The Complete Guide to Outsourced Accounting

April 19, 2024 Sarah Dameron

outsourced accounting team working on reports

If you’ve ever nixed the idea of outsourced accounting from your list of potential strategies, you’re not alone. Most small-to-mid-size companies consider outsourcing to be an unattainable resource reserved only for global-size businesses. However, we’re here to tell you that not only can all companies benefit from outsourcing, small- to mid-sized organizations might just have the most to gain. In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through every step of the outsourced accounting process, from initial setup to ongoing management.

Read more: Top 5 outsourcing myths: Why it’s easier than you think.

In today’s uncertain market, your organization might be drowning in a mess of financial transactions, overworked team members and a lack of time management driven by inefficient processes. And if you’re a CFO, Controller or accounting executive, know that in order to run a thriving business, you need to have an efficient finance and accounting department.

Over the past few years, companies have made the switch to outsourced accounting to either A. supplement and strategically guide their current accounting function or B. build their accounting function from the ground up. Moreover, businesses are more apt to make the switch when their current methods cease to work.

If your company has never utilized outsourcing as a resource before, you may have some questions that give you pause. Better yet, you may wonder why you should outsource your finance tasks rather than taking the traditional in-house approach. Read the full guide to explore why outsourced accounting has surpassed other methods and how choosing the right virtual accounting partner is key to the growth of your organization.

Table of Contents

  1. Benefits of Outsourced Finance & Accounting

  2. What to Consider When Outsourcing Transactional Work

  3. Accounting Tasks to Outsource

  4. Top Mistakes of Outsourced Accounting

  5. Where to Outsource Accounting

  6. Choosing an Accounting Outsourcing Provider

finance team reviewing the benefits of outsourcing

Benefits of Outsourced Accounting

The accounting needs of a company varies according to size and industry. Moreover, finding a reputable outsourcing company that checks off your bucket-list of wishes can be like finding a needle in a haystack. However, outsourcing is more than offloading tasks to another individual (or company), and if you’re wanting to increase your business’s bottom line, then you need to take note of these benefits:

  • Cost containment. The most obvious benefit of outsourcing is to save money. When you add up all the costs of hiring a new team member – salary, benefits, overhead costs, equipment – things can get costly and often times, unaffordable. Outsourcing that same position alleviates that financial burden (thanks to low labor costs offshore) and allows your company to allocate that money to other expenses.

  • Ability to reinvest your time and money. Sure, it’s nice to cut costs, but what are you going to do with the money you save? The best part is, it’s completely up to you. Furthermore, with your money and time freed up by outsourcing, your team can focus on bigger picture projects such as strategy or even, adding budget to sales and marketing to fast-track growth.

  • Add quality talent to your team. Finding top talent can be a huge undertaking, especially one that has the right skills and experience. Whether you’re adding to your existing team or building a new team from the ground up, partnering with an outsourcing provider lessens that hardship and expands your talent pool.

  • Ability to focus on the growth of your business. You’re either focused on advancing your company or your focused on menial tasks that swallow up your time. It can be frustrating to spend so much time on the latter – however, by offloading these processes to trusted accounting professionals, you and your team will have more time to concentrate on the essential aspects of your organization.

Read the full article: The advantages of outsourcing your back office support needs

What to Consider When Outsourcing Transactional Work

outsourcing company employees working on transactional work for company overseas

You’ve scoured the internet for blogs about outsourcing and you’ve consumed enough pertinent information to make a well-thought-out decision. However, before you make that next move you want to know if it’ll work for your business. We’ve outlined a few steps to take before you solidify your choice.

  1. Is virtual accounting right for your company? You need to decide whether outsourced accounting makes sense for your business. If your current accounting processes fall into any of the categories below, chances are, you’re an ideal candidate for outsourcing:

    • Your current accounting procedures are time-consuming;

    • Your current accounting procedures are monotonous;

    • Or your current accounting procedures HAVE to get completed, but don’t add any strategic value to your company.

  2. Does outsourcing align with your company goals? Create KPIs that are both well-defined and actionable.

  3. Find the right vendor. Begin your search online and once you’ve narrowed down your selections to a handful of potential vendors, get in touch.

  4. Secure buy-in with key stakeholders. Before you go any further in the outsourcing process, make sure your key stakeholders are onboard with the transition.

  5. Bring all partners to the table. Create a roadmap on how to manage a seamless conversion.

  6. Analyze what your outsourced accounting setup will look like. This includes:

    • Validation

    • Demonstration

    • Breakdown

    • Communication

    • Tech Check

    • Timeline

  7. Transfer your knowledge. It goes without saying that if it’s important to you, it’s important to your outsourcing provider.

  8. Identify trends and opportunities. Communication should not cease once you launch. In fact, a reputable provider will keep you informed of any issues that may arise post-launch as well as any new opportunities that would benefit your company.

Read the full guide: Outsourced accounting step-by-step mini-guide

Accounting Tasks to Outsource

pile of accounting papers on table with tasks that can be outsourced

Accounting is not a nice-to-have for a business – it’s a necessity. If you think you can get by without any accounting function, you’re in for a whirlwind of a surprise (and not in a good way). When taking a look at your team members’ responsibilities, you probably know that a majority of their job involves spending copious amount of time on low-impact tasks. And although those tasks are necessary (like closing the books), they also take away the focus from furthering the growth of your company. In fact, research shows that the more disengaged an employee is, the less productive they become.

Fortunately, the cycle doesn’t have to stay on a never-ending loop. Here are a few functions you can delegate to virtual accounting teams:

… and many more.

View the interactive checklist: 101 tasks to delegate to virtual accounting teams

Top Mistakes to Avoid

U.S. business owner discovering some mistakes made by outsourced accounting company

Every company new to the outsourcing world knows that there’s potential for mistakes in the transitional process. And while mistakes can happen at any moment, it’s certainly not a planned calendar event. In fact, most businesses make the leap towards outsourcing for that very reason – to alleviate their current pain points (which probably includes costly errors). Take a look at which outsourcing blunders to steer clear of and how you can keep your outsourcing strategy from blowing up.

  • Going for the cheapest solution. It’s tempting to save a few bucks, but when it comes to investing in quality talent, being frugal with your money is not the route to take. At the end of the day, you’re already saving anywhere from 50-75 percent by taking your tasks offshore.

  • Being told what you need. You wouldn’t stand for your realtor telling you what type of house to buy, so why would you apply the same principle to outsourcing?

  • Don’t ignore soft skills when hiring for talent. Sure, the new provider looks perfect on paper, but are they a ‘culture’ match?

Read the full article: The 3 biggest outsourcing mistakes businesses make – and how to avoid them

Where to Outsource Accounting

accounting outsourcing team working for company overseas

When you think of the word ‘outsourcing’, you probably think of freelancers or contractors that set their own hours. However, outsourcing has evolved over the past decade and two countries have emerged as the premiere destinations for outsourcing: India and the Philippines. In fact, India was ranked as the top location for outsourcing according to AT Kearney’s 2019 Global Services Location Index, while the Philippines has tripled its global market share of BPO business since 2004, from four percent to 12.3%. As you can see, India and the Philippines are the top outsourcing hubs.

Read more: Why outsource to India & Location matters: Top 5 reasons to outsource to the Philippines

Choosing an Outsourced Accounting Provider

cfo, ceo, and coo talking about choosing a new outsourced accounting provider

Once you’ve set your sights on outsourcing, the road to choosing a provider might get a little bumpy. The last thing you need is to find yourself on the other end of a costly mistake. But that’s exactly what you’ll experience by selecting the wrong provider. Which is why we’ve summarized the top five most vital things to look for in a partner.

  1. Find an outsourcing provider with experience. If they have a track record of one client, chances are, they’re not very creditable.

  2. Make sure your company and corporate values align. You and the company you choose should mesh well. Moreover, your provider is an extension of your team.

  3. Evaluate the quality of outsourced talent when choosing an outsourcing provider. Just like you wouldn’t purchase a new (or new to you) car without driving it first, why would you partner with a provider that employs subpar talent?

  4. Find out about infrastructure and technology. Is your new provider ‘technology agnostic’? Are they able to provide ISO certification upon ask?

  5. Visit the facility when you’re choosing between outsourcing providers. Take the time to visit these offshore locations. These visits will give you a chance to get to know the people you will be working closely with.

Read the full article: Choosing an outsourcing provider: Top five things to look for in a partner

Empowered by the knowledge in this guide, you can now confidently navigate the world of outsourced accounting and choose the best solution for your company's growth. Here at Personiv, we understand the ins and outs of outsourcing and what it takes to succeed in today’s growing accounting landscape. With more than 35 years of experience across multiple time zones, we can help you find, hire, and retain top talent, all the while saving you money and time (a win-win solution).

Ready to get started? Get in touch with one of our experts and see how outsourcing can fit into your accounting strategy.

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