By Patricia B. Mirasol, Reporter

Heads of global outsourcing firms agreed that the Philippines remains a “favored destination” as they outlined the pandemic’s positive outcomes at the 2022 Asia CEO Forum.

“There’s plenty of growth opportunity,” said Nick Sinclair, founder of TOA Global, an Australia-headquartered company that supplies offshore professionals, including from the Philippines, to over 600 accounting firms worldwide.

“I think for everyone in this industry — particularly if you’re an accountant — the future is very bright,” he said at the March 24 event, noting that a lot of accounting firms are not run as effectively as they could be. “Technology is going to allow us a more human connection and have a bigger impact to small businesses globally.”

TOA Global, which has more than 2,000 team members in the Philippines, has a 10-year vision of increasing that number to 20,000. It plans to launch a foundation this year to educate and upskill the underprivileged.

“We’ve seen how brilliant accountants are in the Philippines,” added Mr. Sinclair. “We want to amplify that in the global stage.”

The country’s reputation as a tried-and-tested customer experience delivery point has been strengthened these past two years, according to Rommel M. Regino, head of global operations and sales of Inspiro, a Philippine-headquartered company offering business process outsourcing and call center services worldwide.

“The Philippines is consistently among the top three most favored offshore destinations, making us an integral part of any customer experience outsourcing delivery portfolio,” he said. “We should work together for the Philippines to remain as a favored destination.”

Like all industries, he added, global outsourcing had to undergo massive changes in technology adoption, business processes, and people management as a result of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

According to a 2021 forecast by the International Data Corporation, the digital transformation of business practices, products, and organizations is expected to reach $2.8 trillion in 2025, more than double the amount allocated in 2020.

Customer experience is expected to get a large chunk of these investments, said Mr. Regino. “We believe that a positive agent experience translates to an exceptional customer experience. We’ve seen clients invest in technology for customer experience. Shouldn’t we do the same for our agents?”

Inspiro invested in learning simulators for new hires, which resulted in a 45% skills improvement and a 95% increase in sales conversion. The company also equipped its workforce with cybersecurity protection — such as two-factor authentication and data encryption — when they had to work from home during the various lockdowns.

Mr. Regino said that, although a majority of its staff is “quite excited” to now be back on-site, remote work has been proven to be a boon from a talent availability standpoint.

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the ability to employ someone not in one’s town or country, Mr. Sinclair acknowledged at the Asia CEO Forum. That said, TOA Global’s founder noted the company is still “a big believer in offices” because of their potential for collaboration and growth.

“They will not die…but we want to build offices and extend to a hub-and-spoke network, so [our staff only need to] travel 15–20 minutes to work,” he added.