The Praxity Alliance working groups are a powerful way for member firms to share their experience and expertise together.
Organised on a volunteer basis, the groups have two elements. Each group has a committee who volunteer to organise and lead the group, along with attendees who attend meetings as and when they can. The firms involved help to guide each other on best practice, advising and finding solutions. Senior leadership from Praxity Alliance member firms meet remotely and face-to-face throughout the year, discussing matters relating to their companies, sector and the industry at large. These groups help underline the connectivity and interfacing between Alliance member firms and demonstrate the value of working collectively.
Each member of the working groups brings valuable knowledge that contributes to the progress of the entire Alliance, from client service to the challenges encountered in cross-border business.
The Outsourcing Working Group comes out of an idea hatched in 2022. Remote working had become widespread and pervasive. New ways to work meant new opportunities and pitfalls, and while each firm would have their own particular concerns, there was a collective experience that could be shared and utilised. Outsourcing is a broad and expanding area, with many member firms relying on other organisations to meet their regular business needs. Guiding each other on best practice can help to avoid and manage common problems, as well as finding the best ways of approaching any given area.
One of the most important early challenges of the Outsourcing Group has been to narrow the scope and to make their purview more accurate – there is an argument that almost anything is outsourcing, and the group aims to keep a handle on what is relevant and material to their firms’ operations. The group meets to discuss relevant areas and new developments, with meetings being open and informal in nature. Additional face-to-face meetings take place at the Praxity conferences, highlighting the importance of the events as powerful networking opportunities. The group is global in scope, encompassing mainly representatives from the European and Asian regions. From thought leadership, to regulation and best practice, the working group brings fresh ideas and solutions, with members supporting each other's methods.
Jill Morris, partner at PM+M and chair of the outsourcing working group, points to a great deal of change in recent times, with rapid digitalisation and a shift to cloud-based accounting. This creates opportunities for flexible work, as well as dangers that need to be mitigated. The group leverages each member’s experience to address these challenges, whether they relate to software and technology, or in finding appropriate partners for servicing clients.
Finding similarities and differences in approach between Europe and the Asia-Pacific region are instructive for the group, as Jill explains -
“The speed of digitalisation in the industry, led by Asia-Pacific regions, means that the group has the benefit of global expertise to draw on. We try and gain a regional perspective of how members are succeeding and solving challenges, even on the other side of the world.”
In its short lifespan, the group has already experienced success in referring international clients across jurisdictions and finding fellow members who are a good fit for their clients in different countries. Group members are currently working on building a referrals process, making cross-border work ever simpler and more accessible.
The group also seeks to put a spotlight on how firms are addressing the evolving challenges, what areas they are finding innovations in and what technical platforms they are relying on. This helps to provide a resource that all firms can refer to in terms of how best to approach outsourcing.
Gaining expertise from North America is a current aim, in order to deepen the knowledge base and experience. The group’s usefulness across territories is already very apparent, even less than a year from its conception. Group contributors are hugely positive about how the working group has eased challenges and sparked opportunities around outsourcing, with interfacing between Alliance members proving easy and flexible.
Whether a member firm has a particular area they feel they need support in, they feel they have something to add to the conversation, or they simply want to expand their network, the working groups are a powerful tool. Praxity Alliance member firms continue to help each other toward being the best that they can be, sharing solutions and minimising difficulty in all areas of operation.