Outsourced Virtual Accounting: How & When to Outsource

February 4, 2022 Mimi Torrington

cfo working with an outsourced virtual accounting provider

There are virtual services, and there’s outsourcing. And then there’s outsourced virtual accounting services that blend together every good thing about finding the right person for the right job.

Plot twist! This week we’re chatting to one of our own: Matt Wood, VP of Client Services, right here at Personiv. Get ready, folks, this episode will shake up the way you think about outsourcing.

Virtual Accounting Talent

outsourced virtual accounting team extension quote

There are two terms Matt mentions that we often use at Personiv: remote talent or extension of your team. Both refer to virtual accounting talent: specialized degreed accounting professionals added to Personiv’s talent pool for our clients to work with and rely on.

We will find the right accounting professionals for our clients’ needs, be it AP or AR specialists, staff accountants or controllers. Each of these remote team members will be positioned in an appropriate time zone, work with our clients’ tech and follow their prescribed processes.

The global shift to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies to adapt to digital processes or risk the worst. Critical for survival, digital processes are also enabling companies to access a larger talent pool to truly find the best of the best across a broader geographic location.

Does a virtual accountant replace existing employees?

Not with Personiv: we’re here to extend the capacity and expertise on your team, not to take away anything from what you’ve worked hard to build. Most of our clients are outsourcing this function for the first time, so we’re here to make that growth process more cost-effective without you having to compromise on the quality of input you get.

Our clients enjoy that we devote the time to building the team they each need, with the specific skill sets required for their respective goals to be met.

Virtual accounting support

As with any decision to spend money, you want to know that you’re going to get value from the investment. Here’s Matt’s outline of Personiv’s support process:

  • Research: we’ll run a discovery call and build a contextual structure for the journey that we’re going on together.

  • Job description: all of that research gets documented into a job description for you to review and approve.

  • Talent acquisition: it takes between 14-45 days to find and onboard the person who will be your dedicated resource. The timeline will depend on the complexity of the job description and required skill set.

  • Transition: we connect with your IT team to map the data processes and prepare the digital infrastructure you would need if you were onboarding a new employee. Remember: you call the shots here. We adapt to how you do things.

When is the right time to outsource?

percentage savings when outsourcing accounting instead of using staffing firm

We hate to use this clichè but there really is no time quite like the present. Not sure if you’re ready? Matt shared a few scenarios for genuinely considering outsourced virtual accounting:

  • There’s an immediate need, like an upcoming tax deadline.

  • You’re looking to expand your horizons and think a little more longer term with your company’s finances.

  • Your startup needs to find financial efficiencies to invest spare dollars into sales and marketing for growth purposes.

  • Business owners or leaders may want to streamline the accounting team and workflow.

  • Offloading transactional tasks so your core team can concentrate on higher value work.

  • Preventing attrition or addressing a spike in your accounting team’s workload.

  • Overcoming barriers to hiring affordable or sufficiently qualified talent in your local area.

What tasks should you outsource?

No two clients are the same, but most will start outsourcing high-volume repeatable tasks. It’s that monotonous work that has to be done but doesn’t light that fire in your soul.

If you need it done, Personiv will find a way.

How would outsourcing help you prevent attrition?

Matt’s first response to this is Burnout. To check for signs, ask your staff to write down what they’re each responsible for today compared to what they were initially hired for. If there are big differences, you’re on a slippery slope, friends.

In Matt’s experience, all those extra responsibilities spread out over the team could easily make up the work of one to two more full time resources.

How many of us ever plan for when things could go right? If there’s a spike in the workload because you’re suddenly processing more invoices or reconciling more transactions, spare your existing team by outsourcing a competent provider to handle that for you. The elasticity of outsourcing is an underestimated advantage.

Why would you outsource instead of choosing other staffing options?

Cost is one of the biggest drivers for deciding to outsource any function, let alone accounting.

Continuity is another major factor. When you outsource accounting work to Personiv, we’re not training anyone on how to get that work done. We’re training them on your tech stack and processes, because they’re entering our, thus your, ecosystem with the appropriate qualifications and years of experience. The process of hiring is, in itself, a setback, especially for SMEs that need to squeeze time out of other people’s schedules for the process of interviewing, shortlisting and selecting candidates.

Where does technology fit in?

Personiv is proud to be technology-agnostic. It means that you keep calling the shots. If you have a system or software in place, we adapt to work with that and we build your extended team and capacity around what’s working for you.

The idea is to make things as easy and quick for you as we can. Concerns about information security? We’re ISO27001-certified and our IT team will connect with you and yours to make progress seamless.

Outsourcing doesn’t mean compromising on the look and feel of how your business engages with your vendors, suppliers or customers. Everything about the way you do business informs how we blend our services into your operation.

What should you look for in an outsourced virtual accounting provider?

Matt’s parting advice for you as you consider your options:

  1. Experience: of the provider, and the talent the provider gives you access to.

  2. Reputation: obviously (we hope) you wouldn’t want to select a provider that’s known for ignoring labor laws or constant scandals.

  3. Attrition: this goes hand-in-hand with the provider’s reputation; is it a good place to work?

  4. Infrastructure: it’s inevitable that data will be shared so make sure that you’re comfortable with the certifications and state of information security your provider exhibits.

  5. Pricing: if it’s not straightforward, how can they guarantee that their services will be?

Remember: when it comes to outsourced virtual accounting, the provider should be working for you, not the other way around.


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