Despite the fact that there has been some seriously good news about the outlook for the UK economy in the last few weeks, there’s no getting away from the fact that SME owners have had, and are likely to continue to have a tough time for a while yet.  Although the forecast for UK economic growth was recently almost doubled by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, at the coalface this optimism mightn’t have quite filtered through yet. 

Anyone running an SME has had a rough ride of late; constantly on the lookout for opportunities to make economies; sniffing out new markets and new methods, all in some cases just to hang on by their fingertips. One thing that has saved the skin of many SMEs in the past decade or so is the savings and efficiencies they’ve made by outsourcing.  Battening down the hatches needn’t mean missing out when it comes to specialist skills or manpower and that’s where outsourcing really comes into its own.

Anyone who funds a payroll week-in and week-out won’t need to be reminded how expensive it is to employ someone.  Not only do you have to think about salary, pension, sick and holiday pay, you also have the constant threat hanging over your head that if something goes wrong you could find yourself hung out to dry in some tribunal or other.  One sure fire way to avoid this cost, hassle and stress is by outsourcing.

Irrespective of whether you use outsourcing as a way of getting the jobs done that you’re struggling to do in-house or if you periodically need a team of bods to do mundane tasks, there’s no getting away from the fact that outsourcing can seriously improve your business performance. 

Put really simply, outsourcing involves using another company to do tasks that you don’t want to employ someone to do or it’s not viable to employ someone to do.  It may be that you already outsource certain tasks, such as office cleaning or marketing but looking beyond these more obvious outsourcing opportunities could have a major impact on your bottom-line.  Specialist skills can be bought in on an ad hoc, needs basis, allowing you to take up a market opportunity that you mightn’t otherwise be able to consider, or you might decide to stop burning the midnight oil and outsource mundane tasks that you’re doing yourself so you can focus your attention on profit-making activities.  Either way, by carefully selecting tasks that can be outsourced and investing the time required to find the right outsourcing supplier, it’s fair to expect a significant upturn in performance.

I’ll be writing a series of articles on outsourcing over the next few weeks, so if this idea has got your mind going, why not bookmark this page so you can find out more?  In this series of articles, I’ll be going through the pros and cons of outsourcing and interviewing some people who embraced the notion of outsourcing and have really made it work for their business.  

 

 

About the author: This article was written and submitted by Paul Marsden, Director of Virtual Business Source who offer outsourced payroll and bookkeeping to SMEs and who advise on accounting software solutions.  By qualification Paul is a Tax Accountant, but these days does little in the way of tax accounting.  In his role as accountant he has worked with small and medium sized businesses for over 25 years; a period that has seen many changes, particularly regarding the accessibility and implementation of technology. 

Paul has an exceptionally strong personal and professional interest in technology and gets a real buzz from helping business owners use technology to become more efficient so they have more time to focus on business growth.

He’s spent the last 5 years running an outsourcing business that provides bookkeeping, payroll and accounting software services to SMBs.  Paul is a member of the IAAITC (International
Association of Accountants Innovation and Technology Consultants), a group of UK accountants who combine to promote forward thinking in IT across the accountancy profession.  Currently the IAAITC is developing a framework for SMB’s to deal effectively with Information Security.