Upskilling and Offshoring: A Journey in the Accounting Industry

Upskilling refers to the process of developing new skills or enhancing existing ones to remain competitive in the job market. According to a recent report by the World Economic Forum, over half of all jobs will require significant reskilling or upskilling by 2025.

Offshoring, on the other hand, involves the relocation of business processes or operations to a foreign country, typically to reduce costs and improve efficiency. The accounting industry is one of the largest offshoring industries, with over $100 billion in annual revenue.

The accounting industry is rapidly evolving, and upskilling and offshoring have become essential for organizations to stay competitive. This article explores the topic through the lens of Vibhu Khanna, a senior manager at Entigrity Private Limited, a company that specializes in staffing for clients in the US, Canada, and the UK.

Understanding the Practice

The practice of upskilling and offshoring CPAs is something that has been happening for about 30 years now. Big accounting companies like KPMG, EY, Deloitte, and Grant Thornton have set up services where they hire skilled accountants who work from a different location, usually in another country. These skilled professionals help out accounting firms in the United States by working on tasks remotely. This way, they can have a larger team of accountants without having everyone in the same physical office. It's like having a virtual team of accountants to support the work.

Talent Selection and Development

When companies decide to upskill their employees for specific roles, the first important step is choosing the right people for the job. Each company have certain criteria or requirements that candidates must meet to ensure they're a good fit for the role.

In this case, for jobs related to accounting and working with clients from Western countries, there are two main criteria:

1. Proficiency in English: Being good at English is very important because these professionals need to talk and communicate effectively with clients who primarily speak English. Good communication is key to understanding and meeting the needs of these clients.

2. Accounting Knowledge: Candidates are also evaluated on their understanding of accounting principles and concepts. This evaluation ensures that they have a strong foundation in accounting, which is crucial for their work.

Benefits for Indian Professionals:

For people in India who are considering a career in accounting that involves working with companies abroad, there are some really good advantages:

1. Competitive Starting Salaries: These jobs often offer competitive starting salaries, which means you can earn a good income right from the beginning of your career.

2. Global Exposure: You get to work with clients and companies from all around the world. This exposure to different cultures and business practices can be very valuable and enriching.

3. Industry Growth Opportunities: The field of accounting is growing, and there are many opportunities for career advancement. As you gain experience and expertise, you can move up the career ladder and take on more challenging roles.

Overcoming Hurdles on the Upskilling Path

In the process of upskilling employees and managing diverse teams, organizations often face several challenges. However, some companies, like Entigrity, have devised effective strategies to address these issues and ensure a smoother transition and better team dynamics. Let's explore how they tackle these challenges.

Reducing Drop-Off Rates

The upskilling process presents its share of challenges, but organizations like Entigrity have implemented strategies to minimize dropout rates. Comprehensive onboarding programs, running for about three months, expedite the transition. Offices across India offer convenience for candidates, further reducing drop-off rates.

Building Trust in Diverse Teams

Managing diverse teams across locations, particularly in HR roles, requires transparency, empathy, clear communication, cultural sensitivity, and proactive issue resolution. These principles foster trust and assurance within the team.

Fostering Belonging and Ownership

Creating a sense of belonging, commitment, and ownership among newcomers is crucial. Strategies include clear communication of the organization's mission, support and mentorship, empowerment to take ownership, regular feedback and recognition, and learning opportunities.

Effective Communication and Difficult Conversations

Effective communication is essential for building and maintaining strong relationships, both in the workplace and in personal life. It is especially important when having difficult conversations, such as when you need to give someone negative feedback or address a conflict.

Managing Difficult Conversations:

When you have to talk about tough or uncomfortable things with someone at work, whether you're a regular worker or a leader, it's important to do it in a kind and honest way. This means showing understanding and being clear about what you're saying.

For example, if you have to tell a junior worker something they might not like, it's crucial to try to see things from their point of view. This helps you talk to them in a way that they can understand and accept.

The Role of HR in Upskilling:

HR (Human Resources) professionals are like the people in a company who take care of the employees. When it comes to helping employees learn new skills, HR plays a really big role.

They do this by making sure that employees have opportunities to develop themselves and learn new things. They also encourage everyone in the company to keep learning and growing. HR people also use technology to make learning easier and more effective.

Technological Advancements and Industry-Wide Upskilling

In today's fast-changing work world, fancy technologies like AI and chatbots are changing how businesses work. HR folks are the ones leading the way to use these cool technologies for teaching new skills. Let's talk about why HR is so important in this tech makeover.

The Impact of Emerging Technologies:

  • Emerging technologies like AI and chatbots are reshaping industries.

  • AI allows machines to learn and make decisions like humans.

  • Chatbots can have lifelike conversations with people.

  • These technologies are not science fiction; they're real and happening now.

  • They have the potential to bring significant changes to how we work.

  • Workers need to learn new skills to adapt to these high-tech changes.

HR's Role in Tech Integration:

  • HR professionals are crucial in using technology for employee learning and growth.

  • They act as guardians of technology in the workplace.

  • HR needs to have a good understanding of technology basics.

  • They provide guidance and support to employees navigating tech tools.

  • HR plays the role of a mentor in the digital age, making technology part of the learning process.

Identifying Skills and Implementing Change

When it comes to getting better at work, there are two important things to do. First, we need to figure out which skills we need to improve. Second, we should start using new and better tools. These steps help us keep up with the changing world of work.

Identifying Skills for Upskilling:

In the world of upskilling, the first step is to figure out which skills need improvement. Here's how it's done:

  • Internal Assessments: This means taking a good look at the skills of the people already working in the company. It's like checking what you're good at and where you might need to get better.

  • Client Requirements: Sometimes, the clients (the companies you work for) have specific things they need from your employees. To meet these needs, you have to identify the skills required.

  • Monitoring Industry Trends: Industries change over time. It's important to keep an eye on what's happening in your industry. This way, you can see what skills are becoming more important because of these changes.

Transitioning to Efficient Tools and Integrating Emerging Technologies:

Now, imagine you have some new, super-efficient tools to work with, but they're not the usual ones you're used to. Here's how you make this transition work:

  • Training: It's like learning how to use a new gadget. You need training to understand how these new tools work and how they can make your work better and faster.

  • Ensuring Client Benefits: When you start using these new tools, it's not just for fun. You want to make sure your clients benefit from it too. It's like having a new cooking recipe that's faster and tastier. You want to make sure the meal is not only quicker but also more delicious for your customers.


To sum it up, upskilling and offshoring in accounting is like a big journey. It involves picking the right people, solving problems, talking well, and using cool technology. If we understand and handle these things, we can do great in the accounting world and keep being successful.

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