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Sure, it Looks Good, But is it The Right Fit?

An article by Virginia McGann for Enterprising Women, Fall 2022

Many of us struggle with this question every time we shop for new shoes, a new chair or that new car. It sure looks good, and it seems like everyone is getting one, but will it be the right fit for me?

Outsourcing part of all of your back office operation can feel like that shopping experience. Seems like almost everyone you know has a colleague or friend who is currently outsourcing or has considered it very seriously. In these times of the Great Resignation, outsourcing becomes a compelling solution to the confounding situation of finding and keeping competent, dependable administrative and finance personnel.

To help you make that decision, consider these three steps:

1. Define the Goal: What do you hope to achieve by outsourcing?

Are you currently doing some administrative or finance functions yourself, and would like that time back to grow your business? Perhaps you have people in place to do the work but are not confident you are getting reliable numbers. Do you have staff in place who are overpaid, whether due to longevity or personal relationships? Are your back office protocols right out of the 1990s?

Like most effective goals, yours should be specific and measurable, for example: I need 10 hours per week back to concentrate on business development; or my current cost for finance operations is $55K plus benefits. I will find a way to get that closer to $25K all in; I have someone doing the same data entry in two different platforms; we will find a resource to integrate our programs and save half of my cost.

2. Will outsourcing be a good cultural fit?

Making sure that outsourcing is a good cultural fit may well be the most key factor in your decision to try outsourcing. Do you have legacy employees for whom you hope to provide a position until their retirement, regardless of performance or cost? Are you an executive who needs a body in the chair outside your office door? Can you discern the difference between needing an urgent response and a timely one? If this describes your firm or your preferences, outsourcing may not be a good fit.

However, if you are considering bringing on higher-level talent that you currently do not have, or cannot afford, outsourcing can prove to be an excellent way to leverage the talent you need at a fraction of the cost of bringing someone in-house.

3. Consider just some of what outsourcing is and is not.

What Outsourcing Is

  • Leveraging skill and time of professionals, shared with other firms
  • Experience from myriad business situations
  • Expertise at considerably lower cost than in-house personnel
  • Flexibility to scale; add as needed, reduce when necessary
  • No HR issues
  • No long term commitments

What Outsourcing Is Not

  • Daily office presence
  • Immediate feedback o non-emergency questions
  • Engaged to complement existing staff (too many cooks in the kitchen)
  • Does not “clock in/out”
  • Not intended for “and duties as assigned”

Outsourcing is not for everyone. Do an honest assessment of how you see your firm working both most efficiently and comfortably. If you would like input on whether outsourcing part or all of your operations would be a good fit, please reach out for a chat. I will be happy to share some experiences where outsourcing worked well as expected and others in which outsourcing was not the right fit.