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IRIS study: Outsourcing accounts still has a negative connotation

By Karolina Skinner
27 August 2021

A third (34%) of UK accountants do not trust that outsourcing accounts is done correctly or to a high enough standard, according to research from IRIS Software Group, a provider of accountancy software and services. Furthermore, 42% of accountants associate outsourcing accounts with negative connotations, with 68% saying that they haven’t considered it in the last 6-12 months – despite a rising demand for advisory-led services since the beginning of the pandemic. 

The research revealed that many accountants are reluctant to outsource certain elements of their role due to what the software company deems as out-of-date assumptions. IRIS’ latest insights paper surveyed 200 senior accountants and their opinions on outsourcing.

However, one in five accountants would use the extra time freed up by outsourcing to focus on business advisory. 

Matthew Elliott, Managing Director at Clarity Accountants, commented on the findings, "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."

Before Covid-19, 24% of accountancy firms surveyed were planning on hiring extra staff to help ease the workload.

Jim Scott, MD for accountancy at IRIS Software said: "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."

About IRIS Software Group

With a head office in Langley, Slough, IRIS Software Group is a global provider of software and services.

IRIS provides finance, productivity, engagement, HR, and payroll software solutions and services for accountancy firms, businesses, and educational organisations.

IRIS has over 100,000 global customers with 80% having a tenure of five or more years. The company's software is used by 21,000 UK accountancy practices, including 90 of the top 100 firms; IRIS is the largest third-party online filer with the UK Government. Over 6m employees globally, including one in five of the UK’s workforce, are paid by IRIS payroll offerings. More than 850,000 UK employees are managed by IRIS HR solutions. Over 12,000 UK schools and academies use IRIS.