Amid all the excitement and controversy concerning outsourcing, it's worth noting that when it comes to finance, treasury and accounting, there is still not that much activity; the Hackett Group estimates that in the U.S. only about 4% of finance processes and essentially no treasury operations are being outsourced at this time. What's the difference between now and a few years ago? Finance executives are more interested. Hackett and other consultants in the space suggest finance and accounting outsourcing could as much as double in the next three years.

But standing between executives and the idea of outsourcing is still one large, and potentially insurmountable, concern: Will information be safe? "It's a far more important concern than we had thought it would be," says Jon Watts, a principal at Booz Allen Hamilton. "Companies are definitely worried about the improper use of data, the theft of data and, of course, there is also a reluctance to entrust financial data to an outsource provider when as CFO you have to sign your name to the books."

Watts surveyed 158 U.S.-based finance executives last year about outsourcing and reports that at the top of their list were security concerns. The survey found that U.S. companies saw offshore outsourcing, while offering the most savings in terms of labor costs, as posing a significantly higher security risk. Only 27% of respondents described India–already a leading outsource provider–as having a strong regulatory structure, while just 5% considered China to have adequate legal and regulatory protections.

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