Accounting outsourcing to accounting automation : How Indian outsourcing industry is moving up the value chain

In the 90’s India emerged as the world’s preferred destination for IT & Business Process Outsourcing service centres. Global companies established partnerships with their Indian service providers or set up their own offshore centres across India initially targeting metros like Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad & Delhi.

Within no time, second tier cities like Ahmedabad, Coimbatore, Chandigarh and Mysuru also became active BPO centres creating 1000’s of IT and BPO jobs.This trend has continued for the next 3 decades, thanks to the availability of skilled manpower, lower cost and economies of scale.

Call centres and English accent training centres sprung up everywhere and so did the food joints & cab services which helped transport employees who worked during the US, Europe and Australia time zones. The Indian IT and BPO industry created millions of new job opportunities and the Indian cities thrived with new and vibrant economic activity.

India started as a low-cost manpower supplying centre, but within a couple of decades, India now has evolved into an innovation hub with world-class Saas and IT product centres. India currently boasts of 45+ unicorn companies – all in the year 2021 and the numbers are expected to rise for 2022. India is now positioning itself to be the innovation hub for IT, Saas solutions, Robotics, and Drones, to name a few. It is also a well-known fact that India-born CEOs and tech spearheads are leading many global corporations.

The transformation of BPO industry

The Indian Business Process Outsourcing industry mainly supplied manpower to handle repetitive back office tasks, customer enquiries, arranging fulfillments, data processing, insurance claims processing, bookkeeping and accounting to name a few. However, the rising labour costs in India, challenges from other low cost offshore centres and new technologies such as robotic process automation is deemed a threat to the sustenance of the Indian BPO industry.

To counter these challenges, Indian BPO companies are trying to find new ways to add value to their customers. For example, Integra Global Solutions, a Coimbatore based BPO company who specialise in accounting outsourcing has now evolved from being an accounting outsourcing provider to accounting automation provider.

Automation, bots, RPA and digital transformation are now buzzwords in global corporate circles. As the western world is now heading towards recession, corporations are finding new ways to cut labour costs and run a lean operation without affecting their productivity and service levels.

“Accounting robots need not be a technology that only large companies can use. Our bot solutions are affordable even for solo accounting practitioners. Clients who use our bots have seen a tremendous improvement in their operations”

Bots can run 24/7/365 and at a cost of one-third of the amount that is spent on a staff member in the USA, it not only helps accounting firms to move forward with technology but can also cut costs. In addition to cutting costs, bots are also highly accurate when doing repetitive tasks, eliminating errors. Bots can perform most tasks including bookkeeping, post journal entries, auto-retrieving statements from portals, monitoring emails and extracting information from it, and reconciliation. They can also work on payroll, accounts payable, tax, audit, accounts receivable and other accounting tasks.

The cost of compliance operations in the financial services & accounting alone is estimated to be nearly $270 billion per year. This automation technology is expected to cut compliance costs drastically while increasing the accuracy and speed of the work.

In simple terms, automation (bots) use robotic process automation technologies combined with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to automate tasks that mimic human actions. Accounting robot automation is still a relatively new concept, but it is gaining significant popularity because it can be used to automate repetitive, tedious, and monotonous tasks, which is a plenty in the accounting industry.

Accounting automation is here to stay. In the coming years, a strategy consulting firm predicts, machines and software bots will perform 10% to 25% of finance-related tasks. Banks, financial institutions, and accounting firms around the world are already adopting it and automation is also revolutionising other industries such as hospitality, healthcare and logistics. The Indian BPO industry, just like its counterpart in IT, is now working on creating value added automation solutions in their space.

When viewed differently, and adopted correctly, robotic process automation will no longer be a threat and instead will be an opportunity for the Indian BPO industry. It is also poised to generate tremendous new opportunities for experts who are skilled in robotic process automation.


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