A third (34%) of UK accountants do not trust that outsourcing is done correctly or to a high enough standard, according to research from IRIS Software Group (IRIS), a UK provider of accountancy software and services.

The research reveals many accountants are reluctant to outsource certain elements of their role due to ‘out-of-date’ assumptions. From the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, accountants have been their clients’ essential, trusted advisors. Yet with the threat of business survival still at large, accountancy professionals need more support in managing admin-heavy tasks so they can focus on what matters most – helping clients and growing their business.

IRIS’ insights paper surveyed 200 senior accountants and their opinions on outsourcing. It found 42% of accountants associate outsourcing with negative connotations, with 68% saying that they have not considered outsourcing in the last 6–12 months — despite a rising demand for advisory-led services since the start of the pandemic.

However, the research further revealed that accountants would gladly use the extra time freed up by outsourcing to dedicate more time to work-life balance (45%), complete higher fee-earning work (33%), build client relationships (27%), and one in five (20%) would use it to focus on business advisory.

Clarity Accountants managing director Matthew Elliott said: “Accountancy is very traditional and value has always been found in the tangible reports created and delivered to clients. But now, there is new value to be found in relationships with customers and offering a better service. [By outsourcing] we’re not bogged down in compliance work, so we can focus on cross-selling services and increasing the value we bring to our clients.”

“Outsourcing gives us the bandwidth and capacity to scale the business. Without it, I don’t think we could have grown to the scale we have.”

IRIS Software managing director for accountancy Jim Scott said: “Firms must act smart. They have to be proficient with their time and proactive if they are to stay as the beating heart of British business. We need to break the stigma attached to outsourcing. It’s an efficient way for accountancy firms to resolve any talent gaps, extend practice services and reduce costs, all while increasing profits and margins and enabling them to scale at pace. To unlock these benefits, it’s time for accountants to hang up their hang ups around outsourcing.”

The insight guide, Growth and productivity: is outsourcing the answer? can be downloaded here.