Businesses that seek to be financially savvy and compliant need a professionally-trained accountant to conduct their accounting.
The good news: Having a professional accountant on your team vastly improves the probability that your company’s financial projects will be completed successfully; it also increases the overall efficiency of your business’s operations, boosts productivity and allows your employees to focus on their responsibilities and your business’s growth.
The bad news: Bringing a qualified, full-time accountant onto your company’s team often comes at a great financial cost. Nearly half of all small businesses don’t employ an accountant or a bookkeeper, even though quality of work, time and cost are all at stake.
Outsourced Accounting Is a Viable Option for Many Businesses
If you don’t have the resources to employ a full-time, in-house accountant, there are still viable options to keep your accounting and finance functions on the right course. Consider bringing an accountant onto your staff on a fractional basis or outsourcing your accounting functions altogether.
A recent survey by Clutch determined that 22% of small businesses that have a professional accountant either have a part-time one or an outsourced one.
Outsourcing accounting is a particularly practical option for those organizations that can’t justify the cost of making a new accounting hire but that still appreciate the importance of increasing the efficiency of their business operations. Outsourcing also provides the same assurance and quality as hiring a full-time accountant for your business, only at a fraction of the cost.
How to Pick an Outsourced Accountant
Outsourcing accounting can be a huge benefit for many organizations, though it can be hard to know how to find the right fit in an accounting firm or provider. Because each organization’s needs are unique, it’s incredibly important to find an accountant who has applicable expertise, knows the organization’s industry, and can develop strong systems to improve performance.
Here, we’ve provided three critical areas of consideration in evaluating a potential accounting services provider so that you can find a partner that’s the right fit for your organization and team.
1) Evaluate Your Outsourced Accountant Like You Would an Employee
When you’re looking for the right accounting firm, evaluate them the same way you would a potential employee. Think carefully about their experience, areas of expertise, the number of years they’ve been in business, and what their references and past clients are saying about them.
You’ll also want to consider how your outsourced accountant aligns with the rest of you team. Make sure you’ve found a good fit with your company culture and employees’ personalities, and make sure that your accountant’s skills and expertise complement what’s already present on your team.
And finding a firm with a dedicated team that specializes in offering these types of outsourced services will likely provide you with personnel who are more experienced and familiar with providing those services at a high level.
2) Communicate About Communication
Outsourcing doesn’t mean relinquishing all control and never checking in with your accounting firm.
In fact, partnering with an outsourced accountant may provide more opportunities for meaningful collaboration and consultation in the pursuit of continuous improvement in business performance. The key is establishing and evaluating communication.
When picking an outsourced accountant, ask about communication styles, standards, frequency and methods to ensure that the organization maximizes its prospects for success.
If you selected the right firm, you can expect its team members will strive to maintain solid communication. This also increases opportunities for your outsourced accountants to provide insight into areas for potential improvement in the organization’s operational and financial performance.
3) Consider the Information Transfer Process Your Outsourced Accountant Uses
When you’re considering working with a particular accounting firm, be sure to consider the procedure they use for sharing information.
There are two aspects of information sharing to consider: responsiveness and security. How are you going to communicate with them? What communication procedures do they have in place? What is their average response time? How do they protect the information that you share?
Having this knowledge allows you the luxury of knowing that your data is secure and that communication processes are in line with the way your own business operates.
Outsourcing Your Accounting Services
By delegating your business’s accounting functions to an accounting firm or group, you’ll likely see improvements in your organization’s efficiency, providing you with more time to focus on other aspects of your business.
Outsourcing, in particular, is an effective technique to increase your business’s efficiency without jeopardizing quality. However, to maximize the benefit that outsourcing offers, an organization must engage the right accounting firm. Expertise, experience and compatibility can make all the difference in selecting the best partner to improve performance.
This blog was originally written on April 22, 2019 and was most recently updated on January 9, 2020.