Outsourcing is a business practice of hiring someone outside the company to carry out tasks, handle functions or provide services that are usually done (or can be done) in-house. This practice is sometimes known as 'contracting out'.

You can outsource almost any business task or function. The different types of outsourcing services range from bookkeeping and payroll to logistics and manufacturing. You can even outsource entire business departments, such as customer service or IT support.

Businesses often outsource to cut costs, improve efficiencies, access external expertise and gain other benefits. However, outsourcing can also lead to loss of control in your business. It's important to analyse the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing to understand potential issues.

This guide covers key outsourcing considerations and helps you decide if outsourcing is right for your business. It explains how to choose an outsourcing partner and negotiate service level agreements between two contracting parties.