OFFSHORE staffing may appear to be undermining the local employment market, but one Gold Coast company is defying popular opinion by showing it's the best way to grow business and create more skilled jobs.

AMBS Solutions, a Robina-based business offering overseas employment opportunities, says while in the past offshoring has been seen as a way to cut costs, businesses are now embracing offshoring as a way to expand their business in today's resource-constrained economic environment.

Latest research undertaken by MicroSourcing backs this up, suggesting the main motive of 69 per cent of Aussie SMEs using offshore staffing was to expand their team, while 80 per cent of SMEs maintained or grew the size of their Australian workforce since they began offshoring.

The founder and managing director of AMBS, Airlie Maclachlan, says SMEs that engage in offshore staffing can save up to 75 per cent of total costs of setting up a new staff member.

"Offshoring allows for affordable growth without expansion of facilities, fixed costs, and capital outlays in your existing structure," says Maclachlan.

"Managers of SMEs are able to relinquish time consuming process-driven tasks, allowing local staff to focus on the core operations of the business.

"Ultimately, by engaging a staff member in a different country to do the tasks associated with a business, including administration and data entry, you can spend time on staff development in-house and employ additional staff locally for more demanding roles."

Traditionally thought of as call centres and IT help desks, offshore staffing is occurring in a broad range of business activities, including chartered accounting, book-keeping, payroll, graphic design, web development, and paralegals.

Common regions for offshoring include India, South Africa and Malaysia, however all AMBS staff are sought from the Philippines.

Maclachlan describes the Philippines as the optimum location for offshore workforces and says Australia and the Philippines share many cultural similarities.

"It is the third-largest English speaking country in the world and boasts a 94 per cent English literacy rate, and a great talent pool of specialists in their fields," she says.

"We work with businesses to handpick an employee and continue working with them to ensure a working relationship is established and maintained."

Ross Beames, from DPR Accountants and Advisers, sought the recruitment skills of AMBS and now has a Philippines staff member who is contacted daily from the Australian office through Skype.

The staff member assists with all areas of chartered accounting including developing models, data entry and review of data, however does not deal directly with clients.

"We had an immediate need for a new staff member and we felt the cost value proposition was quite attractive," says Beames.

"Certainly the candidate AMBS put forward had been vetted and screened quite thoroughly and we were more than pleased with the candidate and resources we received.

"It has ultimately allowed us to complete work on time, on budget and within deadline from a smaller resource base located here in Australia."

Through offshoring, Beames is now expanding its offering to clients in Australia.

"We are now pulling together a business proposition for our clients to take over their bookkeeping and data processing requirements where we take sole responsibility for that work, however a large chunk of that processing and repetitive work is done by the offshore staff," he says.

Beames previously tried an offshore solution in Vietnam through his previous business which was unsuccessful.

"The time difference and also the language skills combined with the professional competencies and experience (in the Philippines), means we are getting a much better product by using them for tasks that they are well equipped and well experienced and well versed in," he says.

"We have found that by using offshoring for the right type of task and the right type of process and with the right type of oversight and tutorage from resources here in Australia, we are getting a much better solution."

Picture: Airlie Maclachlan (front left) with AMBS Client Services Manager Aleah Corbern (front right) and some of their overseas team

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