Language brings us together but at the same time separates us.

It is estimated that there are over 6,000 languages spoken in the world. In today’s global business climate, companies do their best to reach all parts.

Most of us make sure that when we travel, we know the basics, like ordering a Big Mac, however when it comes to more complex transactions, such as outsourced accounting and bookkeeping services, one needs to be on the same page when it comes to language and accents. While some employees may have learned English and been trained in their areas in English, they may still not understand complicated financial lingo.

Dealing with a client’s profit and loss figures is way more important than a Big Mac, for sure. Effective communication is the key to successful collaboration.

Firms that outsource work abroad must be aware of these potential barriers.  The workers may be highly skilled in their areas, but if communication barriers are a problem, getting the work done correctly can be a complicated process, which means a value-add service now costs more money than originally intended.

What to do, What to do? When selecting a firm for outsourcing work, see how they have navigated this issue. Are they working with people who are fluent in English, both technically and in concept and formal accounting lingo? Ask if they have had problems resulting from communication problems. Honesty and transparency mean a successful collaboration.

Four tips that firms use around the world include: Selecting the right location, focusing on the culture within the language (always check for comprehension), Define the basics of your business (use screenshots, diagrams etc) and choose your communication medium effectively. Whether you are on the phone, Skype, Zoom and other online communication tools speak clearly and at a steady pace.

In most cases, the written word is also more powerful than the spoken word.

South Africa has been in the outsourcing game for some time. One may ask why South Africa vs other countries? Well, cultural affinity is a major factor. Cultural affinity can be defined as having a sense of attraction or a feeling of connectedness towards a certain culture.

South Africans and the British. South Africans and the Irish. South Africans and Americans. South Africans and Australians. The list goes on and on. Of course, similar time zones are a big plus factor to ensure work is rolled out consistently and smoothly.

South Africa also has an established infrastructure with a large skilled talent pool, with English as a first language and a weaker currency, thus a true value-add business offering when it comes to back-office accounting services.