At least two New Zealand accountancy firms, including Polson Higgs, have been progressively outsourcing back-office accounting to India, taking advantage of cheaper labour and different time zones.
Polson Higgs chief executive Graham Crombie said the move to India, which began two years ago, was an increasing trend among New Zealand firms, particularly in the South Island where many were struggling with the brain-drain of mid-level accountants overseas.
"I think we are one of the first but a lot of people are looking at it," Stuff.co.nz quoted Crombie, as saying.
Polson Higgs has 120 staff in Christchurch and Dunedin and seven chartered accountants in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, doing low-level accounting work.
All the work was done over a secure Internet portal and nothing physical was sent to India, Crombie said.
The outsourcing to India had not cost New Zealand jobs, he said, claiming no-one had been made redundant and the firm continued to hire New Zealand graduates.
Auckland firm Gilligan Sheppard has also out-sourced back-office accounting to India in the past three years and has started offering the service directly to small-scale rural accounting firms through a related company, Connect Accounting.
Partner Bruce Sheppard said while outsourcing could mean job losses in New Zealand, at his firm it had freed up accountants to spend more strategic time with clients rather than crunching numbers.