what to consider hiring your next outsourced accountant

As your company grows, so do your accounting needs. Therefore, you need a solid system and expertise to help you leverage that data into wise (and profitable) business decisions. 

Time to grow your accounting team to meet those needs? Let's talk about your options and what to look for in the perfect accountant.

Why an Outsourced Accountant May Be the Answer

You may already be a believer in the power of outsourcing, but if not, let's take a quick look at hiring vs. outsourced accounting

With an in-house accountant, you're typically stuck with a set number of hours (and the costs that go along with them). We've all heard the standard family statistics about 2.5 kids and a dog, but we don't know anyone with half a child. You'll find yourself running into the same problem if you need a little more or less than one full accountant to meet your needs. You get one or nothing. 

There are also several additional costs for an in-house employee that can make them a lot more expensive than you'd think. For example, insurance, benefits, sick pay, and payroll tax matches all pile up to significantly increase the cost of hiring an accountant. On the other hand, outsourcing allows you to get precisely what you need and nothing you don't while paying a flat fee with no surprises. 

What else do you need to consider when choosing your next outsourced accountant? 

You Need Flexibility AND Communication

In light of the COVID-19 crisis we've all been through, business flexibility is becoming a no-brainer. If you want to operate smoothly during turbulent times, you need an extremely flexible accountant and great at communicating. 

Flexibility means your accountant needs to adjust as the business environment - and your business - change. Is your accountant able to accommodate changes in your needs and still provide high-quality service? If not, you may find yourself without help when you need it most. 

Communication is more than just talking. You need an accountant who listens to your needs and questions and takes the time to explain the numbers in plain English. They also need to be willing and able to communicate in channels that work for them. For example, if you need phone access at certain times, prefer to communicate via email, etc., make sure your accountant can accommodate. 

Having someone take care of your finances won't help your business much if you can never reach that person or understand what they tell you when you do.

Don't Just Find a Contractor, Find a Partner

Although your next outsourced accountant may technically be a contractor, make sure that's not all they are. Your company's financial health is too important to be placed in the hands of a hired gun who sees you as just another number on a spreadsheet. 

Your accountant should partner with you in making your company successful. They should take a proactive approach to identify problems before they come up and help you solve them. 

Find an Accountant You Can Grow With

One of the most challenging transitions for businesses to make is switching from one accountant to another. What happens when you outgrow your current accountant? What happens when you move from needing just a controller to needing the help of a CFO? Do you need to switch firms? Find multiple accountants who play nicely together?

The most straightforward and more practical solution is to work with an outsourced accounting firm with a wide range of services. This allows you to grow and adjust your accounting services as your needs change. 

In addition to growing with you, a full-service outsourced firm can be a lifesaver regarding the flexibility we mentioned earlier. For example, what happens when your accountant takes sick leave, goes on vacation, or goes on maternity leave? If you work with a single accountant, you're on your own or trying to find someone to fill in if the absence will be long enough. 

An outsourced accounting team gives you the flexibility to continue seamlessly. You'll work with someone on the same team who's already up to speed and has access to all the same information. In all likelihood, you wouldn't even notice if you weren't informed about the switch. This dynamic teamwork will make your life less stressful and ensure you never hit a bump just when you need your accountant most.

Next Steps

Take a good look at your business and identify your needs and goals. What level of help do you need? How rapidly do you plan to grow your business in the next year or two or five? 

As you reach out to accountants, have a list of questions ready to make sure they fit with your business. Take into account the areas we just discussed.

If you want to know more about Basis 365 and how an outsourced accounting department can help you reach your goals, check out how we can work together.

Josh Richards