When we spend time with our fellow accountants at events, they often ask us as we’re tucking into the buffet “why would I want to get involved in outsourcing?”
It’s a fair question. If you’ve never tried it, it can seem a bit mysterious. And, let’s face it, some people have had their fingers burnt by budget services, managed poorly.
In recent years, though, outsourcing has changed a lot, and if you know what you’re doing, can be an incredibly powerful tool.
Can Accounting Be Outsourced?
Some people resist the idea of outsourcing accounting functions because they simply can’t see how it can possibly work.
We operate an accounting practice ourselves so, to a degree, we can empathise with their concerns.
Accounting work requires care and precision, which translates into careful supervision. And how can an overseas team have any connection to UK-based clients?
The fact is, though, a lot of what we do is routine and repetitive. Once relationships, systems and processes are in place, things like VAT returns, payroll and bookkeeping tasks can easily be managed by someone outside your organisation.
As with anything, it’s about thinking it through carefully and planning. As long as you outsource the right things, to the right people, with the right communications systems in place, there’s no reason to doubt it.
OK, so it can be done – does that mean it should?
Why Outsource Accounting
There are so many good reasons but we’ll give you five.
First, it can empower you to reduce your permanent staff headcount. That, in turn, could give you the option of moving to smaller, more affordable premises.
Secondly, for accountancy practices, it’s a great way to test out offering new services to your existing clients without investing upfront in software or hiring specialists. Expanding your offer to include payroll or bookkeeping can be a great way to increase the amount they spend with you.
Reason three: with in-house business finance teams in mind, it can actually increase security and reduce the risk of fraud. It can be hard to manage best-practice separation of duties in a small team, but building outsourcing into your processes and controls can help solve that problem.
Fourthly, there’s the option to flex. You might want more support at year-end or during self-assessment season, without taking on staff who’ll be twiddling their thumbs the rest of the year. Outsourcing is a great way to temporarily boost your capacity.
Finally, there’s the sheer quality of the work. To put it bluntly, you get a lot of bang for your buck. The members of our overseas team constantly blow us away with the depth of their knowledge of the UK tax system, their work ethic and their attention to detail.
But every accountancy practice or business is different so check out our case studies page for more examples of how outsourcing has worked in practice.
What is the Process for Outsourcing Accounting?
The easiest thing to do, obviously, is work with a specialist outsourcing firm like us, based in the UK. That keeps things simple, makes staying in touch easy and gives peace of mind.
Practically speaking, it’s just a matter of building the right package of services for you, briefing the overseas team and putting you in touch directly. We’ll always be on hand to oversee and review the results and the process.
One of the challenges of outsourcing used to be communications. We all struggled with dodgy phone lines and the challenge of getting paperwork shipped out and back. These days, you’ll hardly notice that the team is in another country thanks to video calling, email and the magic of cloud accounting.
If you’re still not convinced, feel free to give us a call so we can answer your questions.