The Accounting Professional and Ethical Standards Board (APESB) is looking to help professional accountants manage the various risks associated with outsourcing through new management guidelines.
The group said its APES GN 30 Outsourced Services paper is a response to the rapid rise in professional services being outsourced in Australia.
While outsourcing offers a range of benefits, such as staff utilisation on core activities, access to specialised skills and lower costs, APESB chair, Kate Spargo, warned it also comes with plenty of potential risk.
Areas addressed in the new guide include disclosure to clients, confidentiality of client information, integrity of information transferred between professional accountants and the outsourced service provider, and control and supervision of the work performed.
The guidelines were devised following a consultation period last year, which saw APESB receive submissions from accounting bodies, major accounting firms and industry stakeholders. An area of particular concern was the benefits of disclosing outsourcing arrangements to clients, which APESB recommends accountants tackle by getting permission from customers first.
“Following the consultation and development process, the APESB is confident that GN 30 provides a sound point of reference to consider the key matters that professional accountants should consider when they are involved in outsourcing activities or when developing service-level agreements for these activities,” Spargo said.
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