Is it Time for Outsourced Accounting?
As the leader of a growing organization, you understand the challenge of balancing day-to-day activities with your strategic priorities. Many daily tasks simply have to be done, and with time, resource and personnel limitations, you may find that you and your team frequently have to take an “all hands on deck” approach. However, when your daily responsibilities begin to supersede strategic priorities, both you and your business can quickly lose momentum.
The ability to make informed strategic decisions can separate thriving organizations from stagnating businesses. Informed decisions require having the right information at the right time. Accurate and up-to-date financial information can be a very powerful tool, yet gathering, organizing and interpreting that information can also very quickly become a distraction from your strategic priorities. How do smart business owners get the information they need without getting distracted? How can you get powerful financial information into your hands without slowing down your business?
For many businesses, outsourced accounting can be the right solution. As a business owner it is imperative to know when it is the right time to outsource your accounting and finance needs. Here are six steps to help you transform your financial accounting from a burden to a benefit.
1. Determine if financial accounting is driving or draining value within your organization
If you frequently find yourself rushing to put together financial reports, managing time consuming bookkeeping tasks or making decisions without the right financial information, it is time to look for additional accounting help. Accounting should not slow you down or distract you from the activities that truly drive the value of your business.
2. Evaluate internal and external solutions
If your accounting resources are not bringing value to your organization, you need to make a change. You can hire or change internal accounting personnel or you can outsource your accounting function. The right answer for your company will depend on your needs, budget and available options. Hiring an internal bookkeeper can be a
great solution if you can find the perfect candidate — one that has the exact skill set that you need, is willing to work the precise number of hours that you require and demands a wage that fits squarely within your budget.
You may require a higher skill level. Skills like the ability to bring new ideas and efficiencies, develop budgets and forecasts, adept analysis and reporting, and the flexibility to grow with the needs of your organization. Outsourced accounting can be the solution.
3. Identify the right time for a change
When it comes to outsourced accounting, timing really is everything. There are some easy to recognize clues that can dictate the time is right to outsource. If you need more technical skills than the receptionist, office manager or part-time bookkeeper can provide. Maybe a bank or investor group is looking for a level of financial sophistication that you don’t currently have. The right outsourced accounting solution can help you get set up and prepared. If you have had multiple failures trying to hire a good full-time bookkeeper, you are probably spending more time, money and effort to get the right solution than you should be. Outsourced accounting can even fill a temporary role, like when your bookkeeper is on leave for several months. If you are experiencing any of these scenarios, now would be the right time to outsource.
4. Explore available outsourced solutions
Once you determine that outsourced accounting is a viable alternative, you will want to find the solution that best fits your current and future needs. It is important to know that not every outsourced accounting solution is created equal. Solutions range from minimally trained bookkeepers best suited to data entry, to sophisticated business service firms that offer industry focused teams, custom financial reporting, bookkeeping, payroll, accounting technology and tax planning services. Your needs will determine the right solution for your company. If you are a growing company with expanding financial needs, an experienced business service team can provide the high-level assistance you need.
5. Select the right outsourced accounting partner
Your outsourced accounting partner should have the experience to proactively bring new ideas and value to your organization. Look for a partner that leverages the latest technology and tools to keep themselves efficient and you informed. Look for an accounting provider that has familiarity with your industry and has the resources of a full-service accounting firm. Firms that specialize in outsourced accounting for small and midsized businesses are generally the best equipped to bring value.
Make sure to obtain referrals and check references, as not all providers deliver what they promise. Ask other business owners who they use for their outsourced bookkeeping services. Talk to references about what they like best and least about their outside bookkeepers, and don’t forget that this relationship should be reviewed at least once a year. Needs change and the right provider can change as well.
6. Invest in a plan and a relationship
Once you have selected a partner to help with your accounting, focus on building a value added relationship that will be continuously evaluated and modified to meet your changing needs. A good provider will invest the time to get to know your company and your needs before they implement a solution. Your adviser should help you improve both your processes and your financial information. With the right plan you can transform your financial accounting into a value driving resource for your entire organization.
Financial accounting should drive value within your organization. It should efficiently provide you with the information that you need to make the right strategic decisions. If your financial accounting solution isn’t bringing value, consider a change to outsourced accounting.