Automate parts of the advice process and you’re praised for working smarter, not harder.

It is widely accepted that businesses need to embrace technology to streamline processes, drive efficiencies and increase their capacity to help more people, yet the idea of hiring people offshore to support advisers and free them up to see more clients often attracts a mixed reaction.

While it is considered innovative and progressive to train computers and machines to do a person’s job, it’s often deemed risky and, sometimes, unpatriotic to outsource work to highly-skilled people in neighbouring regions.

Not surprisingly, the topic of offshoring is trending again, as local businesses struggle to find suitable people.

However, for those prepared to look outside Australia, talent is everywhere. Just ask the growing number of Australian advice businesses that employ people in countries like the Phillipines in administration, paraplanning and client service roles.

All signs point to an acceleration of this trend.

Firstly, Australian talent is expensive, if you can get it.

There may not be a global skills shortage but there is a local war for talent.

According to recruitment agency Robert Half, 93 per cent of Australian business leaders estimate they are paying a 19 per cent premium on starting salaries to secure talent. In addition to pressure on margins, this is causing pay inequality and rising tensions between new and existing employees, with some incumbent staff being paid less, despite their tenure and experience.

Secondly, there is an abundance of ambitious, university-educated, English-speaking workers in culturally-similar regions who are suitably-qualified and experienced to perform key support roles.

Furthermore, since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, flexible work has become the norm, making it far more acceptable for people to work remotely exclusively.

For many advice businesses offshoring is the solution to their short-term and long-term talent management challenges. It is enabling them to drive efficiencies, deliver a better client experience and accelerate growth.

Where things have historically gone awry is when businesses have treated outsourcing purely as cost cutting exercise or hired the wrong skillset for the wrong role.

At the turn of the century, when technological advancements led to an increase in telephone and digital connections, financial institutions, telcos and other large companies seized an opportunity to outsource their call centre operations to countries like India in order to reduce labour costs, increase profits and boost shareholder returns.