Most companies fear that contracting their accounting functions may bring more risks than benefits. However, with the right outsourced accounting services, it might be easier than you think.
When you have finally decided on outsourcing your accounting, here are some tips you can follow to achieve an effective partnership with your outsourced accounting firm:
Finding an accounting outsourcing service provider
Don’t go for the first company that you come across with. Do thorough research about several accounting firms that you think would be perfect for your company. Ask for their portfolio or their roster of clients to check if your company is compatible with them. You can ask if they have worked with companies similar to yours to know if their expertise can match your needs.
Assess their process and compliance
Additionally, you should ask about their specific processes. This can help you assess if the firm is a great fit for your business. You can ask about their security or privacy policies, day-to-day tasks, ability to work on various advanced accounting softwares and the like.
Look for firms that can help you manage your self-managed superannuation funds (SMSF). Make sure that your chosen partner is well-versed in SMSF outsourcing and is fluent in the Australian compliance and regulations.
Account the outsourcing cost
Lastly, you should always consider the cost of their services. Get a quote from several companies and look for the most competitive price - weigh the quality of their service and the operational cost.
There are accounting outsourcing firms that offer premium bookkeeping services at a reasonable cost.
Set up a plan
When working with an outsourced team, you may not be able to meet them as often as an in-house team. That is why crafting a plan would be necessary.
Both parties should discuss expectations to ensure that everything is clear. Include the deliverables and tasks with the corresponding deadlines, schedule of meetings, and calendar of events. All of these will ensure that both parties are on the same page and that all requirements are met. This plan will not only improve your workflow but also help you keep track of the project’s progress.
Working with your chosen accounting firm
Getting started with a partner firm, you still have to do a list of necessary tasks to make sure the engagement will sail smoothly.
Here are a few things to take note:
Back-up necessary data
Before anything else, back up your files from your previous accounting software. Accidents and mistakes happen all the time and it is better to be safe than sorry. Having several backups of your important files is also a great idea to ensure that you have access to essential information when necessary.
Whip up a contract
A contract must first be crafted and signed by both parties before starting any project. This should include all the details of the work ( i.e. budget, timelines, expectations, deadlines, security or privacy policies, quality of work, etc.) Once the contract has been finalized, you can start discussing the process and workload for your company.
Assign a main contact
Make sure you have a key focal person from your company that will be in constant communication with the accounting firm. S/he should oversee the whole process, decide on important matters, and provide regular updates to the firm and your company.
Ensure mastery of chosen accounting software
If you have your own accounting software, discuss its specifications to your partner firm so that they can help streamline the process. You can also rely on their expertise and ask them on software products that will better suit your needs.
Communicate regularly with your team
Lastly, the key to a great relationship with your partner firm is communication. Schedule regular updates to align your processes and manage expectations. It is also recommended to talk with them about points of improvement to further reduce the bottlenecks and improve your process.
This may seem like a lot to consider, but for something as important as outsourced accounting services, you should always be thorough and critical. Choose the accounting firm that best fits your company’s needs and stay on top of the whole process - you will be reaping the benefits of outsourcing in no time.
Download our whitepaper, Outsourcing: How to Make it Work, to know how we can make outsourcing work for you and your business. Discover how these can help drive success to your company by establishing a strong business financial position.
This post was first published 2 March 2017 and edited 20 October 2020.