It’s a big decision to recruit a third party to manage any part of your business, and you shouldn’t take it lightly. If you choose the right outsourced specialists, your business has the potential to improve significantly. On the other hand, if you select the wrong outsourced service provider, you risk causing irreversible damage to your company, as you will encounter things like:
- Unproductive and disorganised systems
- Declining service standards
- Poor communication
- Unhappy customers
- Noncompliance with statutory requirements
Currently, many small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs find it difficult to hire someone with the right skills to prepare their company’s financial statements, manage bank account operations, analyse financial data, and prepare the outgoing invoices. Furthermore, it has become more challenging to find a qualified and eligible person at an affordable rate.
When you have decided to outsource the accounting & bookkeeping portion of your business, you need to know how the process actually works. Here’s how:
- Ensure Your Financial Information is Read-Only
While your bookkeeper must have access to your financial information, it’s prudent to take precautions by granting read-only access to such data so that it is neither modified nor deleted in real-time. While data can be accessed or “read”, ensure your accounting platforms or app easily provide access to various users without giving them full permissions. Furthermore, this prevents insertions or deletions of data as the bookkeeper works on your books.
Managing access to accounting platforms work best if you’re already in the cloud, as you only need to add the bookkeeper to your QuickBooks Online file. However, if you’re using a desktop program, you’ll need to either download a backup/portable file of your financial information and email it to the bookkeeper or set up a remote access to your computer.
The bookkeeper will also need access to your bank and credit card statements. You can authorise your bank to add him to your account as a read-only user to facilitate the pulling of monthly statements and viewing of cheque images. Otherwise, you’ll need to email them.
Other necessary documents and apps include payroll reports, tax documents, receipts, online bill payments, and access to financial apps like PayPal, Shopify, Stripe, etc.
- Switch from Paper to Digital
If some of your accounting and bookkeeping items and processes are purely paper based, it’s time to digitize them. Most remote bookkeepers work efficiently if they can digitally access items, such as paper invoices, receipts, expense tracking, and many others. Check online for freeware or low-cost tools and apps for all of them to facilitate your digital migration.
The efficiency of your business will be greatly improved if a high quality outsourced bookkeeper has everything he needs digitally. And, you have the added benefit of a digital paper trail for everything happening in your business.
- Establish and Agree on Mutual Expectations
Since your business is unique compared to others, you need to set mutual expectations with your bookkeeper so that he can attend to all queries effectively. This level of attentions requires you to answer the following questions.
- Do you want the bookkeeper work on a daily basis?
- Do you want weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly cash flow updates?
- What specific information do you want for every update period?
- What is the frequency of your communication with the bookkeeper?
- What are the specific times and dates for Q&A?
- Does your business ramp up during certain times of year to necessitate constant communication?
You need to align these questions with your bookkeeper early enough to create a level playing field.
- Outline the Accounting & Bookkeeping Process
To avoid monotonous questions from the bookkeeper, such as what expenses fall under what accounts, take your time to define a specific process for communicating their questions as well as a timeline for answering them.
The following are some of the efficient ways you can use to manage this process:
Use Google Docs
The bookkeeper continuously adds questions on an agreed section of google docs and you answer them on a consistent, pre-set pace. This ongoing list will serve as a reference material and you will find the questions thinning out every month.
The bookkeeper can utilize reports to show the accounts that were used and where each transaction was coded, so you can easily sift through and pinpoint the ones that you feel should be moved.
With many software available for tracking and storing receipts (Expensify, Shoeboxed, Neat, Smart Receipt Plus, etc.), you can give your bookkeeper read-only access to these sites so that he can see the receipt and the respective account it belongs to.
- Constantly Communicate!
Communication is the grease to any successful bookkeeper-client relationship irrespective of the distance. With many communication platforms available today, figure out the best that works for you: Phone calls? E-mail? Skype Text messages? WhatsApp? Constant communication is the only way a new bookkeeper will get your work done quickly and efficiently rather than waiting on you for answers all the time. You must also address issues promptly and re-examine expectations every few months to make necessary changes.
Outsourced bookkeeping may seem like an impossible solution, but as explained above, it’s quite easy. Tianlong Services is one of the outsourced bookkeeping and accounting leaders in the industry! You get the highest quality bookkeepers with expertise in your industry, pay reasonable hourly rates, as you concentrate on other core parts of your business. Our customized management reporting and KPIs help small businesses and organizations drive performance and profitability through data-driven decisions.
What are you waiting for? Call us TODAY!