Which should you do?
Automate first always, if it works well then you may not need to outsource; however, if you find you still need to outsource even after automating it could save you money as you may find you are able to outsource a smaller portion of the work.
When doing these kind of process improvement reviews, the thought process should be to get people out of the way of software i.e. if the software can do it, let it do it, providing the costing make sense.
It is also crucial to remember two things if you outsource your accounts in a bad state outsourcing won’t fix it and you will probably be hit with extra fees for them to resolve underpinning issues; also no matter which route you take staff moral will probably take a hit; it is important to be mindful of this especially if you do decide to outsource and you are relying on current staff to do the handover.
At some point in the future there will be an interesting development over where some portions of data interpretation will sit, for example management accounting and income/expenditure analysis currently sits in accounting; but in future will it sit with IT once it is automated? (software contracts tend to sit with them), will management accounting become even more merged with the data analyst (accountants and analysts are not the same)
We still are awaiting the impact of bigdata, machine learning, AI and eventually robots, at some point in the future during these transaction phases accountants will find themselves particularly around non-statutory accounting competing with analyst who have a sound understanding chomping through and interpreting data, particularly with some analyst having additional skillsets like SQL and Dataware housing at their disposal.
Us accountants are brilliant too at what we do but it is important to remember aside from statutory side technology will bring us closer to other industries.
By the way, this is a really good video that breaks down machine learning.