Small to medium size businesses often look to handle their IT infrastructure in the most self sufficient way. Rarely will these companies have the budget or even the need to hire a full time employee dedicated to managing their network. In the past SMEs would turn to the outsourcing industry to extend their in-house capabilities and get a properly managed IT system setup with 24 hour support.
The trend has now shifted for businesses around world to get their IT infrastructure requirements fulfilled using cloud computing services. Rather than having to shift their IT processes to an outsource the SME’s can now automate the processes with cloud services.
Cloud computing is a subscription-based service offering on-demand network access to IT resources over the internet that are hosted and maintained by the supplier. This gives businesses virtual access to scalable amounts of applications, storage space and data that is completely independent of location and device. In contrast to the traditional way of outsourcing IT services cloud computing outsourcing is charged as a pay per use basis where companies are only charged for the amount of resources they consume.
Cloud Service Models
There are four primary categories that cloud service modules fall into and businesses can choose which ones are needed for their specific business functions:
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – This is the most basic and pioneer service of cloud computing. With IaaS, businesses are provided virtualized network resources (servers, storage, virtual machines, etc..). This is usually billed as a pay as you go service.
- Software as a Service (SaaS) – delivering software applications over the internet that are hosted by the supplier. Suppliers manage the software applications, infrastructure, maintenance and required updates. This is usually billed as a paid subscription.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS) – This service provides an on-demand environment for developing, testing and managing software applications. This method makes creating apps for mobile or web use quicker and easier since the underlying infrastructure is being managed by a third party. This is usually billed as a pay as you go service.
- Desktop as a Service (DaaS) – With this service companies are provided virtual desktops that are accessible anywhere in the world using the internet. This is usually billed as a paid subscription.
Cloud computing outsourcing is appealing for SMEs because of the flexibility and reliability of the services offered. Business functions and roles have been completely revamped since the introduction of cloud computing services. This pay as you go or as you need method to fulfill companies IT requirements is becoming the standard for startups due to the convenience, scalability, low cost and access anytime anywhere that they get with cloud computing outsourcing.
There is not a single business that does not have some type of clerical work that needs to be accomplished. Filing paperwork, managing records, reception duties, data entry and other administrative tasks all fall under the responsibility of a clerical worker or clerical assistant. The scope of duties will vary from day to day so they are often considered to be a jack of all trades in and around the office.
Workload for clerical positions tends to be very inconsistent. Some days there is not enough hours in the day while most days are spent waiting around for the next project. Because of this inconsistent workload the trend for small to medium sized businesses is to get these administrative tasks completed by using a clerical outsourcing service.
Handling Administrative Tasks
Most SMEs are working with a limited budget and are only employing the absolutely necessary staff to operate. In the beginning it is unlikely they employ someone dedicated to administrative tasks so the clerical business functions are placed on the back burner until one of the key players has time to work on it even though it is usually out of their area of expertise. This inevitably leads to prolonged processes and poor quality of work.
BPO companies are filled with experienced staff that are experts in handling clerical work. This limits the requirement and costs that come with recruiting and training new employees. SMEs are also free from the costs and time it takes to manage the newly hired employee. With clerical outsourcing companies pay a flat rate per month for the service needed without having to worry about payroll, taxes and insurances.
Hire a Service
When companies engage in outsourcing they are hiring a service instead of hiring an individual employee. Companies are only charged for the administrative work that is actually completed with no consideration to the actual employee performing the job. No additional resources are needed from the client for completing the outsourced tasks. Time and money is not wasted on checking personal emails, social networking and internet browsing with clerical outsourcing.
Clerical Outsourcing Duties
Using today’s advanced technology enables companies to have almost any administrative task completed remotely. Clerical duties are extremely varied depending on each company’s needs but here are the 12 most common tasks:
- Answer telephones, take messages and transfer calls
- Communicate with customers and employees
- Maintain and update inventory and database systems
- Basic bookkeeping and banking transactions
- Process and prepare documents
- Prepare meeting agendas and record minutes
- Compile, copy and file records and transactions
- Complete and mail bills, contracts and policies
- Compute, record and proofread data and reports
- Type, format, proofread and edit correspondence from notes
- Complete work schedules, manage calendars and appointments
- Make travel arrangements for personnel
Voice type call center services pioneered the outsourcing industry in the Philippines. Even today 70% of the revenue generated by BPO companies in the Philippines come from over the phone customer service and telemarketing services. This has resulted in Manila becoming the #1 ranked city for businesses in English speaking countries to outsource their voice-based processes.
Ranked #1 for English Speaking Call Centers
This top spot is credited to the high number of fluent English speakers and the countries 97% literacy rate. Filipinos speak English with a neutral accent and are very knowledgeable about the American culture due to the countries historical ties to the United States. These characteristics have proven to be a huge advantage over India and has encouraged more companies to outsource their call center services to Philippines.
Handles Wide-Range of Call Center Services
The Philippines is not only an outsourcing destination for US-based accounts but has recently had an influx of UK and Australia based accounts for both voice and nonvoice processes. Call center services in the Philippines has evolved to much more than just providing customer service for businesses overseas. Now these BPO call centers are able to handle a wide range of both inbound and outbound businesses processes.
Inbound Call Center Services
- Customer Service – 24 hour basis, after office hours or as an overflow.
- Receiving / Inputting Orders and Selling – everything from upselling to credit card processing
- Tracking / Reporting on Orders Progress – confirming deliveries, validating information, order status updates, etc…
- Handling Customer Complaints / Issues – resolution is quick and rarely requires escalation.
- Direct Response Marketing Services – offers new products / services to new and existing customers.
- Conference & Event Registration – 24/7 support including providing details, marketing data, capturing statistics and registering guests in CRM.
- Help Desk Support – 24/7 live help and advice for website navigation, general product information and other custom support queries.
- Technical Support – dedicated tech support for Windows, Macs, Tablets, Mobile Devices, Servers, Networks, etc…
- Dealer Locate & Referral – provides customers with requested information such as driving directions, hours of operation, stock levels, product categories, etc….
- Back Office Support – data entry, data research and management services.
- Shipping & Fulfillment Services – shipping orders, warehousing services and distribution services.
Outbound Call Center Services
Business Process Outsourcing is the process of outsourcing the operations and responsibilities of specific business processes to a third party service provider. Services that are most likely to be outsourced are those not labeled as core business functions.
Outsourcing is a management process in the globalized business context that has been well understood, tried and tested by successful organizations across the globe. The advancements in Information Technology has led to this industry growing faster than ever with the reduction in costs combined with the ability to have services provided from remote locations overseas.
What Services are Being Outsourced?
BPO outsourcing services primarily include back office operations. In the past outsourcing was limited to inbound and/or outbound voice type services. Inbound services dealt with customer service and technical support while outbound services usually included sales and billing services. Businesses are now confident in expanding their scope of services they are willing to outsource. Here are the top 10 BPO outsourcing services for 2018:
- Web Design – 71% of companies outsource web development projects including Apple inc. and it has resulted in higher profits.
- Software Development – 56% of startups have outsourced software development to an external partner as a way to handle their capacity issues.
- Telemarketing – Pay per lead is gaining huge popularity with the opportunity to gain qualified leads with little risks.
- Customer Service – It is expected that every company provides 24/7 customer service in 2018 which can be extremely costly having to cover midnight hours and overtime of in-house employees.
- Virtual Assistance – There are an estimated 3.9 million virtual secretaries and administrative assistance around the world.
- Bookkeeping / Accounting – Offshoring finance and accounting services comprases about 10% of the $980 billion BPO market and is expected increase 70% by the year 2020. Taxation and financial statement preparation are the most common processes to be outsourced.
- Data Entry – According to market trends, businesses like e-commerce, legal, online retail portals and manufacturing mostly outsource their data entry tasks because of excessive and bulk range of data that needs to be processed, managed and represented as per organization protocols as well as understanding.
- Medical Billing – 49 percent of hospital chief financial officers acknowledge that outsourcing (including overseas outsourcing) in organizational claim processing will become an increasingly viable alternative as 2018 progresses.
- Digital Marketing – In 2017, 68% of agencies outsourced SEO to a white label SEO provider, 62% outsourced content marketing services and 48% outsourced pay per click marketing.
- Human Resources – According to Global Industry Analysts, the BPO market for outsourcing HR services is expected to reach $54 billion by 2020.
Businesses continue to see that finding talent is not only difficult but also costly. By hiring a BPO outsourcing services the company is not hiring an employee but hiring a third party to complete a process. Doing so greatly increases productivity, reduces costs and just overall improves their business processes.
BPO outsourcing companies in the Philippines enable businesses around the world to improve their customer satisfaction rating and gain that competitive edge over their competition. Cost effective, trustworthy, fully competent and transparent are just some of the qualities that are used to describe the Philippine’s outsourcing industry.
Once you combine those characteristics along with the fact that the country continues to stay current with trends in technology, according to Tholons Service Globalization the Philippines is in the top 10 for offering digital services; it is no surprise the worldwide popularity being gained by BPO outsourcing companies in the Philippines.
There are plenty of studies ranking the Philippines as being first in client satisfaction when combining cost with performance. Here are some key attributes that give Filipinos the edge when it comes to the BPO industry:
- Quality Service. Filipinos are very welcoming when it comes to helping others. They love to communicate with other people and give their undivided attention when speaking to a customer. Thanks to this great culture and positive attitude it makes customer service come as second nature to them.
- Communication Skills. Language and culture are probably some of the biggest factors why companies choose to outsource to the Philippines. English is the language used by teachers in school and the country currently has a 92.6 percent literacy rate which makes it one of the largest English speaking countries in the world.
- Labor Costs. Filipino salaries are significantly less than those of other countries due to the low cost of living in the country. Even with the low salary the quality of service is still on par compared to companies in-house employees. When using BPO outsourcing companies in the Philippines businesses get to have their cake and eat it too.
Businesses around the world have more choices than ever when it comes to getting a specific service accomplished through outsourcing. The Philippines continues to be in the top 3 for most categories important to choosing an outsourcing destination.
The BPO industry in the Philippines was responsible for $25 billion in revenue or 10% of their economic ouput in the year 2017 and is expected to increase to covering 15% of the total global outsourcing market by the end of 2018.
Highly skilled, service-oriented, educated and English speaking workforce is creating confidence and giving the opportunity for more businesses around the world to connect with BPO outsourcing companies in the Philippines.
Keeping your finances in check is one of the most important parts of running your
Australian business. Bookkeeping is a tedious task that no business owner or manager should have to get involved with since it is so time consuming and I guarantee you have a million other things your plate.
Save yourself the time and agony of all the fine detail tracking and recording. Focus on the bottom line! Small businesses throughout Australia have had great success using outsourcing services for their bookkeeping. Saving time is just the beginning to the list of benefits you experience when you outsource bookkeeping services.
Secures Financial Data
When you outsource bookkeeping services and other financial processes you reduce the risk of fraud in your business. You need to ensure segregation of duties and privacy when dealing with the businesses finances. No better way of accomplishing that for your Australian business than to hire an outsourcing company located overseas to handle bookkeeping for you. BPO companies are experts when it comes to protecting your company’s most sensitive asset and are constantly upgrading their security measures to stay ahead of the game. It is both morally and legally the responsibility of your third party bookkeeping service to keep your data secure.
Most small businesses and startup companies have limited resources so their bookkeeping tasks fall to either someone that has little training and experience or has a much larger role in the company. Let’s face it, creating business strategies and closing deals take priority. With that, bookkeeping processes get mismanaged and placed on the back-burner. Hiring a bookkeeping service that specializes in Australian accounting will ensure all financial reporting is on time and 100% accurate. Outsourced bookkeepers are completely certified and attend continuous improvement training classes to ensure they are up to date with the latest trends in accounting.
Outsourcing bookkeeping services is a no-brainer when it comes to cutting costs in Australia. In-house bookkeepers usually have a base salary of about $50-70K before any overhead costs. Add that extra 25% to factor in benefits, taxes, facility cost, etc., and you are at about $75K for bookkeeping. With outsourcing there are is no overhead costs, you pay a monthly flat rate (around $1000) which covers all bookkeeping needs. Add it all up and you save more than 75% when you outsource bookkeeping. Don’t forget the training and management costs you are cutting by using a bookkeeping service that handles Australian businesses.
Bookkeeping will always be one of those important administrative tasks that nobody likes to do. Bookkeepers employed by overseas BPO companies are experts at this stressful, number crunching, time-consuming process. Using an outsourcing company is the most efficient way of handling your bookkeeping processes in Australia. Keep your finances up to date with little cost and no effort by hiring a third party bookkeeping service.
Small business owners in Australia are often overwhelmed with the many things critical to growing their business. Managing marketing strategies, employees and social media accounts is proof enough that there are not enough hours in a day. Accounting is often an overlooked task that is taking away more time than realized from managing the important things that directly lead to gaining an edge on the competition in Australia. With that being said, there are multiple benefits for using outsourced accounting services that specialize in handling companies based out of Australia.
Increased Energy and Focus
By outsourcing accounting services, businesses will be able to dedicate more of their employees and resources to their core mission. Small businesses in Australia especially benefit from this since they are often limited on resources compared to the bigger companies. Back office functions like bookkeeping and accounting can become a distraction to the in-house staff. Outsourcing these financial tasks will allow entrepreneurs to maintain energy and focus on developing new ideas and better ways to do business.
Proven Expertise & Quality Assured
Accounting services are handled by trained professionals hired by outsourcing companies in Australia to only focus on financial functions. It is not uncommon for small to midsize companies to assign the bookkeeping and accounting tasks to employees that have other primary duties. This lack of proper training and focus leads to errors and miscalculations in companies finances. Outsourced accounting providers use teams of professionals to ensure double checking of all accounting work accomplished. Outsourcing accounting services in Australia increases the quality and accuracy of the work.
Businesses are able to cut the costs of their accounting services up to 50% by using an outsource service provider compared to hiring in-house accountants. Here is a quick breakdown on where the savings come from:
- Operational Costs – Training for the employees, purchases of hardware and software, software licenses, system administration, HR services and management.
- Employee Costs – Not only does this include salary, social assistance contributions and recruitment but also the costs of compensated vacations and absences.
- Infrastructure Costs – The most obvious is the space provided for the accountants and bookkeepers to work but also includes office supplies, equipment and storage space for documents rather it be paper or virtual.
Outsourcing these financial functions allows Australian companies to pay on monthly flat rate without worrying about the additional costs. In addition, the flat rate streamlines budgeting and simplifies cost control procedures.
Small to midsize businesses are continuously changing, ramping up at times while throttling back at other times depending on business flow. Accounting services must be able to adjust to these changes which could be quite difficult with in-house accountants. Companies using a third party accounting provider simply get in touch with them and explain their new requirements. No need of recruiting or laying off staff. Outsourcing gives Australian business owners the ability to leverage financial professionals when they’re needed and only for how long they are needed without paying any additional time.
As the stock market appears to being bouncing back from its worst single day drop in years it is important to identify the reasons for the long overdue market pullback. The recent surge in the US economy along with the lowest unemployment rate in 17 years has many experts worrying about inflation. Let’s take a look at three other key factors contributing to this week’s wild ride in the stock market.
1. Sell-off Started from the Jobs Report. The labor department released their monthly jobs report last Friday on how many jobs were created in January 2018. 200,000 jobs were created with an increase in wages of 2.9% making it the biggest jump since 2009. How can that be a negative? Well on wall street they figure if you pay workers more than it has to lower profits.
2. New Chair of the Federal Reserve. Jerome H. Powell took over as leader of the federal reserve on Monday. Investors are uncertain if the new leader will follow in Janet L. Yellen’s of keeping interest rates low with extremely subtle increases. Nobody knows Powell’s strategy to keeping inflation in check. Will he mess it up?
3. Wall Street was Due to Come Back to Earth. On average the stock market gains somewhere around 8 percent a year. From January 2017 to January 2018 the stock market increased by 26 percent, almost 3 times more than the average. Investors knew stocks should not really be at these high of levels.
As alarming as the dip might seem it is not a true correction. A correction is when the market suffers a 10 percent drop from its peak. On Monday the market was about 8.5 percent lower than its January 26th peak. There have only been four official corrections since 2009 so people should not be predicting the worst just yet.
Consumers and companies are currently on the trend of spending money and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down in 2018. The stock market is not the economy though so don’t expect this downturn to be pointed at some bad economic news. Too much good news is the most likely cause of the dip.
The bottom line is that Wall street is mostly worried about inflation. When the costs of everything continues to rise and rise then people can lose faith in the value of money. In the most extreme example of too much inflation is the currency turns meaningless and the economy collapses.
Investors are not worried about the economy collapsing but with the latest taxes cuts and jobs report they fear the currency value could take a slight dip. The strong economy should offset the inflation scare and the stock market will recover and continue to rise. Just don’t expect the 26 percent increase of last year.
The negative impact and overall costs of having a poor reputation is often underestimated and can drag your business through the mud. We all know the story, someone chooses to join hands with you for some business deal but before finalizing the deal they will “Google” you and your business. If you happen to have some negative publicity from some unhappy previous customers then there is a high chance that deal will fall through and you will be left scratching your head about what happened.
Online reputation management is something every business needs to consider in order to build your company a strong image and protect it from getting maligned. It is important to make it a point of conserving your assumed good reputation because repairing a bad one could be difficult and takes quite some time.
The reality is that dissatisfied clients or customers are 60% more likely to write a review about their experience compared to a satisfied customer. It has been estimated it takes about 12 positive reviews to offset the bad reputation gained from a negative review. Business reputation matters and it is vital to your company’s success.
Do a quick search to see what is showing up on Google when you query your business. Do not feel overwhelmed when you see 100’s of thousands results for you search; the first websites that show up are the most relevant. Besides, it is unlikely that a potential customer will search more than the first few pages of results and Google has a habit of getting those negative reviews to show up on the first page. You must also search different search engines along with trying to add some keywords after your business name like: review, experience or feedback. If you are able to find some negative reviews it is imperative that you immediately start to do some damage control.
Ignoring negative comments about you or your business will only make the situation worse while the bad review reaches more and more potential customers. Respond to the comment promptly but tactfully. Make an attempt to empathize the situation of the client by completely understanding what occurred to cause their bad experience.
Do not get defensive with the client or other readers and reassure everyone that this is by no means a routine occurrence. People realize that misunderstandings happen from time to time when doing business and by you simply addressing the situation will usually go a long way towards repairing your bad reputation.
In addition to acknowledging your bad reviews you need to be proactive in receiving positive reviews. Invite your customers to review their experiences on all the different social media platforms available. Positive reviews will quickly outnumber the negative ones and that will boost your overall reputation. You also need to be active across all social media with providing updates to your products or services, interacting with the public and engaging potential customers.
In a nutshell, just be sure to closely monitor what is being said about your brand. There are even add-ons and different types of software available that will alert you anytime your company name is mentioned on any type of social media or website. This is a great way to stay on top and resolve immediately any bad reviews your receive.
If you are currently or looking to start offering some type of product or services it is essential that you conduct some type of market research. Entrepreneurs must know everything about their customer based, whether it be an individual customer or a company that is a customer. You must analyze the buying behaviors of your customers. What they want, what they believe in, what they need and how they are currently supplying those needs.
It is vital to your success that you understand why customers are buying specific products and services from you or your competitors. With proper market research you can easily succeed in lowering risks within your business since your products and services are geared towards market demand.
Market research is the process that gathers information from the market and then extracts the specific data related to customers behavior in order to prepare an effective marketing strategy. The main purpose of the collection activity is to give an understanding of your customers behaviors in the market your business operates. Basic market research gives you the answers to the following questions:
- What customers should you target?
- How frequently do customers buy your product or service?
- How much do competitors charge and how much is a customer willing to pay?
In order to get the required quality and quantity of data for your market research you must pursue a number of different sources. Getting customer feedback from your current customers is usually the best way to start your market research. Customers will be able to tell you a lot about the strengths and weaknesses in your current business process. Surveys via email, telephone or interviews can be used to collect information about people and their opinions about products and services.
The internet has unlimited amount of data along with finalized analysis that can be extremely useful for any type of market research. Google’s trends offers valuable information about what internet users are most likely to be searching for. The list goes on and on for where to collect data but the important thing is that you use many different types of sources to get your information needed when doing your market research.
In order to succeed in business you need more than the right equipment, financing, talent and experience. You must have that stream of information coming in that tells you why people buy your product or services. Hiring someone else to do your market research can save you time and uncover valuable information that is often overlooked. Get a free quote!