Are you the owner of a small, growing business? If so, can I ask you a question? Did you start out as a one-person shop? I’m going to take a guess that you probably answered yes to that question. If not, I’d wager that you started with just a few people, maybe some family members or close friends who helped you in their spare time. I don’t know too many small business owners who didn’t, at least for some period of time, try to manage it all on their own, or with as little help as possible. At some point, though, it becomes absurd to try to do it all yourself. The demands on your time, energy, and attention reach a point at which you just can’t do it all. That’s the time when you’ll need to make a decision - to either hire more staff, or to outsource some of the work. For most businesses in today’s world, it ends up being a combination of the two. The current trend, quite understandably is to outsource the functions that don’t relate directly to the production of your offerings, and keep in-house those that do. This way, you’ll be hiring people with talents that further the development of your products or services, and delegating the rest to experts outside of your immediate staff. Not surprisingly, bookkeeping is one of the functions that is most commonly outsourced to a third party.
That all seems sensible. But how do you know whether it’s the right time to outsource your bookkeeping? Here are questions to ask yourself:
Are bookkeeping tasks taking too much time away from mission-critical business development?
Keeping books is time-consuming, and time is not a commodity that you have an excess of, is it? If you’re spending so much time on bookkeeping that you’re neglecting crucial activities like developing and nurturing relationships with clients, or further refining your offerings, you need some help. Time to consider outsourcing the bookkeeping to a virtual accountant.
Is payroll getting complicated?
Payroll probably wasn’t a big concern in the earliest days of your company, as you may not even have had any employees, or drew a salary yourself. But once you start hiring, you’ve got to do payroll. That doesn’t just mean paying people at regular intervals. Payroll brings a plethora of other responsibilities, like calculating employee and employer taxes, and making those payments to the appropriate agencies, for starters. It’s not only a lot of work, the consequences for mistakes in payroll or in tax filings are severe, and can really hurt a small business. If you’re starting to find payroll a little overwhelming, it may be time to consider outsourcing it.
Are you drowning in your financial work?
Anyone can keep the books in the earliest days of a startup, when there’s not usually a lot of financial activity. But when the business starts rolling, that’s going to change dramatically. If you find that you’re in over your head, either with the volume of work, or with financial questions that are outside of the scope of your knowledge, it may be time to look into outsourcing it all to a team of experts.