Back office jobs are typically the accounting, finance, and human resource departments of a business, but the term can apply to any department that supports other operations.
Having a back office is essential for businesses of any size. It streamlines workflow, increases efficiency and enables more focus on growing the company instead of merely keeping it running.
To have an effective back office means having processes in place that create accountability and ensure consistency across every department.
A back office also helps you cut costs by centralizing services and reducing duplicate efforts across departments. These benefits come from choosing a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) partner to handle your back-end operations so you can focus on the things that drive your business forward instead of wasting time on things like HR, accounting and even IT tasks.
First, determine what your business requirements are for outsourcing back office operations. It’s important to evaluate whether your current processes are broken, if you have the bandwidth to fix them or if you could benefit from outsourcing the work altogether. No two businesses are exactly alike. The best way to determine if BPO makes sense for your business is by reviewing your current processes and productivity metrics, determining which are working as intended and which are not, then deciding if outsourcing a particular function makes more sense than fixing it in-house. In many cases, businesses find that certain functions don’t need to be fixed but rather outsourced altogether. If your company is already outsourcing certain functions, it might be worth exploring if a partner can take on additional operations that are currently being handled in-house. You may not even realize you’re overloading certain departments or that certain functions aren’t being performed well because they’re not being performed by the right people.
When choosing a BPO partner, you need to determine which back-end operations make the most sense to outsource. This can be done by mapping your current processes and determining which ones are the most time-consuming or resource-intensive. Once you’ve determined which processes to outsource, it’s important to consider the different BPO services that are available. For example, you may choose to outsource your accounts payable function but keep your accounts receivable process in-house. You may also decide to outsource back-end operations you currently outsource to another BPO partner. In some cases, it might make even more sense to consolidate operations between two BPO partners. This gives you greater access to an expanded talent pool and the ability to manage operations across two providers to optimize workflow.
Finding the right BPO partner can be a challenge, and it’s important to do your research when deciding on a partner. First, determine which BPO services are best for your company (see above). Next, look for BPO providers that specialize in those services. You’re likely to find that many providers offer a variety of services and can help you with multiple operations. When evaluating BPO providers, it’s important to consider things like their track record and references, the quality of their services and how they’ve delivered on similar engagements in the past. You’ll also want to assess the overall cost and terms of the engagement so you can determine how BPO will impact your company’s bottom line.
There are times when outsourcing back office operations doesn’t make sense, but this is the exception rather than the rule. One example of when outsourcing doesn’t make sense is if your company is heavily regulated or has special compliance requirements, such as government agencies or financial institutions. In these cases, it may not be possible to outsource certain functions due to compliance or legal concerns. For example, if your company is required to keep certain records on-site, it might not be possible to outsource your records management function. Another example of when outsourcing doesn’t make sense is when you’re trying to grow your company quickly and require more hands on deck. This can happen when a company is experiencing rapid growth and needs to hire new employees to keep up with demand. In these cases, it might make more sense to hire additional employees than to outsource certain operations.
The bottom line is that outsourcing back-office operations makes sense for most businesses. It frees up internal resources, streamlines workflow and enables more focus on growing the company instead of merely keeping it running.
When choosing a BPO partner, you want to make sure they have experience in your industry and with the specific operations you’re outsourcing. You also want to make sure they can provide quality service on a consistent basis and meet all compliance requirements.