Romania: Romania's Outsourced Business Services Sector Worth At Least 500m Euros - And Growing
Last Updated: 17 July 2014

In the latest issue of The Diplomat Bucharest, our Romanian MD tells Alexandra Lopotaru why Romania is one of the most sought-after destinations for business services.

Although the economic crisis has slowed down businesses, companies have grown stronger, more responsible and more client-needs oriented, experts say. Moreover, the business lines were rethought in terms of efficiency, and the presence of multinationals in Romania in recent years made local players pay more attention to international strategies. This process took place in the local outsourcing industry as well, and supported the industry's growth during the recent crisis period. Thus, Romania managed to rank ninth globally and second in the CEE as a preferred destination for companies operating in the business service industry, including business process outsourcing (BPO), shared service centres (SSC) and information technology outsourcing (ITO), according to a ranking made by real-estate consultancy company Jones Lang LaSalle.

Furthermore, by the end of 2012, the industry was estimated at €500m, employing about 20,000 people, according to another survey report by consultancy company KPMG for the local sector's organisation Association of Business Service Leaders (ABSL) in Romania. ABSL members, including top local players like Wipro Technologies, Microsoft, Genpact and Luxoft, comprise approximately half of this market, with a cumulated turnover of about €200m and 8,000 employees. However, up-to-date ABSL figures show that the local BPO industry continued to grow, generating more than 25,000 jobs so far, and is expected to increase further. Since Bucharest is becoming more expensive, industry players think the growth will be registered mainly in towns like Targu Mures, Sibiu, Iasi or Craiova, where university centres can generate high untapped potential in terms of labour force.

TMF Group Romania: "Customers look for global expertise, applied locally"

TMF Group Romania is part of an international group providing outsourced compliance services to companies in more than 75 countries. The company began its operations in Romania 15 years ago with only four people, and now, in 2014, the team has grown to about 100 employees. With a portfolio of more than 200 customers, the company serves both multinationals and local clients. "TMF Group Romania started its operations in 1999, and since then the outsourcing solutions market has become crowded with business services companies," Emine Constantin, managing director of the company, tells The Diplomat Bucharest. "The market started to grow rapidly after Romania signed the Treaty of Accession with the European Union in 2004, giving a positive signal to investors, and also acting as a trigger point for many domains. The market boom also came from various alliances and mergers in market leaders, leading to an environment with strong competition."

Nevertheless, compared with other EU countries, poor infrastructure in Romania can affect decisions about investing in the country, one of the main challenges being the frequent changes of legislation. However, according to the managing director, the Romanian market managed to evolve and customers became more knowledgeable about the services, requesting packages that are tailored to meet their needs. "Clients know what to demand, and know how to request quality services, offered at good prices for their business," says Constantin. "They are asking for more flexibility, and international companies prefer to work with providers able to adapt the corporate reporting requirements to the local legislative ones. They are looking for global expertise, applied locally."

TMF Group Romania offers a full range of services, customised and tailored for any stage of development in a company's life cycle, says Camelia Nita, managing director of the company. Outsourced accounting and reporting services represent around 70% of TMF Group Romania's business, HR and Payroll administration services are generating 17% of it and corporate secretarial ones around 13%. "TMF Group goes the extra mile to deliver end-to-end service to meet customer needs," Nita tells The Diplomat Bucharest. "We can equally assist start-ups and mature ventures – businesses of any size and structure - to achieve their business targets and in meeting the local and international compliance requirements."

Over the next few years, TMF Group Romania will focus on strengthening its services and relationships with its clients to provide a wide range of tools that can help them work efficiently inside and outside Romania's borders, according to Nita. "We are working globally to understand what customers really need," she says. "By listening to our clients we are trying to find the right solutions that bridge customer requirements and local regulations. We offer high quality professional solutions that are tailored to the needs of our clients and based on constant communication."

Extract republished with permission from The Diplomat Bucharest, Vol 10, No 3, May-June 2014

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