Many business owners choose to keep finance and accounting functions in-house as they consider only the cost of outsourcing instead of the benefits. But consider what you could do with the time you free up when you are not concerned with bookkeeping. From a business viewpoint, wouldn’t your time be better spent generating more revenue, networking and building good customer relationships? Would outsourcing your finances and accounting functions be detrimental to your business and your clients? Do your staff have the necessary skills to do the job or could the work be completed in half the time by an accountancy practice with the right skills?

How to choose the right accountancy firm?

We can put you in touch with a trusted panel of accountancy firms, but you should also consider:

Skills and qualifications

Check that the accountancy firm has the appropriate skills and qualifications to assist your business. They should have a pool of qualifications that includes ICB (Institute of Certified Bookkeepers), ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) and AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians). They should also support a variety of accounting software that includes advanced spreadsheets, Sage, MYOB, IRIS, QuickBooks and Xero.

Reputation

Is the accountancy practice well-respected and how do their clients rate them? Request testimonials and discuss a service level agreement, contract terms and their ability and resources to complete your accounts to an agreed timescale.

For many small to medium sized business, finance and accounting is tedious and requires detailed information and a high level of training, skill and research. We recommend that you choose an accountancy practice that listens well and has a proactive approach to your finance and accounting. You should get a quote from a few firms to find the most competitive, but don’t base your decision on cost alone; the accountancy firm must be a member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, they need to understand your specific business needs, listen well and have a proactive approach to your accounting.

Key benefits

Finance and accounting is a key area of a business’s backend operations that can benefit from outsourcing and make a real difference to business owners. The main strategic aim of the accounting department should be to deliver efficiencies, both within the department and across the company and businesses are most commonly outsourcing payroll accounting, accounts payable and accounts receivable.

More time

Office functions can be a distraction from the core business and outsourcing your business’s finance and accounting will free up valuable resources and enable you to focus on your business.

Save money

When you outsource your finance and accounting operations, you only pay for what you need instead of employing staff and their associated costs. Accountancy firms often charge by the hour for tax preparation simply because the information produced by companies is inaccurate or insufficient to prepare the return. If your books are kept up to date by an outsourced accounting firm, you can eliminate the preparation work and receive a fixed price for the preparation of your tax return. You’ll have timely data to hand and you’ll have saved money.

Expertise

Outsourcing gives you access to full-time knowledge without having to pay for it 365 days of the year. When you put your accounts in the hands of a highly-skilled accountancy practice that exercises best practice and understands how to perform specialist tasks, you become more efficient. A professional accountant can provide invaluable advice and many packages include email and phone support. They can answer your questions simply and share their experiences to assist you to make important business decisions such as entity structure, tax planning and growth strategy.

Focused

When you take your accounts team out of your office environment, they are able to focus on your business, provide impartial advice and avoid the distractions of the workplace.

Teamwork

When you hand over your financial records to an accountancy practice, you enjoy the benefits of a thriving finance and accounting team rather than a lone bookkeeper who may not have the skills to see every nuance that can benefit your company. There are checks and double-checks to ensure you receive the best service.

Better tools

Outsourcing your finance and accounting operations gives you access to the best tools on the market rather than you having to invest in expensive accounting packages and keep abreast of the latest technology, laws and regulations. You can also rest assured that, if the Inland Revenue wishes to audit your accounts, your accounts are organised and accessible. Cloud accounting software brings the ability to transfer data between systems and allows for significant automation, you can leverage the knowledge of the accounting firm rather than spending time researching software and setting up your systems. An accounting firm can explain the accounting software available and which is the best fit for your company.

Scalability

Outsourced finance and accounting allows you to expand or scale back your operation at short notice depending your business’s needs; they can also assist you in drawing up different plans and options to help achieve your goals.

Peace of mind

Experience peace of mind and focus on running your business. An accountancy firm can handle your bookkeeping, payroll and financial reporting. They will provide management accounts and review these reports with you, discussing how it impacts your business.