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How to Get Staff to Embrace Outsourced Accounting

The accountancy profession is currently experiencing significant transformation driven by advancements in technology and the trend towards outsourced accounting. These developments are allowing firms to enhance their advisory services, better manage costs, and maintain a flexible core compliance workforce. While this change is unavoidable for all firms within the industry, effectively managing this transition is of paramount importance.

Keeping Your Staff Happy

It is understandable that some employees might be apprehensive about how the engagement of an outsourced accounting firm will impact their roles.

Rest assured, your personnel will remain invaluable as essential intermediaries between clients and the BOSS accountants; their contributions will continue to be indispensable. Additionally, there may be individuals who possess a strong preference for compliance work without any inclination towards further professional development. In such cases, you may opt to retain one or more accountants in purely compliance-oriented positions.

For many accounting professionals, this represents an excellent opportunity to engage more in client-facing roles and business advisory services. Drawing from six years of experience recruiting within the accounting sector, I can confirm that many accountants aspire to diversify their skill set with such positions, as they are typically more varied and engaging than traditional compliance duties. This shift is viewed as a career progression.

If your goal is to enhance the value-added work performed by your team, it is essential to communicate these opportunities clearly to all staff members. The transition will likely be gradual, allowing internal accountants ample time to adjust.

John Kotter’s esteemed book “Leading Change” outlines an eight-step change process for managing transitions effectively. Below is a summarised version of this methodology. (Please note that the extent to which you implement each step may vary based on the size of your firm).

Step 1: Create Urgency

To foster a sense of urgency and facilitate meaningful dialogue about your firm, recent developments in the accounting industry, and competitive movements, it is crucial to address several key aspects comprehensively.

  1. Firstly, we must delineate potential threats and envisage various scenarios that could transpire in the future. By identifying these risks proactively, we can develop strategies to mitigate their impact on your operations.
  2. It is essential to evaluate opportunities ripe for exploitation. These could range from technological advancements to shifts in market dynamics that may favour your growth and adaptation.


John Kotter’s change management theory underscores that for any transformation initiative to succeed, 75% of stakeholders need buy-in. Therefore, cultivating an awareness about the evolving landscape will underpin conversations aimed at fostering this much-needed consensus and heightening a collective sense of urgency.

Step 2: Form a Coalition

To successfully drive the desired change, it is essential to assemble a coalition of influencers drawn from various departments within the organisation. These individuals should possess influence derived from their positions, areas of expertise, natural leadership qualities, or political significance.

Key actions include:

  1. Seeking commitment from these key people.
  2. Fostering team cohesion within this coalition to ensure their unified support for your change initiatives.

Step 3: Create a Vision for Change

A well-articulated vision is essential for people to comprehend the rationale behind organisational changes.

To achieve this, you must:

  1. Formulate a concise summary that encapsulates your envisioned future of the company.
  2. Develop a strategic plan to actualize this vision.
  3. Ensure that your leadership team shares an identical understanding of both the summary and the overarching vision.

Step 4: Communicate the Vision

You need to:

  1. To effectively address concerns and manage potential resistance surrounding the decision to outsource accounting work, it is crucial to adopt a considerate and transparent approach. I recommend engaging with each staff member individually, if necessary, and posing the open-ended question: “What apprehensions do you have regarding outsourced accounting services?” This will help unveil any underlying anxieties or objections, allowing us to appropriately address and mitigate them.
  2. Moreover, frequent communication about our overarching vision is essential. By consistently linking this vision to various operational aspects, we can ensure alignment and foster a cohesive understanding throughout the organisation.

Step 5: Remove Obstacles

Ensure all elements are prepared for outsourcing while simultaneously identifying and addressing any potential obstacles, such as process inefficiencies or resistant individuals.

  • To effectively implement and sustain organisational change, it is imperative to:
  • 1. Acknowledge and commend individuals who contribute to the advancement of the change initiative. Recognition may simply involve verbal praise but serves as a significant motivator.
  • 2. Support hesitant personnel in understanding the necessity and rationale behind the changes required.
  • 3. Modify internal systems as needed to accommodate outsourcing efforts efficiently.
  • 4. Act promptly to ensure successful execution.
  • By adhering to these guidelines, we can foster an environment conducive to positive transformation and progress within our organisation.

Step 6: Create Short-Term Wins

To effectively counter any scepticism regarding your vision, it’s essential to achieve some immediate, visible successes. This will demonstrate tangible progress to your team and help diminish any critical voices.

  1. You are advised to identify and focus on projects that can be efficiently executed with minimal involvement from staff members who may have a negative outlook. For instance, consider initially outsourcing straightforward compliance tasks. This approach will help resolve any initial challenges internally with minimal disruption, while also demonstrating the viability of the concept.
  2. Additionally, it is important to recognize and reward those individuals who achieve the established goals.

Step 7: Build on the Change

Small projects serve as foundational steps toward greater achievements. It is imperative to expand your endeavours at the earliest opportunity but still commit to the level of care required to ensure success.

You are required to:

  1. Conduct a comprehensive analysis to identify both the successful elements and areas for improvement in each project.
  2. Establish clear objectives aimed at sustaining and enhancing progress.

Step 8: Anchor the Changes in the Firm’s Culture

Acknowledge the positive changes that have been implemented. 

It’s crucial to maintain the support and cohesion of your coalition during this period of transformation.

You’ll need to:

  1. Focus on highlighting progress whenever possible.
  2. Ensure that new hires are fully informed about the firm’s recent changes and the accompanying benefits.
  3. Publicly acknowledge and commend key team members for their significant contributions.
  4. Additionally, devise a comprehensive plan for a sustained, long-term implementation.

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