Outsource accounts, offsite accounts, call it what you will. The fact is that technology has made it easier than ever for professional services firms like architect firms, public relations agencies and advertising agencies to move their accounts function away from their physical premises. And the firms that are pulling the trigger are gaining a huge advantage over their competitors.
In the past, firms of a reasonable size would have had to employ an in-house accounts person, whether that be on a full-time or part-time basis, with all of the associated overheads to take on this role. But the times are a changing, progressive firms are realising now more than ever that it makes sense to outsource non-core activities like the accounts and the benefits are enormous.
Cloud accounting software like Xero, our favourite, has come on leaps and bounds in the last few years and it’s still early days really. The technological revolution has allowed for an electronic accounting data file to be saved securely in the cloud for access by multiple persons at any time through a web browser. It’s real-time data available and accessible like never before.
Ultimately it’s this accessibility to business owners that has led to rapid growth in accounts outsourcing across larger businesses like architect firms, public relations agencies and advertising agencies as opposed to smaller businesses traditionally. Why? Transparency – the biggest fear that business owners have about outsourcing is the concern that they lose control because they don’t have a staff member or team sitting in the next room that they can see and request information from readily.
Cloud accounting makes the whole process 100% transparent because you can see at any time a snapshot of where things are at by simply logging in to the accounting package via the web. Has the bank been reconciled?, what are our current debtors?, what debtors are overdue? Questions that can all be answered quickly and precisely with a few clicks of a mouse. The concerns around “are they doing what I’m paying them to do” are removed altogether and the focus moves to utilising the financial data on hand.
Fixed Monthly Pricing
Traditionally, an outsourced accounting firm would charge an hourly rate for their services. Why? If the scope of work is the same each month then an experienced service provider should be able to quote a fixed monthly price that encompasses all aspects of the regular workload. Sure, there’ll be things that come up which will require additional scoping, for example an unexpected ATO audit, but these occurrences are rare.
A fixed monthly fee for services removes the additional cost concern around communication also. You want to know that you can pick up the phone or fire off an email at any time as normal to request some information from your accounts team without it costing you extra. After all, an in-house team member wouldn’t charge you extra for their time!
And more to the point, you can almost guarantee that a fixed monthly fee will save you thousands and possibly even tens of thousands of dollars compared to all of the costs of having an in-house accounts person or team. There’s some handy dollars back on the bottom line, or redirected elsewhere in the business, to help gain that all important competitive advantage.
Many business owners understand the importance of lead indicators as opposed to lag indicators in business. The most successful businesses are the most proactive businesses who gain a significant competitive advantage by seeking out lead indicators to continuall make adjustments and improvements in their business.
An exceptional outsourced accounts provider, like The Finance Dept, will work with your business to define and report on your specific business or industry’s key performance indicators to help you identify trends and act accordingly, ahead of the competition. A reactive business owner, on the other hand, will never maximize the potential of their business because they will postpone change until it’s too late, making decisions based on lag indicators.
Great systems and processes make for prosperous businesses. A successful outsourced accounts process will only work efficiently and effectively with clearly defined systems. Many business owners and/or senior executives are unaware just how disorganised their accounts system may be, simply because great systems and technology haven’t been utilised and enforced.
The external nature of outsourcing very quickly highlights the need for proper systems. Great systems are critical to be able to leverage the relationship and allow everyone working within the business to continue to do so with minimal disruption and maximum benefit.
Professional services businesses we service here at The Finance Dept include:
Advertising, Public Relations and Marketing Agencies
It really does work and the benefits are immense. Technology, systems and communication are the key.
The Finance Dept is a Brisbane-based accounts outsourcing firm utilising qualified accountants at a fraction of the cost of an in-house accounts team to your business. We are an offsite (not offshore) alternative to having an in-house accounts team or financial controller.
Call 1300 855 721 or click here to see if you should take your accounts offsite.