Top Questions to ask when choosing a new outsourced accountant

Finding a new outsourced accountant is like finding a new mechanic; you don't know how good they are until it's too late. And while we don't replace a CPA or tax accountant, we work extremely closely with them to keep your accounts in order.

To help you succeed, we've developed a list of questions to help you find an accountant that is right for your business.

  1. How will your Team bring value to my business?

    This question probes how the outsourced accounting team sees their role in your business. What services would they recommend for you? How would they save you money? A proactive outsourced accountant will offer insightful ways to develop and safeguard your company and have clear examples of how to help you.

  2. What Services Do You Provide? 

    Most outsourced accounting firms provide a range of services, from assisting with monthly bookkeeping to payroll processing/payroll taxes. If the firm has several professionals, each will probably have a particular area of expertise.

  3. What types of problems has Your team solved for others in my given niche?

    Don't be afraid to ask for case studies so you can verify the outsourced accounting team’s ability to solve problems. Also, don't forget to ask for references and testimonials so you can back up the outsourced accounting firm's claims.

  4. How do you work?

    Your outsourced accounting team is privileged to sensitive financial information; you must trust and respect them. This question confirms whether your work styles are compatible and establishes rapport. Considerations such as whether the outsourced accountants focus on cloud-based technologies, prefer face-to-face communication, or supports virtual work may include all factor in your review.

  5. How accessible is your team?

    Make sure you can speak to your controller or another member of your outsourced accounting team when needed, and you won't be charged ridiculous rates for a short conversation or out-of-hours advice. For example, do you need appointments well in advance, or do they respond to quick emails or even urgent texts?

  6. How can you help me better manage my cash flow?

    Keeping a positive cash flow is the bane of many small business owners’ existence. But, it’s also an essential skill for a healthy, growing small business.

    Ask your outsourced accounting team to help you understand your cash flow, analyze problems or areas to improve, and make plans to manage it better. In addition, your controller can point out cash-flow tendencies in your business that you might overlook.

  7. What changes could I make that would help my business?

    Although your outsourced accounting team are not business coaches or financial advisors, they are experts in finances and know your business. They also know how to analyze and understand all the daily financial data you collect.

    As a small business owner, it's easy to get so busy in day-to-day operations that you don't take the time to plan for the big picture. Use some of that time with your outsourced accountant to do just that.

  8. How will you improve my company’s bottom line?

    Your outsourced accountant's job is to use all legal means to minimize your financial risk and exposure. Therefore, you should have provided the prospective accountant with an overview of your financial situation. Then, if they studied what you offered, they should have formulated some basic ideas about how you can hold onto more of your money.

  9. How do you calculate your fees? 

    Some outsourced accountants charge by the hour; others operate on a fixed-fee basis or a value billing system. It would help if you were clear before selecting an outsourced accountant for your business on calculating their fees

  10. Why should I hire you as my Outsourced accounting team?

    You’ll want to hear a spirited and logical answer to this question and not simply receive a shrug of the shoulders. If the prospective outsourced accounting team representative can’t make a solid argument for why you should hire them – you probably shouldn’t.

You can use these questions as a starting point for assessing the suitability of potential accountants. Consistent questioning will help you spot trends and differences in the answers, giving you a firm basis to decide.

You’re likely to be working with your outsourced accounting team for many years, so it’s well worth spending a little time and effort to make sure you hire the one that best matches your needs.

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