Sri Lanka is becoming an attractive location for 'Finance and Accounting Outsourcing' (FAO) with the world’s second largest pool of management accountants and wages lower than India.
"The availability of a large pool of skilled finance and accounting professionals makes FAO one of the most logical niche competences to continue to build capacity," quoting Dinesh Saparamadu, chairman of Sri Lanka Association of Software and Services Association (SLASSCOM), LBO reported.
"The key export markets for Sri Lankan FAO industry are USA, Europe and Asia Pacific regions."
Sri Lanka has been recognized as a service hub for financial services outsourcing globally for its niche competency, he said.
Many global companies, including UK Accounting and Legal Services Center of WNS, Investment Research Center of Amba Research, UK Banking Center of HSBC, and Finance & Accounting Center of RR Donnelley, have set up their delivery centres in Sri Lanka.
SLASSCOM has published an industry report on the FAO sector in Sri Lanka, prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers and sponsored by Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.
It provides information on Sri Lanka's accounting talent and statistics about the FAO industry, which will help to market the island.
"Colombo is comparatively cost competitive and has a lower upward wage pressure than many established global sourcing destinations, and the country’s labour costs rank 15 – 20 percent lower than in India," the statement said.
"The attractiveness of the sector is also underscored by the availability of a sizable skilled workforce of finance and accounting professionals.
"Sri Lanka now has the world’s second largest pool of CIMA trained students and members outside of the UK."
The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants is the world's largest professional body of management accountants.
The pool of students and fully qualified accounting professionals (including technicians) in Sri Lanka is estimated at around 86,000 and 25,000.
Higher education in accountancy is offered by five main professional accountancy bodies, 15 state universities and numerous foreign affiliated private universities operating in the country.
"Sri Lanka offers a rapidly growing skilled workforce which is low cost, highly productive, English speaking and loyal," said the statement by SLASSCOM, a Sri Lankan IT and BPO industry outfit.
In 2009, global consulting firm, AT Kearney, ranked Sri Lanka at number 16 on their top 20 global outsourcing destinations list, while Global Services Magazine ranked Colombo amongst their top 20 emerging outsourcing cities in the world.