Global delivery is the practice of sourcing and delivering services from a location that may be in a different country or region than the client's location. It’s most often used by businesses and organizations to access specialized skills, cost-effective labor, and other resources readily available in other parts of the world.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, the internet, coupled with technological advancements in communication, made it easier to connect with both staff and service providers in different parts of the world. In the mid 2000s, when SaaS solutions came online, it fundamentally changed the way we work by providing more flexibility, efficiency, and accessibility, and enabled new work paradigms like remote work and global collaboration. Today, global delivery isn’t just possible, but it provides enormous benefits to both business service providers and their clients.
About Enkel’s Global Delivery Model
Enkel was started in 2016 with a simple premise: You can’t build a great business without good books. While outsourcing back office functions wasn’t the “norm” at the time, it soon became a popular alternative to hiring staff members that may or may not have enough work to fill a 40-hour work week. Not only did small to mid-sized organizations get hard-to-find accounting expertise, but they received comprehensive financials that enabled them to better run their businesses. Since then, Enkel has grown to a team of 80+ individuals, servicing over 500 clients since 2016.
Enkel realized early on that to scale the business, they needed to find an alternative to hiring local accounting professionals. Today, they proudly utilize a global delivery model, employing a team of 30+ people in Canada, and an additional 50 or so folks in India.
Offshoring Versus Outsourcing
Offshoring and outsourcing are related but distinct business strategies that involve delegating tasks or processes to external entities. They are most often used to reduce costs, get access to specialized skills, and increase operational efficiency, but they differ in the nature of the tasks and the location of the service provider. Below is a description of both:
Outsourcing is the practice of contracting out certain business functions or processes to a third-party service provider. These providers can be located either domestically or internationally. The key characteristic of outsourcing is the external delegation of tasks, regardless of where the service provider is based. Common examples of outsourced services include customer support, IT services, human resources, and accounting.
Offshoring is a specific type of outsourcing that involves delegating tasks or processes to a third party service provider or to staff members located in a different country. The primary motivation for offshoring is often to take advantage of lower labor costs, access specialized skills, or expand business operations into international markets. Offshoring can encompass a wide range of functions, including software development, data entry, manufacturing, accounting, and customer service.
Enkel offshores some of the work included in their services, but decided early on that it would do so with team members employed by Enkel (through a related company). Enkel’s founders believe that and hiring professionals who are committed to the business and its mission and values are critical to building a successful service delivery model.
Why Offshore, Outsource, or Both?
Global delivery models that offshore, outsource, or use a combination of both, offer several significant benefits to organizations and ultimately, their clients.
Access to Specialized Skills and Tope Talent: One of the best reasons to offshore is because it allows organizations to tap into specialized expertise that can be scarce in local markets, but is readily available in different parts of the world. This is particularly valuable for industries or functions that require specific knowledge and skills.
Focus on Core Competencies: Offshoring can help organizations focus on their core competencies by allowing them to delegate non-core, often time-consuming and resource-intensive functions to specialized external service providers in different countries. It enables organizations to concentrate on their more strategic activities.
Scalability: Global delivery models provide flexibility in scaling operations up or down in response to changing business needs. This adaptability is essential for organizations with variable workloads or rapidly growing operations.
24/7 Operations: By having teams in different time zones, organizations can provide services around the clock, ensuring continuous support and minimizing downtime.
Time Savings: Offshoring can save an organization time in several ways, contributing to increased operational efficiency and the ability to focus on core activities. But perhaps the greatest benefit of the time savings is the ability of onshore team members to focus on client relationships and support as a result of offloading some of the more time-consuming tasks.
Tips to Successful Offshoring/Outsourcing:
With 7 years’ experience outsourcing, we’ve learned a lot. Below are the tips and advice we have on building a successful global delivery model, and specifically outsourcing and offshoring talent.
- The “One Team” Mindset
When you choose to offshore or outsource a part of your business activities, it’s important to think of it as one business, in multiple locations. Not only do you share in a vision, mission and values, but it is important to create clarity around expectations.
- Process, Process, and More Process
If not executed well, offshoring can actually become a liability. It’s important to build processes, checklists, and mechanisms to monitor performance and hold people accountable. The more clarity you provide, the better.
- Context is King
Client context impacts a lot of the judgment in our work. This is especially important if you are working with people in different countries where cultural norms may differ.
- Workflows for the Win!
To offshore or outsource effectively, you need a system, and one of the easiest ways to establish productive, repeatable workflows is to anchor around SaaS-based technology that enables teams to easily collaborate, communicate, and get work done. At Enkel, our core system is Karbon, a practice management solution for accounting firms.
- Continuous Training and Skills Development
At Enkel, we have an in-house learning and development function. While that may seem like overkill, it goes a long way towards galvanizing the team, holding people accountable, and delivering quality work. While you may not need to go that far, you do need a strong onboarding and training process to ensure that new team members are clear on how they are expected to conduct their work while working for you.
- On the Road Again…
We live in a world where it's easy to “set it and forget it”, but that won’t work when it comes to offshoring and global delivery. It’s critical that you visit your team from time to time and ensure they feel like they are a part of the larger organization.
At Enkel we are very proud of the global delivery model we’ve built and perfected since 2016. Not only are we able to deliver great service to our clients, but we do it with an international team of accounting professionals who are committed to excellence in everything we do. If you’re interested in learning more about how we deliver back office services and other financial operations, we’d love to tell you more.