Outsourcing Glossary

From outsourcing and offshoring to FAO and BPO, industry terminology can be overwhelming. Click on each term below to see its definition.


Outsourcing is the contracting out of business process functions that businesses may not have time or resources to complete. Services that are most commonly outsourced include finance & accounting, back office, customer experience and digital.

Resources: The Keys to Successful Outsourcing


Offshoring is the practice of outsourcing business functions to teams overseas, often in countries like India and the Philippines.


FAO stands for Finance and Accounting Outsourcing and refers to outsourcing in the finance and accounting space.

Resources: Outsourcing Step-by-Step: Taking the Mystery Out of FAO


BPO stands for Business Process Outsourcing and refers to the outsourcing of non-core tasks to a third-party outsourcing vendor.

Resources: Why Do Companies Outsource? The Top 3 Reasons to Engage a BPO Provider


Back office tasks are those that are not part of a company’s core function. Examples include accounting, transactions, data entry, bookkeeping, marketing, SEO, etc. Outsourcing providers offer support in these areas by having their teams complete these non-core tasks.

Resources: The Advantages of Outsourcing Your Back Office Support Needs


AP stands for Accounts Payable and is an accounting entry that represents an entity’s obligation to pay off a short-term debt to its creditors. Many companies outsource the AP process to back office providers.

Resources: Discover Outsourced Accounting: Finance & Accounting Outsourcing (FAO) 101


AR stands for Accounts Receivable and refers to outstanding invoices a company has or the money the company is owed from its clients. AR of often outsourced as part of back office support.

Resources: Using a Finance and Accounting Outsourcing Provider: What to Expect


FTE stands for Full Time Equivalent (or Full Time Employee) and refers to a person who works full time on an outsourced program. FTEs are dedicated to only one client.

Resources: Outsourced Accounting with a Team of One: How FAO Has Evolved


The client engagement process is the steps involved with on-boarding a new client. The Personiv process starts with discovery where find out what type of talent will help you most, what skills are needed and how best to train our team to your specifications. We detail a plan that will exceed your expectations and define your success both in the short- and long-term.

Resources: Here’s Why We Invest So Heavily in the People We Hire – And Why You Should Too


ISO is an organization that sets global standards for quality, management and continuous improvement. They have several certifications that are administered by approved third-party vendors in which companies must meet strenuous processes to comply with and be awarded the certification.

Resources: Personiv Earns ISO 9001:2015 Certification


Six Sigma is a set of management techniques intended to improve business processes by greatly reducing the probability that an error or defect will occur. Six Sigma certification involves company leadership who work to remove inefficiencies in the internal processes of a company.

Resources: Safeguarding Financial Info


SLA stands for Service Level Agreement and refers to an agreement between a provider and a client that clearly defines the level of service expected throughout the length of the contract.

Resources: Should I switch BPO providers