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28 November 2019 / Accounting Professionals

A CPA’s Guide to Outsourcing Your Bookkeeping Services

28 November 2019 > Accounting Professionals

If you’re a CPA working by yourself or if you own your own accounting firm, you may be interested in outsourcing your bookkeeping services. Accounting and bookkeeping are very different, so you may be able to preserve your accounting responsibilities while offloading the bookkeeping end of things. This is especially important if you’re also dividing your attention between accounting responsibilities and general business tasks, like high-level strategy, marketing, and advertising.

Many accountants are intimidated by the perceived complexity of outsourcing your bookkeeping services, but it’s simpler than you think. In this guide, we’ll teach you the basics of bookkeeping outsourcing and how to execute on your strategy effectively.

Why Outsource Bookkeeping?

Let’s start by focusing on the reasons you might outsource your bookkeeping services. Any number of these advantages may appeal to you (or all of them may), but it’s important to know where you stand before you start making changes to how you operate.

Consider the following:

  • Time savings.

    One of the most important advantages is getting to save time. Every task you offload to a bookkeeping service provider is a task you don’t have to do yourself. You can use this extra time however you want; for example, if you’re trying to sketch out a plan for your accounting startup, you can use the extra hours to wrap up that phase of your project. In any case, you’ll have more hours to do what you think is most important.

  • Workload accommodation.

    No matter how industrious you are, there will come a point where you simply can’t take on anymore clients. You may be willing to take on the new clients, and you may have clients asking for your services, but there are only so many hours in the day.

  • Bookkeeping quality.

    Bookkeeping is somewhat straightforward work, but it still needs to be done accurately. If you’re so distracted with your higher-level priorities and responsibilities, you may be tired or sloppy when it comes to these tasks. Assuming you’re working with a qualified partner, you can count on your bookkeeping being done as accurately and completely as possible. This can be a lifesaver.

  • Cost savings (and efficiency).

    Depending on how you outsource your bookkeeping services and who you partner with, outsourcing can greatly increase your efficiency and ultimately save you money. Rather than hiring someone full-time to take on the work, or suffering losses in other areas because you have to do the work yourself, you can pay a low rate to have some other qualified person do it for you. If you’re still charging your clients the same rate, this translates to a profit.

  • The simplicity of bookkeeping.

    , and there aren’t many different approaches to how it’s done. That means you can rest assured that the people you hire to take care of your bookkeeping services are going to do a good job. In other words, you eliminate one of the biggest disadvantages of other types of outsourcing: fear that the job won’t be done to your specifications.

Outsourced Accounting and Bookkeeping Services: How to Outsource

Ultimately, there are a few different ways you can outsource your bookkeeping services, each with advantages and disadvantages that make them ideal for different types of businesses.

  • Part-time workers.

    Your first option is to hire another employee part-time to handle the bookkeeping responsibilities. This is useful because it allows you to work side-by-side with someone, and could give you a route to a full-time hire if you need one eventually. However, employees tend to be

    , and they may have tough restrictions on what type of work they can take on or how many hours they can work per week.

  • Freelancers and contractors.

    Another common option is to seek freelancers and contractors individually. Because there are so many options, you can almost certainly find a good fit. If one freelancer becomes overwhelmed or unavailable, you can easily find another to replace them. However, freelancers tend to be less reliable and harder to find than either part-time workers or bookkeeping agencies.

  • A bookkeeping agency or similar organization.

    Your best bet is finding an agency, or a similar organization that connects with bookkeeping service providers. These organizations tend to be highly reliable, and they’re capable of finding a vast network of qualified workers on your behalf. On top of that, they likely have highly polished communication and task assignment practices that ensures the efficiency of your workflow.  

Outsourced Bookkeeping for CPAs: Choosing Your Main Priorities

Before you get further in your decision-making process, you’ll need to decide what your main priorities are. When outsourcing bookkeeping, all of these factors may be important to you, but some of them will ultimately be more important than others. Decide which ones are most important for your organization, so you can choose a partner who’s the best possible fit:

  • Expertise.

    Expertise should be one of your highest priorities. While bookkeeping isn’t quite as demanding as accounting, it’s still important that you have educated, trained people working on your tasks. This is especially important if you have a VIP client base, and you need to guarantee the security and integrity of your work. No matter what your priorities are, this should be one of your top picks.

  • Reliability.

    You also need to gauge the reliability of the partner you’re choosing, at least to some degree. “Reliability” here can refer to a number of things. For example, can you rest assured that this partner will be able to take on any assignment you give them? Can you practically guarantee a reasonable turnaround time? Are you sure

    if they run into any problem?

  • Security.

    It’s worth investigating to learn what kinds of security measures are taken by your prospective partner. Are they transparent about their security measures or do they seem to dodge the question? Do they have encrypted communication channels? How secure are their platforms overall? Workload potential. Just about every individual or organization will have an upper limit to the volume of work they can take on. If you only need a bit of help for a temporary period, this may not be an important considering factor for you. But if you’re planning to scale your accounting practice indefinitely, you’ll need to find an organization with a practically limitless upper ceiling.

  • Cost.

    Cost should be low on your list of priorities compared to factors like security and expertise, but you may still be working with a strict budget. Think carefully about the cost of the bookkeeping services you consider, and what you’re getting in return.

  • Communication.

    No matter what, you’ll need to communicate with your bookkeeping service provider. the smoother and more consistently that communication flows, the better. How quickly does this provider reply to your messages? How clearly can they articulate their perspective? Do they respond well when you give clear, concise instructions?

  • Reviews and experience.

    When reviewing potential partners, it’s also a good idea to evaluate the previous clients and experience this person has had, as well as the reviews they’ve gotten in the past. These may be hard to evaluate for a partner who’s just started, so they may take a backseat to factors like communication and upper workload potential.

Outsourced Bookkeeping for Startups: Getting Started

Now that you’ve understood the basics of bookkeeping outsourcing and you’ve decided on your main priorities, you’ll be ready to choose a partner and begin reaping the rewards of the approach. You can start by working with Taxfyle; we have a robust network of CPAs and freelancers who are all more than qualified to handle your bookkeeping services (and save you time and money in the process). If you’d like to learn more, schedule a demo of Taxfyle today!

Steven de la Fe

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