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Boost Audit Profitability: Avoid These 3 Talent Outsourcing Mistakes

September 28, 2020 andresterley

According to Google Trends, the word “unprecedented” reached such a high level in April 2020 that it dwarfs anything seen before!

It's the word we hear repeatedly from journalists to CEOs and executives across corporate America.

And just like so many other corporations, audit firms are reeling from the whiplash from this unprecedented pandemic.

In an already fiercely competitive market place, audit partners, market segment leaders, and executives are scrambling for solutions to keep fixed payroll costs down while struggling to minimize the opportunity cost of lost work due to the lack of talent.

It is in the midst of this raging rivalry that flexible solutions around timing, duration, locations, rates, and team size have become more important than ever.

Flexible and innovative solutions that keep fixed payroll costs down, slash recruiting fees, and boost engagement and overall firm profitability.

You might be wondering what could such a flexible and innovative solution be?

Essentially, supplementing your busier seasons with cost-effective, high-quality international talent on a project basis.

However, it's much more than that. One can think of it as Strategic Talent Management…

The chances are that if your firm has tried similar “outsourcing talent programs” (whether inter-company or external), you are well aware of both the potential benefits and challenges.

If “done right” however, many firms will attest to the significant rewards of strategic talent partnerships.

And it's during these unprecedented times that such a partnership is significantly more material to avoid “overhiring” employees on fixed payroll that were really only needed during a busy season.

However, not all talent outsourcing programs are made the same…

In our experience, there are 3 typical (and very costly) mistakes made by audit firms, whether your firm is running their own talent outsourcing program internally or whether you are working with an external provider.

#1 Reactive Staffing

Any audit firm that has opted for supplementing their audit talent with temporary staff during their usual demanding and stressful busy seasons knows this...

...It's NOT as easy as “plug and play”.

It takes a lot more than simply determining staffing and skill levels required based on submitted scheduling requests.

Traditional reactive staffing solutions only consider the “here and now” or at most, next busy season.

Little thought is often given to hidden costs, such as the learning curve of a new team matched with a complex audit engagement, learning the exact software used, or neglecting to involve new team members in the planning process simply because they haven’t yet arrived at your firm's office. 

At SAPRO, we understand that the modern firm of the future is not just anticipating the next busy season, but periods of growth and turnover throughout the year which requires the most innovative and agile talent solutions.

We also target professionals ready to work for at least two busy seasons providing a reasonable probability of expected continuity not found by traditional solutions.

We also facilitate video conferencing with talent while they are still in their home country so that they can be involved in the audit planning process and already begin with preparations for the audit which can significantly impact utilization rates, employee morale, and performance.

#2 Pre-training

We have found that audit firms can significantly underestimate the importance of prioritizing the pre-training of audit professionals that are only present for a busy period.

Busy season has arrived... a last-minute attempt is made to provide a “one-day” training in which everything from software, audit methodology, and admin is crammed in!

The unfortunate result? Audit seniors have to learn brand new software and perhaps even new audit methodology on their very first engagement (as opposed to being properly pre-trained), resulting in audit inefficiencies, lower fee realization, and potentially even a lack of perceived professionalism to the client.

This is why at our SAPRO Training academy we prioritize pre-training our talent to succeed in high stress and time-sensitive, busy season environment.

We pre-train talent on everything from your company specifics, audit methodology, audit software, culture, expected behavior and responsibilities, project management, and even communication style!

Proactively prioritizing training in this way will allow you to smoothly integrate new teams saving you time, money, and the frustration that comes with the traditional clunky onboarding process.

Proactively prioritizing training in this way will allow integration of new teams so smoothly you’ll be forgiven for mistaking them for your long term permanent employees… not to mention the savings in time and money. Permission granted to bid your traditional frustratingly clunky onboarding process, adieu.

#3 Culture

New York City is a very different place then let’s say... a city out in the Midwest! And it's hard (some may even say impossible) to assess attitude, soft skills, and personality looking at technical certifications written on a resume.

Cultural fit becomes more important than ever when you consider that during busy season pressure, employees will be pushed and drilled to their professional and personal limits!

It is during these times of soaring stress levels that the right cultural fit can be the difference between high realization and client satisfaction versus internal team conflict, audit inefficiencies, and even client disagreements.

At SAPRO, cultural fit is not something we take lightly... 

We work hard to handpick the right candidate using the latest in technology from our wide range of top tier, time tested, and professional talent to ensure the highest probability of a cultural match.

Instead of being bound to just reviewing words written on a resume why not review candidate videos?

The Innovative Audit Firm of the Future

The firms that “do what has always been done” and settle for their existing and traditional talent solutions that have been “good enough” in the past are destined to face the consequences of lackluster performance and the ever-increasing struggle of attracting and retaining the highest caliber in audit talent.

It is in these uncertain times that the market calls for decisive action from audit leaders to seek innovative solutions to build a more nimble, agile, and modern firm.

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P.S. Why not schedule a no-obligation free consultative call now to see how our unique audit talent-based partnership model can help lower your talent cost and boost your bottom line?

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