The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) joined hands with Sri Lanka Association of Software and Services Association (SLASSCOM) to publish an industry report titled Sri Lanka Finance and Accounting Outsourcing (FAO) Sector in Sri Lanka.

Dynamic global environment has had an increasing number of businesses which are turning towards global outsourcing not only as a means to curtail costs but to capitalize on globalizing operations and transforming processes. This has lead to a rapid transformation taking place in the global BPO market and finance and accounting are expected to be one of the fastest growing service lines.

Mr.Madu Ratnayake Chairman of SLASSCOM stated “While cost advantages remain a deciding factor in the global outsourcing landscape, the availability of a skilled workforce is paramount. Sri Lanka offer a very high quality finance and accounting talent pool with superior work ethics ideal for higher end financial analytics related work. Many global players such as WNS, HSBC, RR Donnely, Amba Research, Firstsource etc have set up their operations in Sri Lanka to leverage the unique advantage Sri Lanka offers in Finance and Accounting Outsourcing. Sri Lanka was also recently named the Outsourcing Destination of the Year by National Outsourcing Association in UK. ”

He added that “the local FAO industry has grown steadily over the years and is expected to grow by at least 37% in 2013. Industry players along with the Government have embarked on a program to promote the country’s service capabilities and position Sri Lanka as a well recognized FAO destination.“

SLASSCOM estimates, staff presently engaged in FAO operations in the country approximate 2,000 individuals. Ratnayake further explained that “The FAO industry workforce is highly educated with an estimated 78% of the current workforce either fully or partly qualified in finance or accounting related disciplines. A large number of the present workforce comprise of employees below the age of 30 and included a balanced ratio of both male and female employees. The aggregate pool of fully qualified accounting professionals in Sri Lanka (including accounting technicians) is estimated to be around 25,000 and Sri Lanka is fast emerging as a top destination for ‘FAO services'.

Mr.Virendra Perera, Chief Operating Officer of Brandix Mercury Asia, the Shared Services Centre of the Brandix Group of companies, pointed out that “whilst the FAO industry had previously been more focused on functional and piecemeal aspects of the business, trends in finance and accounting outsourcing indicate a growing practice of outsourcing end to end finance solutions, focusing on selected areas of specialization. Sri Lankan’s have also been widely recognized for their soft skills and are therefore much sought after by international employers for their strong interpersonal skills, adaptability and commitment. All these have given us a clear competitive edge. Hence many well known global companies have already established their outsourcing centre’s in Sri Lanka. Even local conglomerates such as John Keells, Aitken Spence, Hayleys , Hemas and Brandix have taken note of such market opportunities and have also established outsourcing operations in this sphere. “

Sri Lanka has been featured in a number of international studies as a promising destination for outsourcing services. Global consulting firm, AT Kearney has ranked Sri Lanka amongst the Top 20 outsourcing destinations in their Global Services Location Index Report. Infrastructure facilities, direct access to the Indian market, high standards of the work force, competitive salary scales ,open economy and various free trade agreements have also made Sri Lanka an attractive outsourcing destination.

Ms.Nilusha Ranasinghe , Head of ACCA Sri Lanka stated that “ACCA Sri Lanka is very happy to collaborate with SLASSCOM in launching this report. We strongly believe that there are many areas we can work together in taking the FAO sector forward and in promoting this sector to create new opportunities for our country”.