Business process outsourcing services gain traction

Martin Daks//May 8, 2023//


Business process outsourcing services gain traction

Martin Daks//May 8, 2023//

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A rapidly growing health care company in the Northeast wanted to scale up its processes without busting the budget, so it turned to EisnerAmper for business processing outsourcing services, according to Becky Munson, an EisnerAmper partner. “Many businesses, high-growth ones in particular, want to focus on their core competencies and do not want to increase their overhead by hiring a full-time CFO, finance, accounting, or other professionals when they may only need fractional services,” she said. “We have technical and professional people that can give clients the expertise they need, but in a scalable manner.”

Increasingly, businesses that want to control costs without compromising quality are turning to BPO providers for a variety of tasks. The North American BPO market is valued at more than $90 billion and growing by some 9% a year, according to published reports.

Becky Munson, EisnerAmper partner

The EisnerAmper Cloud Accounting Services team started by gaining a thorough understanding of the health care company’s needs, and then recommended automating some accounts payable and other processes, along with moving them to a digital cloud environment that would increase security and accessibility while reducing costs, Munson recalled. “The client was intimidated at first, but our team walked them through the entire process, making sure they were comfortable with the transition before handing it all off to the client,” she said. “We continue to consult with them to be sure everything’s still running smoothly and provide additional advisory services.”

A business process review is helpful “to just about any kind of company,” she added. “But it’s especially important for health care, professional services firms and nonprofits, which increasingly have to cope with new, complex regulations.”

Munson and her colleagues also keep up with the latest trends, and she says technology is one of the most important, right now. “We’re looking at artificial intelligence, ChatGPT, robotic process automation and other advances, to understand how these fit in with client needs,” she explained. “We’re also partnering with technology companies to make sure we continue to be aware of cutting-edge developments.”

Munson, for example, sits on advisory boards at companies like QuickBooks, bill.com, and “CPA.com – an initiative organized by the American Institute of CPAs – which is leading change throughout the accounting profession.”

She’s quick to point out, however, that technology will supplement accounting and other professionals, but will not replace them. “Technology sits in the middle, but finance and other decisions begin and end with humans,” she explained. “We use technology to service clients around the world, and we help them to grow with technology — but as the pace of tech increases, and as technology and regulations become more complex, clients will increasingly look to human CPAs as their trusted advisers. It’s not a one-off transaction, but an ongoing relationship with them.”

Other BPO providers also work hard to satisfy client needs. For more than a quarter century, Visionet Systems, a technology consulting firm, has delivered digital solutions to more than 350 global enterprises in life sciences, consumer packaged goods, retail, banking and financial services, and other industries.

Tauseef Muhammad, vice president and head of marketing, Visionet Systems Inc.

“Visionet’s digital transformation services include automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotic process automation,” noted Visionet Vice President and Head of Marketing Tauseef Muhammad. “We also provide mortgage BPO services, including end-to-end mortgage processing solutions; retail BPO services that include e-commerce operations and omnichannel support; a range of insurance BPO services, including claims processing, policy administration, underwriting support and customer service,” along with other support.

When a leading New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company faced challenges in streamlining data from multiple sensor devices provided by different manufacturers to measure drug efficacy, “Visionet proposed an intelligent sensor data platform that standardized analytical schema, provided an ingestion layer for variety of sensors and an AI framework,” Muhammad explained. “This platform enabled the company to measure drug efficacy on different physical activities, and helped biostatisticians evaluate significant variations between the control and placebo group. The platform helped to measure the impact of a drug on walking speed, it detected asymmetry of weight bearing, finger tapping speed, and regularity decay (or best practices).”

Several emerging BPO trends are currently gaining traction, he added. “One is that BPO providers are increasingly adopting artificial intelligence and automation technologies to improve operational efficiency and reduce costs. This includes the use of chatbots, natural language processing, machine learning, and robotic process automation to automate repetitive and low-value tasks. At the same time, BPO providers are becoming more customer-centric, with a focus on delivering an exceptional customer experience. This includes providing personalized services, omnichannel support, and 24/7 customer service.”

Internally, the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of hybrid work models, he noted. “Employees are increasingly working both remotely and in the office. BPO providers are adopting this model to improve flexibility and reduce costs associated with physical office spaces.”

And the increasing number of cyberattacks and data breaches have spurred BPO providers to “prioritize data security and privacy,” Muhammad said. “This includes implementing robust security measures and complying with data protection regulations.

Finally, BPO providers are focusing on sustainability and implementing eco-friendly practices. “This includes reducing carbon emissions, minimizing waste, and implementing green technologies,” he said.

The company’s efforts seem to be working. “Customers choose Visionet Systems for BPO services because of our professionals’ industry expertise, technology-driven approach, quality and compliance focus, customer-centric approach, scalability, and cost-effectiveness,” he added. As with other industries, BPOs that consistently exceed client expectations will rise to the top.

Above and beyond

Kenneth May, partner at Haefele Flanagan

The South Jersey CPA firm Haefele Flanagan offers “numerous outsourced services including a full-service accounting suite, and more individually specific services such as bookkeeping, controller and chief financial officer services,” according to Partner Kenneth May. “Our full-service offering would include utilizing our employees as the clients accounting and finance department. The service is as in depth as needed, from data entry all the way to negotiating with the bank and forward planning and business strategy.”

He noted that businesses are embracing outsourced accounting and finance services because, “In today’s climate it is difficult to staff accounting positions, plus they have the comfort of knowing that we can provide a level of expertise that spans multiple persons with different experiences and decades of both practical and theoretical knowledge.”

Haefele Flanagan clients also like the convenience of being able to turn to one provider for multiple service offerings. “Knowing that we can offer a ‘one-stop-shop’ and help them not only with their basic accounting needs, but also with analyzing their books and creating strategies to assist with growth and profitability, matters a lot,” he added. “Additionally, many smaller companies do not currently have the need for a full-time accounting team, but they want the knowledge and expertise of one.”

May noted that the two largest “focal points” in the firm’s Client Accounting Services currently are franchisees and real estate entities. “For franchisees we have cultivated that kind of expertise and have a group that can help franchise owners prepare their books and records as the franchisor requires,” he said. “Also, our firm has traditionally had a heavy presence in construction and real estate, and our outsourced accounting services geared toward real estate have grown from that presence.”

The firm’s BPO expertise was illustrated when a multilocation franchise operator in Pennsylvania and New Jersey approached Haefele Flanagan to assist with the books and records associated with opening several new locations. “We were able to standardize the existing books and records and assist with the opening of the new locations, as well as the reporting required for the franchisor,” May explained. “This allowed our client to focus on the operations side of his openings with the confidence that his books and records were being handled in a proper and professional manner exactly as he needed. We were further able to assist him in setting up financial metrics that he could utilize to analyze the profitability of his stores. We continue to have ongoing informational and strategic meetings with the client on ways that he can maximize his profitability at his locations.”

According to May, “One of the most important aspects of this type of work is having open communication and building a relationship of trust and respect. At Haefele Flanagan this is what we strive for. We offer solutions through listening to our clients’ needs and assisting them where they need it most. While our clients may not always like the advice we give, we will always recommend what is best.”