Partnering with the right financial outsourcing company can make a massive difference to your small business. A finance professional, such as an accountant or book keeper, can hugely benefit your business through financial planning, management, efficiency and compliance. There is also the time they can save you. A recent UK survey of 1,500 small businesses found that those with a professional financial support worked on average 6 hours less every week than those without.
Outsourced finance professionals also have experience and knowledge of the business options available during challenging times and know how to tailor these to each business they work with. This is why the SME businesses that thrived during the pandemic were those that engaged true financial professionals when making vital business decisions.
The important question for business owners is then not whether to engage a finance professional or outsourced finance function, but rather how to find the right one for your business.
Here are three steps to consider before making that crucial decision.
Step 1: Understanding your business needs
A common problem for small business owners is that they end up with an accountant who’s not a good fit for the business. This tends to come down to the business owner being uncertain of exactly what accounting function they really require for their business. It is worth taking some time to consider what your business needs truly are before searching for an adviser. Think about what systems and processes you need help with. Do you only need compliance services or would broader business advice help you grow?
Step 2: Know what you want from your financial outsourcing team
Now you understand what services you need from your accountant, it’s important to consider what particular industry knowledge and skills you are looking for.
When searching for an outsourced finance company you should consider if their client portfolio, business size and industry knowledge is suited to your small business. Knowing your business plans, you may be looking for specific skills from your accountant, such as cloud application knowledge or acquisition experience for example. And there are practical considerations in whether you prefer face-to-face meetings or remote contact or even a hybrid of the two.
Considering all of these details will make it much more likely you’ll find a finance team that will suit your business in the long-term.
Step 3: Take the time to find the right fit
Finding the right fit takes time and patience. But the time you give now will save you in the long run.
Going into your initial meeting with a checklist in mind will help you narrow down candidates beyond any sales pitch. Do they really understand the specifics of your business and industry? Do they seem proactive, not just in saving you money, but helping you grow your business? What have they achieved for other business similar to yours? Are they excited about working with you? What does your intuition tell you about them?
Finding out this information at an initial meeting will make this important decision a lot clearer and quicker.
The right time to consider outsourced finance is now
With the continued uncertainly of the pandemic and outcomes of Brexit, this is potentially going to be another difficult year for many businesses. Having the right accountant or bookkeeper in place will make all the difference to business success during this challenging period, so it’s worth taking the time now to find the right finance professional and give your business the best chance of success.