Is Offshore Outsourcing a Threat?

By Williams, Kathy | Strategic Finance, July 2004 | Go to article overview

Is Offshore Outsourcing a Threat?


Williams, Kathy, Strategic Finance


YES, BUT MORE FOR THE U.S. ECONOMY THAN FOR THEMSELVES, 66% OF THE 2,814 U.S. workers polled recently by Hudson professional staffing, outsourcing, and human capital firm said. In fact, 84% of the respondents believe that their jobs won't be moved offshore. And even the 15% who said their jobs could be exported are optimistic about their own prospects. About half said their next job will be better than their current one, and almost 60% think their companies are more likely to outsource jobs to U.S. companies and entrepreneurs rather than overseas to achieve cost savings and reduce payrolls.

Hudson says that there was a stark contrast in attitudes among manufacturing and service workers. Thirty-three percent of manufacturing workers said their jobs could be exported, while only 11% of service workers thought that. Also, half of the respondents advocate government penalties for companies sending jobs offshore.

The company also publishes the Hudson Employment Index, a monthly measure of workers' confidence in the employment market.

Are You Still Using Spreadsheets to Budget?

If you answered, yes, you have a lot of company. When they conducted their latest budgeting and planning study, Ventana Research found that, of the 779 executives who participated in the survey, 64% still do their annual budgeting with spreadsheets, 21% use a dedicated budgeting and planning software application, 11% use an accounting application from their enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, and 4% use a variety of other methods. In a quick poll of participants on a webcast where the findings were released, the results were almost the same. Robert Kugel, VP and research director for Ventana Research, did say, though, that dedicated applications are becoming more prevalent in larger companies, particularly those with 10,000 or more employees.

Regarding how often they budget, annually still is the norm for all companies, regardless of size, with 62% reporting this way. Sixteen percent of the respondents do a rolling quarters budget, 13% budget quarterly, and 9% are on a different schedule. Yet 69% review the financials monthly; 18%, quarterly; 8%, weekly; 3%, annually; and 2%, never. Who sets the budgets? Most (61%) use a collaborative process in which the budgets are handed down from the top, then department managers provide their input, and then an agreement is reached. Regarding other ways, 19% use a top-down method where top management sets the budget, and 18% start from the bottom up.

When asked if they were satisfied with the budgeting process, most respondents answered "no," mainly because they thought the process wasn't accurate, took too much time, didn't let them spot problems fast enough, and didn't let them drill down in real time to resolve issues. As a result, 71% said they plan to change the process in the next year or two, while 29% said they were happy with current procedures. …

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