Best Practices in using an Outsourced Transaction Advisory Services Function

August 5, 2023
Alex Mich
Global Head of Transaction Advisory

1. Make them part of the team

Think project-oriented rather than task-oriented. Based on feedback from outsourced team members, employee empowerment can be achieved through constantly challenging them and giving them a larger portion of the project to take on. Avoid the temptation to micromanage and focus on where you can add value. Seek to not limit outsourced team members to merely reformatting a databook or report. Include them in meetings, both internal and external. In addition to empowerment, they will be better equipped to understand target risks, client requirements as well as any nuances and particularities of the transaction. This will provide benefits for the current deal as well as future ones.

2. Clearly define project scope, objectives and expectations

It is crucial to clearly define the scope, objectives and expectations of the project and all team members at the outset of the project. Include outsourced personnel into the planning discussion so they know the scope, project risks, client expectations, timeline and plan of attack for the project. Outline the specific transactions, accounts and risks pertinent to the client and identify the key areas that require evaluation. Translate these into precise expectations, roles and responsibilities specifically aimed at each team member (both internal and outsourced). Defining and communicating clearly upfront will help align the outsourced team's efforts with your goals.

3. Communication is key

Clear and open communication with the outsourced team is vital throughout the engagement. Establish efficient communication channels, including regular meetings, video conferences, and email correspondence. Ensure that both parties are aligned on the frequency and format of updates and reporting. Review previously designated specific responsibilities during updates, promoting successes, providing guidance and course-correcting where necessary. Be aware that different cultures, languages, style of learning, previous guidance from superiors and backgrounds may influence written and verbal communication as well as analytic or technical capabilities. Designate a point of contact within your organization who can liaise with the outsourced team, provide necessary information, and address any queries or concerns promptly. Precision and specificity in the written word becomes increasingly important when utilizing different time zones. Miscommunication may result in lost precious time waiting for a suitable time for a call.

4. Utilize time zones to your advantage

Access to a global talent pool allows the benefit of multiple time zones. This can be burdensome when utilized incorrectly and when used properly, can achieve a level of efficiency that cannot be attained from one time zone alone. Consider well the geographies and levels of each of the members of the team and the pros and cons this will bring.

One key consideration is maximizing overlapping hours to schedule key internal, client or target calls to ensure all team members are present. This ensures a reduction in inefficiencies in reexplanation of concepts covered on calls. If possible, utilize junior-level resources in distant time zones (e.g. India or South Africa for US-based deals) as their tasks generally entail more databook building, simple report writing or items requiring less collaboration. For example, allowing the buildout of the databook in one time zone and the subsequent review in another can take advantage of the full 24 hours within a day. It is worth reiterating the importance of perfecting your ability to write clearly and concisely so tasks are easily understood to minimize rework. Additionally, seek to maintain senior project members in closer time zones (e.g. LATAM for US-based deals) to ensure they are readily available during scheduled and ad-hoc calls with the client or target. Finally, do not assume that team members in other time zones will always be available; doing so can lead to animosity among team members as well as burnout.

5. Administrative and security matters

Transaction and advisory services involve sensitive and confidential information. Ensure that the outsourced team follows robust data security protocols to protect the confidentiality and integrity of the data provided. Implement non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to legally protect sensitive information and establish confidentiality expectations. Regularly assess the outsourcing partner's data security practices to ensure compliance with industry standards and regulatory requirements. Use protected tools and platforms such as datasites or Sharepoint rather than gmail or dropbox for data sharing.

It is not uncommon to give outsourced team members email addresses of the accounting/consulting firm. This white labeling is generally favorable for IT security, but also reinforces the accounting/consulting firm brand and team cohesion when represented to the client.

Ensure direct communication between the firm and outsourced team regarding hours to ensure there are no surprises as the project advances.


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