the items that we would need to have in order to complete the job. Access to these items can either be provided by giving access to the software you use or by uploading the details on a secure server we use. One of our team members will verify that we have all the details we will need in order to complete the job. If anything else is needed, you will be contacted else the next stage is to agree the milestones and timelines with us. We can agree these in under an hour.
Completed job will be delivered to you on the agreed timelines. You will have opportunity to review to make sure that everything is the way you needed it. Although, we highly doubt it but in case we need to do anything else we will complete as submit the job back to you asap.
How to convince the team ?
Often times outsourcing doesn’t create the value which is promised initially and the biggest reason for that is disengagement of the staff. Often times when staff hasn’t experienced the outsourcing before, they can be concerned about the quality and timeliness of the work. In cases where organisation is going through difficult times, staff may be worried about the security of their own roles.
In order to avoid this phenomenon, we strongly encourage to Identify or create an incentive for the team – something that they can relate to. This can be done by initially pitching outsourcing solution as a growth engine – something that gives the firm capability to scale very quickly, create capacity and for staff to do less grunt work releasing them to service clients properly.
We also think it is important to let staff fully voice their concerns and ask difficult questions if any. Else the resistance will come out in other ways potentially sabotaging the whole initiative.
Following steps can be following to do this in a structured way.
- Appoint an individual as a champion or single point of contact for all external and internal queries related to outsourcing. Train the champion and make them your ‘expert’ on outsourcing. Our UK based manager will work with your business champion to help onboard them and get the outsourcing process started
- Engage the team and talk to them about the benefits of outsourcing. Let them raise their concerns and answer them honestly.
- Start with a trial job and establish trust. This will also help to iron out all the gaps that may exist in the initial process. Once staff can see it working and the positive impact of it, they are often more willing to embrace it. In some cases where staff has had a bad experience in the past, this trial job should quell some of the myths around outsourcing.
- Finally exploit this new capability. Try out new types of longer and more complex jobs. Essence is to continue to learn and continually improve and innovate the way work is delivered.
- Maintain regular communication to avoid any gaps in the future
How does the end to end process work ?
Detailed end to end process in steps is explained below
- Agree to the data sharing platform and software Outbooks will be using (Outbooks provides their own software as well to keep the costs as minimal as possible for our customers/accountant)
- Sign the agreement
- Customer uploads the data on the data sharing platform and shares the software login details. Customer also sends an email describing the job and key points in it
- Outbooks create a missing data list and send it back to the accountant
- Customer uploads all the missing data
- Outbooks provides a fixed price for the job along with the delivery date of the draft outputs. This price never changes unless Outbooks receives new information/requirements
- Customer can choose to accept or decline the price. If the price is declined, Outbooks stops and accountant doesn’t have to pay anything
- If accountant accepts, they make 50% payment and Outbooks completes the draft outputs and shares with the customer
- Customer provides feedback and Outbooks makes those changes
- Customer accepts the job, signs it off and makes the remaining payment
How to make it a success ?
There are four main levers to make outsourcing a big success and these are:
- Outsourcing buy in – Work with your team and explain them the benefits of outsourcing. Make them supporters of the change that will positively impact their lives
- Planning – Spend adequate time in planning the work – not only in identifying and agreeing what can be outsourced but also agreeing the plan for the work that will be outsourced. This should also include regular check points to assess the progress of the work and not have any surprise at the end
- Training Support – Provide adequate resources for the training that is needed for the staff to make it work. Remember that the staff in India will learn the processes and the work in the first few jobs as they deliver the work. In order to make it a success, customer should be willing to invest some time to train the staff to help understand the intricacies of the ways of their working
- Create a process and follow it – Make sure that the process is established very early on to create consistency in the delivery. This process should be created not just by one company but both by supplier and buyer to make sure that both the companies will adhere to it
What happens if there is a problem or if I don’t like anything ?
The first point of contact should be the person you are working with. Let them know your concerns and explain the issues you are encountering. In almost 99% of the cases, this should resolve the problem. If not, please escalate it to the supervisor of the person you are working with. If for some reason issue is still left unresolved, then this should be escalated to your client partner who is from the supplier to manage and resolve all such issues
How much time would we need to invest ?
There is a learning curve involved in anything new and same applies to outsourcing as well. First few jobs will relatively take longer than what you are used to in fact might expect. This is primarily because our staff will learn your process and ways of working. Once this is clear after few jobs, time required from your end will continuously come down and it will only be need to review the work
Can you start the work immediately once we sign the contract ?
In short the answer is yes. We normally maintain a pool of sufficient resources who are available to work on very short notice. Once we sign the contract and agree the work schedule and deadline requirements, we deliver on our promise. We will let our customer know the amount of time any job will take so that they know when to expect the output.
Is my data safe ?
We have some very safe data policies to make sure that we never compromise on our data safety. Following are some of things that we do in order to make sure that our client’s data is kept with utmost safety:
- We tend not to request customers to upload data on our servers rather we request for login to their systems to make sure that we get the right data at the right time at right place
- If some customers don’t maintain a system, then in those cases we keep all our data servers in UK and the data never goes out of UK
- Employees are not allowed to carry their phones to their working systems. All phones and other personal things are left in the locker room
- Nobody uses their personal phones, only desk phones are allowed
- Employees get access to only those files which are allowed to
- Nothing can be downloaded on to the system
- Internet is blocked on the office machines
We do monitor this very diligently as we understand how important the data is for our customers.
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