Tax & Accounting Blog

5 tips to unlock the value of outsourcing and ensure a successful vendor / client relationship

Blog, ONESOURCE May 7, 2015

In today’s fast past, technologically savvy and innovative world, it is more important than ever to find resources that extract maximum value.  As such, outsourcing has become an integral part of a company’s strategy and key to success.

Outsourcing provides opportunities to leverage external expertise and quality services at a reduced cost, freeing up internal resources to focus on growth and the big picture. However, without a healthy vendor / client relationship, organizations are at risk of not getting the services they require and at a premium cost to the business.

Darrell Granahan, the Senior Director of Implementation of Tax Information Reporting Technology at Thomson Reuters, works closely with customers to help them leverage technology as effectively and efficiently as possible. This is especially critical in this changing regulatory environment where companies are faced with challenges of tax information reporting like ACA and other new tax reporting requirements. Before Granahan joined Thomson Reuters, he was a customer himself so he brings a unique perspective to the job.

Here he shares his best practices and his experiences from working on the client side and the vendor side with 5 ways to unlock the value of outsourcing and ensure a successful vendor / client relationship:

Understand your needs:  Understand what your company needs, and what you want to outsource and why. Is it because of the new regulatory requirement or because it’s not your company’s core competency? Either way, it’s essential to first understand the requirements you must adhere to, and then determine if a third party can act in your best interest.

Cut the guest list: When you’re not sure how to tackle a project, it’s just natural to involve a gaggle of people from every department in effort to put a plan together. But, resources are expensive so consider having just a few key stakeholders from the client side and the vendor side at the table. Involving a bunch of people can result in a lengthy debate when difficult questions comes up, and you may not want to do that in front of a vendor or a client.

Set milestones and manage to them: If a project is complicated and multi-faceted, break it up into priority segments. Multi-tasking is an enviable skill, but not necessarily when trying to manage a complicated or multidimensional project. When possible, consider handling the tasks in a series versus everything in parallel. By trying to do everything at once, you are stretching the resources thin and mistakes are inevitable. Focus, take one task at a time and watch success unfold.

Establish a partnership: Successful implementation is based on both the client and vendor effectively communicating their needs and capabilities. The objective is the same for both parties: implement successfully, quickly and efficiently. It’s imperative to create a shared vision of success and revisit it as the partnership evolves. A mismatched understanding puts even simple implementations at serious risk. Everyone has a vested interest so it only makes sense to partner up and work together.

Follow the leader: Establish a leader on both sides of the partnership. Identify a single point of contact on the vendor side so you know who is responsible for the success of the organization’s program. By the same token, select a team leader or project manager on the client side to manage each vendor. Checking in with frequent phone calls and site visits to solicit feedback bolsters confidence in the vendor and lets them know they’re part of the team.

With globalization, clients today have more at stake than they did even a few years ago. To compete in this new world, vendors are continuously evolving with more sophisticated services and solutions. Understanding and managing the client-vendor relationship increases the success of your investment. As an added bonus, a constructive client-vendor relationship can remove stress, lower costs, and create efficiencies for your organization.

For tips on how to implement a successful ACA solution, check out this webinar on understanding ACA compliance challenges.

How do you sort through all the choices and find the right vendor for your ACA compliance reporting needs? Thomson Reuters offers essential questions to ask vendors to help you choose software and services that will meet all your Affordable Care Act compliance reporting needs.