As your business grows, you eventually arrive at a point where you need professional accounting and bookkeeping services to ensure your finances are in order so that you continue to build profit, pay fair wages, and avoid penalties.
You may have an in-house bookkeeper already — many businesses do. Perhaps it’s dawning on you that you’re not getting what you truly want out of your current arrangement as it relates to financial growth.
So you’re ready to outsource bookkeeping services to a professional accounting firm — Congratulations! But how do you know what you need or who to hire among the many out there? Here are a few things to look for.
What To Look For In Your Bookkeeping Services
First, let’s clarify your goals and the scope of the bookkeeping services you desire.
At the very least, you’ll need someone who can handle the day-to-day transactional needs of your business — add in new customers and vendors to your systems, manage your accounts receivable and payable, and accurately record payments and invoicing.
You may also want someone who is trained in using cloud-based software like Quickbooks Online or Xero, can reconcile your bank and credit card statements, and can handle payroll.
Are you ready to level up your financial goals? You’ll need a Controller who will do more frequent financial reporting and help with cash flow management. Periodic reviews of your books and in-depth budgeting analysis guarantee up-to-date workflows which, in turn, increase profitability.
You may also want a CFO — someone who will give you a detailed analysis of your strengths and weaknesses, and consult with you regularly to help you set the direction for your company.
Depending on your firm and your goals, the person serving as your Controller or CFO may even be the same person.
Start with your goals
- How often do I want my bank statement reconciled? Daily? Weekly? Monthly?
- Do I want my bookkeeper or Controller to reconcile loan accounts and properly record principal and interest payments?
- Will I require my bookkeeper to code vendor bills and process payables?
- How often do I want my Controller to prepare Profit and Loss Statements and Balance Sheets?
- How often will I need Cash Flow Statements prepared?
- Do I need help with investment decisions and assessing market liquidity?
- How regularly do I want to have a strategic planning session with my Advisor or CFO?
- What kind of support do I need from my Advisor or CFO, and how often?
- How often will I need forecasting services?
Once you’ve outlined your goals and extent of services you’ll need, you can then focus on finding the right bookkeeping team.
Two Questions to Consider Asking Prospective Bookkeeping Firms:
#1 What Is Your Experience and Skill?
Not all outsourced accounting teams come with the same skill set, and that’s fine. But if you’re seriously looking to grow and don’t have the capacity or desire to hire someone who may need training, keep your eyes out for a firm with sufficient experience and certifications.
Find a team that offers accuracy and timeliness, as well as the knowledge to help you comply with reporting regulations and all local, state, and federal requirements.
How good are they at dealing with complex transactional situations? How on point are their data entry skills and how valuable are their financial insights? Do they pay enough attention to detail to minimize errors by the time the accountant is ready to do her review?
You need a team whose experience and skill will bring you confidence.
#2 What Innovative Apps & Tech Do You Love?
Technology is changing fast, and even though you don’t need to be at the forefront of new apps and tech, you do want someone who is forward-thinking. I always say, “when I hear ‘this is the way we’ve always done it,’ it’s time to dig in.”
You want an experienced team that will hold your hand and show you the light with time-saving, budget-friendly techniques. And a tech-savvy financial partner who combines AI with human oversight might just be the answer to your financial woes.
Thanks to new cloud-based automation, massive success is no longer out of reach — the pie in the sky isn’t an illusion. It can be all yours! You just need to find an innovative team to help you reach it.
How To Know You’re Ready to Outsource Your Bookkeeping
Can you find an in-house bookkeeper who checks all the boxes? Maybe, but do you want to pay a CFO salary to someone who is spending the bulk of their time on transactional services?
Imagine how much you and your business can accomplish by hiring a whole team with the same financial investment.
For roughly the cost of one in-house bookkeeper, you can outsource your bookkeeping services and gain a wider range of expertise as well as guidance on how to grow your business because they take a deep dive into your financial needs and business practices. Moreover, they can help you implement the latest innovative technologies to automate as much as possible.
Key areas where outsourced bookkeepers and accountants can help include:
- Improved efficiency
- Generating reports and preparing statements
- Offering tips to improve resource management
- Overseeing entry-level tasks
- Analyzing data to identify new opportunities for growth
- Consulting and offering help with reasoning out financial decisions
- Managing transactional tasks
- In-depth forecasting
- Budgeting and cash flow analysis
- Making informed market predictions
- Preparing financial reports
What To Look For As You Prepare to Hire
When looking to outsource your accounting, be sure to find someone who possesses a wide span of experience within various roles. They should have a high level of expertise and the ability to answer all of your initial questions.
Your bookkeeping team should be reasonably flexible and able to tailor their services to your needs as it relates to your particular industry. And speaking of your industry, although they don’t need to be experts, your financial team should at least be familiar with the ins and outs of how it operates.
You want to make sure that you understand the roles your financial team will perform and their expectations for you.
Here’s what I mean:
By outsourcing your bookkeeping, you don’t have to worry about an in-house bookkeeper falling sick, or going through the vetting and hiring process when there’s turnover for any reason. That’s now the responsibility of the firm you’re hiring, freeing you up to run your business with confidence that the team you’ve hired will keep your financials compliant and in order.
The perfect team will also clearly outline how they segregate duties to ensure that the person who pays the bills (if you outsource that) is not the same person that approves the bills.
It’s important to get clear on these matters as they affect the reputation and financial sensitivity of your business.
Ask Questions For The Long-Term
Getting answers to any questions upfront will help you be clear on how you’ll work together, roles and responsibilities, and communication frequency and benchmarks. Ultimately, asking questions will give you confidence that your financial team has your best interest at heart and that you’ll be prepared to tap into your growth potential.
Ready to level up your business but not sure where to find the right bookkeeping firm? Our team handles your essential bookkeeping, accounting, Controller and outsourced CFO services.
Watch us help you grow. Book a free consultation for more information on how you can level up your business by having an experienced financial team in your corner.