In today's world, you are no longer limited to the talent available in your neighborhood. Technology has made it possible for people around the world to connect and collaborate on projects, no matter where they are.
That's what outsourcing is all about. It has considerable benefits for employers in terms of affordability and access to diverse talent, while employees get a chance to embrace those opportunities that give them global exposure.
Outsourcing is not new to the accounting industry. Of course, there is some initial hesitation around hiring outsourced accounting firms. But if you keep these best practices in mind, your firm can do wonders:
1. Decide which tasks you wish to outsource to them
The first step towards making the most of a virtual accounting team is to choose appropriate tasks that they can do faster and more efficiently than your in-house team can.
For instance, you may wish to go for payroll outsourcing or tax preparation outsourcing for which your supervision isn't required. Be sure only to outsource those functions which are taking up lots of time of your in-house team or for which you don't have the expertise.
2. Team up with a staffing agency
Given the multiple job portals and the vast number of outsourced companies out there, it can become time-consuming for you to evaluate the prospects all by yourself.
If you are planning to work with an outsourced accounting firm, consider partnering with a staffing agency. They will take all the heavy lifting off your back in terms of posting job descriptions, evaluating business portfolios, and shortlisting potential outsourced accounting firms.
They can also verify the firm's credentials and past work to ensure that the best fit joins your practice.
3. Choose the right virtual accountant for your business
Outsourced accounting firms cater to different kinds of businesses, so you need to hire a team that has experience working in your particular area.
For instance, if your accounting firm mostly provides forensic accounting services, you should try to hire a team of accountants who have experience working in this domain.
Besides, try and choose an outsourced accounting team that caters exclusively to your industry rather than a 'generalist.' If they have concentrated experience in your industry, they can understand the potential ups and downs and give you tailored advice to improve your accounting strategy.
4. Maintain regular communication
Given the vast variety of enterprise tools and software out there, communicating with your outsourced accounting team is easy even if you are at the opposite ends of the world.
Cloud accounting is the best way of connecting with virtual teams, as everyone has access to data, company resources, and communication portals, irrespective of geographies and time zones.
Besides, tools like Slack and Skype allow everyone to stay in touch throughout the day and have joint or one-on-one conversations whenever needed. And with such devices, conversations are always logged and recorded for reference at any time, so no one can claim that they weren't informed.
5. Establish virtual check-ins
One common misconception about working with outsourced teams is that the business owner has no control over what team members are doing during work hours. However, tools like Slack allow managers to check in on employees throughout the day.
Therefore, when you sign a contract with an outsourced accountant, there will typically be an online financial dashboard where you can track every activity and ensure that your business funds are going where they should.
You can also agree upon a fixed time every day when your outsourced accounting firm will log in and give an account of what they have been doing, keeping the different time zones in mind.
6. Schedule one-on-one conversations with your outsourced team
Apart from the joined discussions, it is also crucial for you as a business owner to personally check in with your virtual accountants. Try and schedule Skype conversations where you each grab a coffee and chat.
That is the right way for you to answer any doubts that they have, including any information that may need for work, and also maintain a good rapport with them.
By practicing this, both of you can establish a better business rapport and work amicably and efficiently together.
If only hiring and managing outsourced accounting firms were that easy. The good news it is! Most tax & accounting firms we work with face difficult decisions regarding their growth. Their key challenges include improving efficiency, increasing margins and freeing up the time of senior staff to focus on business development.
That’s where our 500+ qualified accountants, including 50+ Xero-certified professionals, enter the picture to deliver day-to-day accounting & bookkeeping, routine taxation work along with monthly financials and financial consult - so you can scale up your business in a cost-effective and risk-averse way.
If this is something that interests you, then let’s meet and have a quick discussion! We are attending the XeroCon San Diego 2019 on June 18-19, and we were hoping if we could meet there.