As a business owner, you want to focus on growing or expanding your business. You need to focus on bringing in new customers. But as you focus on business growth, it can become overwhelming if you still have to do the back office functions like payroll, recruiting, or IT infrastructure. If those activities are keeping you from doing what you should be doing, it may be time to consider outsourcing.
Back office functions can be time-consuming and could really divert you from your business goals. By outsourcing, you can focus on business growth and the client-facing aspects of your business. Aside from that, it can help improve efficiency and other benefits including higher profitability. In addition, outsourcing can help your business earn better returns and better utilization of the resources.
However, you cannot simply entrust your business to anyone. Statistics reveal that Fortune 500 companies lose an estimated $480 million annually due to inefficient back office tasks. It is advisable to outsource your back office to a professional and experienced firm.
But not all functions should be outsourced. There are some activities that should stay in-house so if you are wondering which back office functions to outsource, this article will cover just that:
- What is Back-Office Outsourcing?
- Benefits of Back Office Outsourcing
- Commonly Outsourced Back-Office Functions
- Tips In Outsourcing Back Office
What is Back Office Outsourcing?
Back office functions are those activities not directly involved in client facing interactions and usually consists of the administrative and support teams. If sales and marketing are the “face” of operations, the back office is the “backbone” of the company.
The back office is designed to boost the customer experience and exceed expectations. The aim of back office functions is to improve customer retention, enhance brand image and recognition, and boost sales. Back office is vital because it can help ensure the smooth functioning of your company.
However, back office tasks can take up a lot of your time. You may be tempted to do much of the work yourself but it can rob you of time that can be devoted to other business operations. With back office outsourcing, you can get back some of that time and also free up some of your resources. It is also more affordable than having to start an in-house team from scratch.
Benefits of Outsourcing Back Office
Maybe you’re still having second thoughts about whether to outsource your back office or not. Still need more convincing? Check out the benefits of back office outsourcing to give you an idea.
If you are working on a limited budget, outsourcing to a third-party provider makes huge sense. With an in-house team, the real cost will be much higher than your agreed base salary. You will also have to pay their taxes, office rental, cost of equipment and benefits.
On the other hand, outsourcing can result in huge savings. You can hire experienced and talented professionals for less than what you will pay their full-time counterparts. The outsourcing company will provide the facilities, equipment, and the hiring process. If you outsource in countries like the Philippines, where the cost of living is relatively low, you can save up to 70% on employment costs.
Do you need employees on a contractual or a part-time basis? The outsourcing firm can provide your requirements as you need it. Outsourcing your task provides more flexibility in assigning work. They can adapt when your workloads are especially high or low. Whatever your team requirements are, an outsourcing provider can scale with your business.
When you outsource, you will have more flexibility in assigning work to your employees. By partnering with an agency, you can have access to as few or as many resources as you need. Instead of hiring new people and creating people from scratch, you can simply scale with an agency.
With outsourcing, you get access to a quality talent pool. Most outsourcing providers hire qualified people for certain roles and then subject their new hires to extensive in-house training and seminars.
Outsourcing firms ensure that the candidate you hire will surely fit the requirements that your business needs. If you hire an accountant to do some number crunching for you, count on the work to be done accurately and by an expert.
Focus on Core Competencies
By outsourcing, you allow your company to focus on core competencies. Your outsourcing partner will focus on the needed back office support. You can throw all your time and resources on business growth or expansion. Your team can focus on their main responsibilities.
Since your team is no longer bogged down with back office work, they can already focus on more important tasks. As for you, you can now work on managing client relationships or planning the future of your business.
Back Office Functions You Can Outsource
Now that you have an idea on the benefits of outsourcing, maybe you are wondering what functions you can hand over to your outsourcing partner. Not all functions can be outsourced so you need to determine which tasks to outsource. Here are some of the most commonly outsourced functions:
1. Customer Support
Customer support is one of the most crucial and commonly outsourced functions. Talking to irate customers, addressing their concerns and easing their worries is a tedious task. You ought to be spending your time searching on expansion opportunities, hiring strategic partners, or negotiating deals.
Excellent customer support may include phone, chat, and email and it is crucial to ensure customer retention and satisfaction. Customer acquisition costs five times more than retaining current customers. Outsourcing customer support provides you with access to a team of professionals who can help handle your inbound requests.
Customer support can be a delicate task that is best handled by a trained team. If not, everything may go downhill for your business. Customers like sharing a bad experience on social media. It can reach hundreds or thousands of customers and prospects which can hurt your company’s reputation.
2. IT Support
Information technology is constantly changing and you and your team may not be able to keep up with the developments in the sector. By outsourcing your IT support, you get to work with professionals who are updated with the latest in the information technology sector.
Your in-house team may not be knowledgeable in network management, hardware support, software development, and technical help desk operations. An important function outsourcing IT support can help with is implementing cybersecurity strategies. Latest figures reveal that the cost of data breach is estimated at $3.92 million. Surely you would not want to lose that much money. Your outsourcing partner will help ensure that your company information will be protected. By outsourcing IT, you can have access to the latest technology as well.
Maybe you don’t have the funds to hire a full-time IT manager. Outsourcing can help cover that as the provider can hire a professional who can work on a contingency or contractual basis. They are paid to monitor and maintain your systems around the clock.
Hiring new employees to fill job vacancies in your company can be cumbersome for your in-house team. According to a KellyOCG Study, companies listed down recruitment efficiency (35%), time to hire (49%), and availability of skills (60%) as their top three recruitment challenges. This is where recruitment process outsourcing comes in.
Your outsourcing partner will provide the needed help with your ongoing hiring needs even up to the management level. You can outsource parts of the recruitment process or focus on certain positions only. You can outsource the recruitment process on a project basis and work with the provider for a short period of time.
The outsourcing provider will provide you with access to knowledgeable professionals who are adept with effective recruitment skills and utilizes the latest tools in finding the right candidate that will suit your needs.
4. Bookkeeping and Payroll
Let’s face it. Most business owners dread crunching numbers. Keeping your books updated can be time consuming. Letting your in-house team do payroll calculations can be prone to error due to lack of expertise. Payroll and bookkeeping work needs focus and concentration or they are prone to make mistakes.
Outsourcing bookkeeping and payroll functions will help keep your business stay compliant. The government requires businesses to submit their books and if your numbers are full of errors, you could get in trouble with the law and may be subjected to stiff fines.
Outsourced bookkeepers and payroll specialists are knowledgeable about tax regulations and payroll computations. The outsourced team are experts in their field and possess the right certifications. So for business-related calculations, leave it to the professionals and focus on the functions that could contribute to business growth.
5. Social Media Management
These days, you need to be on social media to have an online presence. Your potential customers are on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or other social media networks. Maybe you would want to do social media management yourself. But DIY isn’t always the best option when it comes to social media.
Social media management isn’t just about posting on your Facebook newsfeed. It is a complicated and unpredictable platform that you can’t do by yourself. By outsourcing social media, you get to work with social media savvy professionals, digitally inclined, and updated with the latest trends.
Marketing and advertising is vital to the success of your business. It can help with increasing brand visibility and grow your customer base. If you don’t know how to properly craft a marketing experience, there’s no guarantee that you can craft an effective marketing campaign aligned with your brand values and generate a respectable ROI.
On the other hand, outsourcing your marketing functions to a third-party provider ensures that you will achieve your business goals. The marketing firm will be able to implement a marketing campaign that is suited to your budget. Choose a partner with sufficient marketing knowledge and experience.
Your outsourcing partner will have knowledge in strategizing and executing marketing plans across all channels so you can concentrate on your main functions. You can count on getting outputs produced by experts in their industry.
Creating a trial balance, computing tax, and creating an invoice can be time consuming. Accounting functions are done on a regular basis so it will really take you away from what you should be doing. You may not have the budget to hire a full-time accountant.
Accounting is one of the most commonly outsourced functions by businesses. Outsourcing accounting can help you tackle micro tasks and see the financial picture of your firm. Statistics from Cogneesol reveal that 88% of small businesses are either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their accounting services.
Outsourced accountants can help with invoicing, payroll, accounts receivable, and payment of sales taxes. They will partner with you in maintaining your financial records and in ensuring that you don’t miss out on payments. The outsourcing company will make sure that you won’t get into trouble with the IRS.
8. Web Development
Like social media, web development can help boost your online presence. Your website will showcase your products and services to potential customers. Website design is a technical skill that requires expertise. If you don’t have someone in your in-house team who is good at web development, you can hire a professional to do it for you.
Outsourcing web development will provide you access to a quality talent pool. They have a portfolio of their best work to show to you. They possess skills in creating an engaging and interactive website. You can review their samples to see if they are the right fit to be your outsourcing partner.
9. Data Entry
Entering lots of data on your database can eat up a lot of time. Data entry involves copying and pasting data from a source to the target system. This can be a little tricky and requires attention to details, concentration, and adept research skills.
With outsourcing, you can free your in-house staff from the tedious task of entering hundreds of data on your system so they can focus on their core business functions. The provider will assign a professional or team who specializes in data entry. The outsourced professionals are qualified and trained in data entry and use the latest technology.
It is worth noting that not all back office functions can be outsourced. Carefully assess which ones are not core functions as the core ones are best left in-house.
Tips On Choosing A Back Office Provider
There are a plethora of outsourcing companies to choose from. How do you know which one is right for you? Here are some tips on how to become successful with outsourcing.
Look for a service provider that has similar values with your company and aligns with your company culture and expectations. It is vital for the provider to meet your needs and exceed your expectations. Make sure that the outsourcing firm is not only after cost efficiency but also offers high quality service.
Determine Your Budget
Look at the pros and cons of outsourcing compared to building an in-house staff. Experienced and reliable outsourcing partners will provide you with a breakdown of costs to make sure you are getting the best price. The provider should offer both quality and savings.
Look for an outsourcing company who will grow and expand with you. The outsourcing partner should understand your primary goals and be effective in achieving them. Check if the outsourcing firm is meeting your project milestones and if there are areas that need to be improved.
Back Office Outsourcing with airisX
As an entrepreneur, it’s understandable to want to be hands-on with the management of your business. But as companies grow, many business owners find themselves overloaded with the non-core “hands on” tasks that distract them from the core business activities that actually grow their business.
Outsourcing time consuming administrative and backend tasks such as data entry, cold calling, bookkeeping, HR, recruiting, etc. save you time (and money!) during your day, so you can focus on working “on” your business instead of working “in” your business. That’s where airisX comes in.