Choosing outsourced accounting resources (bookkeeper, controller, and CFO) is a very impactful choice for a business. Often, the team will serve as more than simple “number-crunchers” and act as financial advisers or even the whole finance department. They can also provide clarity and guidance for important expenditure and investment decisions so you can feel at ease with your business decisions.
Entrusting critical decisions to someone outside your business requires a high level of confidence, which means selecting the right people can be tough. We’ve put together several tips to help you make the choice for your business.
Know What Outsourced Accounting Services are Available
Firms can specialize in certain areas, such as bookkeeping, audit, tax, payroll, and more. As part of your initial selection, you’ll want to look for one that specializes in the areas you need help with most.
For example, our firm offers outsourced accounting services to prepare financial statements, budgets, forecasts, cash flow projections, bookkeeping entries, and payroll. We do a monthly close process (review transactions, reconcile accounts, record necessary journal entries), prepare the related financial statements, and guide you through the details to ensure that you have a complete view of your financial position. Other firms specialize in outsourced accounting services such tax preparation or business valuation.
Once you know what you need, it will be easier to narrow down your options.
Does Your Partner Understand Your Industry?
In outsourced accounting, you’re not trying to find a one-size fits all number cruncher. Each business has unique needs and workflows.
Certain financial professionals have deep experience in e-commerce, while others know how to advise marketing agencies.
There is a big difference in these business models, not to mention the tools and workflows required to gather meaningful data.
Find An Outsourced Accounting Partner Who Understands Technology!
The concept of outsourced accounting services is somewhat new in the grand scheme of business. In the past, business relied heavily on cash, receipts and desks full of financial reports.
More recently, the financial data of a business transitioned to desktop computers and spreadsheets. In this flow, it’s still fairly difficult to outsource accounting services.
But with cloud technology, and simple accounting integrations, it’s possible to have a collaboration with an accounting pro anywhere in the country in real time.
But there are differing levels of competence here, and what this shift means is a financial professional is often only as strong as their technology.
If you find a great accountant, but they have limited understanding of how to interact with your payments system, you’re going to have a hard time working with meaningful information.
Determine Fee Structure
Each firm has different payment models and rates for their outsourced accounting services. You’ll want to determine if you have a fixed retainer due each month or if you pay after the service is completed. You also want to know the rates and scope of the work requested. Generally, it’s recommended to get several estimates for each new project.
We use three roles with three different rates (Bookkeeper, Financial Controller, and CFO) – this ensures our clients have access to a wide scope of skills, but only pay for what they need. All our work is billed hourly – this ensures we can offer more help you when you need it (during onboarding or growth stages), and reduce hours and cost during stable times. But this doesn’t mean you’re giving us a blank check – we give you an estimate for all work to be done, and we monitor our hours closely and will discuss any expected overages well ahead of time.
Schedule a Video Call or In-Person Meeting
One of the most important things you can do is to start building a relationship with your outsourced accounting team. Make sure you feel you can trust and work with them closely.
Whenever you have financial questions, you’ll want to feel like you can quickly reach out and get help. Developing this kind of rapport is done more easily in person than over the phone. If it’s not possible to meet in person, try to at least schedule a video call.
We typically have an introductory call to understand our client’s needs, issues, pain points, and then a few follow-up video calls to discuss the details. We’ll get to know you and your business needs and present our approach to working together to help you achieve your goals.
Are there any other tips you’d suggest? If so, contact us to let us know!
If you are in the search of a bookkeeper, controller, or CFO, contact us for a complimentary consultation to discuss your situation and needs.