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Looking to outsource your finance function? Start here with your free checklist

Slate Accounts knows the importance of having a good finance team. Our handy guide will help prepare your business to outsource finance and accounting.

Maybe your business was one of the lucky ones and grew exponentially during the pandemic. And now, your current finance and accounting team are overworked and need help. Or perhaps your bookkeeper has handed in their resignation and you’re finding it hard to find a replacement.

We recently gave you 5 reasons why outsourcing can boost your business performance, which people really responded to. But we also had some feedback that, while business owners could see the benefits of using outsourced accounting and finance services, they weren’t quite sure where to begin.

Because we understand the importance of having a finance team you can rely on, here’s our guide to getting your business ready for outsourced finance and accounting.

Signs your business needs to start outsourcing finance and accounting

Exhausted staff and departing bookkeepers are both great reasons to make the move and start outsourcing your business accounting. However, sometimes the signs are a little more subtle, yet make the need to outsource more urgent.

Lack of timely or insightful reporting to make crucial business decisions

Imagine missing a brilliant business opportunity because you didn’t have the correct reports in front of you when you needed them. Or an important financial deadline passes and you’re none the wiser.

Spending too much of your own time involved in the day-to-day finances

Chances are – unless you’re an accountant or bookkeeper – you didn’t go into business to spend all your time managing the numbers, which may be the very best reason for outsourcing accounting services.

You didn’t know there’s an app for that

It’s not surprising you don’t know about all the technological advances that could make your business more efficient. Finding the right apps for your business can be overwhelming, but they can also transform the way you do business. It’s not that we don’t love a good spreadsheet, it’s just that there are so many other tech options in the world of finance and accounting.

Your business is growing fast

A business that takes off quickly is a wonderful thing. But when you’re no longer spending a quick hour or two each week managing numbers, or your finance team can no longer keep up, it might be time for finance and accounting outsourcing.

Finance function turnover causes major business disruption

Maybe you’ve been meaning to get clear financial processes in place, but then your bookkeeper left and now it’s chaos. Outsourcing can help you avoid disruption and ensure you don’t have to panic about your finance staff leaving again.

Getting your business ready to outsource

So the signs are there and now you’re ready to outsource. But before you get on the hunt to find your perfect outsourcing partner, there are a few things you need to consider to give outsourcing the best chance of success:

Stability

Are your processes stable? They don’t necessarily need to be optimised, but they need to be stable. When you’re in the middle of big changes, it makes it hard for an external provider to make a difference and add real value. If this is where your business is at, it might be best to wait till things settle down.

Defined processes

Can you identify how things are being done? You don’t need to have your processes documented, but you (or someone in your business) should be able to whiteboard them quickly and easily. Being able to communicate your processes is the first step to making improvements.

Priorities

You’ll need to choose what you’re comfortable outsourcing and what you’d prefer to stay in-house. You can then prioritise and identify which processes to tackle first.

Clear goals

What does successful outsourcing mean for your business? Is it about saving money, improving processes, or gaining high level business insights – and specifically, what does that look like? Having a clear vision of your desired outcomes will help you to choose the best provider.

Communication preferences

How do you want or need to communicate with your provider? Do you need on-call access, dedicated staff, emails, or phone calls? Communication is critical to make it work, so it’s important to find a provider that works in a way that suits your business.

Your outsourcing provider checklist

When you outsource, you’re partnering with another business. As with any good business partnership, you want to ensure they’re a great fit.

Here are the questions to ask and things to look out for:

Staff

How do they attract, retain, and develop their staff?

Systems

What systems are in place to make sure work is accurate and completed on time? Can they give you what your business needs now, and can they grow with you?

Communication

How is communication managed between staff, customers, suppliers, and management? Will there be one contact person or a team?

Mistakes and errors

As they’re inevitable, find out how they address mistakes and quality failures.

Risk mitigation and security

How do they ensure the security of your information? Are there processes and procedures in place? Are there backups?

Memberships

Are they members of any professional bodies?

Commercial concerns

Including:

  • What liability are they prepared to take on?
  • What insurances are in place and what are they?
  • How and when will pricing change?
  • What are their contract terms and cancellation conditions?

Feel ready to outsource your finance and accounting?

If you know you need to outsource and your business is in the best position to start, we can help. Slate Accounts is ready to take on the processes and finance function work you need today.

We also keep an eye on things and provide the financial insights you need to ensure your business is ready for tomorrow. And we’d love to chat with you.

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