Outsourcing your bookkeeping operation can greatly help a CEO, especially in a small business, where staff already feels overwhelmed. Outsourcing bookkeeping functions allows for a timelier upkeep of financial records and allows you to spend more time on decision-making and analysis instead of the skeletal functions of bookkeeping. However, finding the right fit for your team provides you with greater piece of mind, especially with something as important as your business’ finances. Here are a few questions to consider before hiring an outsourced bookkeeping service.
Certifications and Specializations
Always verify what certifications or specializations a bookkeeping service might hold. Confirm their training and background, as well as experience in items such as tax preparation, payroll and audit preparation. If you are in a highly regulated area such as healthcare, non-profit or insurance, it’s always best to find a bookkeeper with some of this work in their background. As well, general experience in your industry, such as restaurant or Internet sales bookkeeping keeps you from having to explain many of the facets of your business when starting your relationship.
Software and Electronic Document Exchange
While you may not feel it’s essential that a bookkeeping service use the software to which you’ve been previously familiar, it is always good to find out what their software preference is and why. Many bookkeepers don’t mind using different software to ease their clients’ comfort. However, they may have a very good and beneficial reason for their preference, so it’s always good to have their professional opinion prior to a final decision. Also, if your bookkeeper will work remotely, hold a thorough discussion on how you will manage document transfers. Find out if you need any specific equipment or software to manage this part of the process.
Always determine up front if you’re expected to keep a dedicated or rotating team on your business. Establish how many people will be on this team and how many other clients the individuals on your team might handle at any given time. Always confirm your communication expectations. Will you have a single key contact on your team that handles initial incoming requests or will it rotate among others depending on availability. One word on this, it’s not necessarily a bad thing to have a rotating communication point, as long as all individuals working on your team are familiar with your work.
Always establish a firm, detailed scope-of-work document or contract prior to beginning a bookkeeping relationship. This should contain what reports will be included, how often they will be delivered and in what formats. You should also include how often you will meet with your team, either in person or via teleconference to discuss any questions on reports or ongoing maintenance with your account.
An outsourced bookkeeping service can greatly lift your administrative burdens. However, confirming these basic points helps your relationship start off on the right foot and maintain a great partnership. If you’re interested in outsourcing your bookkeeping, contact one of our professionals today so that we can discuss a personalized plan for your business.