In Pursuit of Profit
Experts sharing tips about business, money, taxes...
to support your mission and improve profits.
In Pursuit of Profit
to support your mission and improve profits.
As an accounting recruiting firm and financial services provider, we work with businesses everyday who ask, “Should we hire or outsource our accounting needs?”
This question is especially important for companies in the startup phase because they likely have significant cash flow concerns to consider. However, startups may also have other unique characteristics that make this question more challenging to answer, such as:
While every business will have their own unique needs and challenges, it is generally best for a startup to outsource their accounting activities initially and then hire internally as their needs change. Where does that shift happen?
“Finance” is a broad term every business leader has heard, but it can mean many different things.
Businesses have banking relationships, investments they need to track, fundraising and financial analysis needs. Corporate Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A), the work performed by Financial Analysts, is a complex specialty within Finance that all successful businesses need in some degree. There are multiple FP&A components of which every business requires a different combination. This complexity makes hiring to satisfy your FP&A needs difficult. To make matters harder, many accounting and FP&A functions can overlap.
So how do you know if you need to hire a dedicated Financial Analyst or a hybrid accountant? It helps to first understand the components of Corporate FP&A, the value each adds, and how much time each activity should take.
A guest post from our partners at CFO Selections.
With an increased focus on financial planning and analysis (FP&A) in recent years, many companies have begun asking, “Do accountants do financial planning?”
For cash-strapped startups and small businesses the temptation to simply add to their accountant’s workload is strong. However, this is not a wise decision. While overloading any one role presents problems on its own, entrusting accountants with FP&A poses its own unique risks.
The differences between accounting and FP&A necessitate that it be handled by separate personnel with unique skillsets and performance objectives. Understanding what FP&A entails and what is at stake can help organizations make smart decisions about who should handle this critical responsibility.
The 2020 pandemic caused significant change across the business landscape. CEOs and business owners were put to the test as they decided how to strategically navigate the effects of the pandemic. As a result, many business owners have realized certain aspects of their company’s financial operations may shift indefinitely.
As the practice manager for an accounting firm, I’ve been in a unique position throughout the pandemic because I’ve witnessed our client pool expand to include companies that would never have considered using a third-party accounting company to handle their accounting needs before. However, these business owners were put in a difficult position when in-person work was shut down and some key employees had to take time off for sickness or family obligations. Some lost their accountants to virtual school responsibilities, while others were forced to upgrade their desktop accounting systems to cloud-based versions so employees could collaborate remotely.
As a result, business owners have now experienced first-hand that their bookkeeping and accounting work can be performed remotely without having to sacrifice quality and efficiency. In other words, the same value can be realized whether day to day accounting is being performed remotely or onsite.
Let’s look at what business owners are telling our accountants, and what this means for the future of accounting and finance.
We see a variety of circumstances in our practice at ASP, whether it be outsourced consulting needs, or an organization growing and needing to consider a fulltime resource. Our recruiting efforts are responding to those fulltime needs daily. The pandemic has shifted the business landscape significantly, making strong financial leadership universally important.
Small companies that previously had their CEO at the helm of financial operations have realized that they need a fulltime controller to oversee their accounting operations and staff. With the increased demands of operating during financially uncertain times, CEOs need to focus on their core role of running the company overall (pivoting and shifting as needed), while entrusting another professional with the financial management of the company.
As a result, hiring a fulltime controller is no longer optional these days with the following business trends occurring:
The next round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans is now open, and businesses can apply through the end of March. Borrowers that received First Draw PPP Loans and have already used or will use the funds for authorized uses can apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan.
While the first round of PPP loans was launched quickly with little prep time for advisors, many firms have since dedicated significant staff to assisting clients as they evaluate their financing options and submit PPP loan applications. The result is better support for organizations faced with making difficult financial decisions as they navigate an uncertain business landscape. So, as you consider applying for a PPP loan this time around, lean on an experienced third-party financial consultant to help you understand if you qualify, what the differences are from the previous round, and whether this type of lending is the best fit for your specific circumstances and long-term goals.
Since this is the second go-round, the rules are more clearly defined this time, leading to less ambiguity and confusion than there was with the first loan program. Some of the differences this time around include:
There are plenty of resources about the benefits of outsourcing, yet many business owners are still resistant to outsource their bookkeeping.
Even businesses that outsource other activities tend to keep a tight grasp on their financial functions. Because cash flow is so important to small businesses, bookkeeping and accounting tend to be some of the last functions that business owners are willing to relinquish control of when they formulate strategic growth plans.
But why? Why are some business owners still against outsourcing their bookkeeping?
Recent data shows that on average employees change jobs every 15 months. Contributing to this turnover is a lack of employee satisfaction in the workplace. Globally, 85% of employees are unhappy at work, resulting in diminished productivity and increased employee churn. Furthermore, survey data shows that 40% of dissatisfied employees change jobs as a result of their dissatisfaction.
Top employers understand that replacing employees is expensive and can thwart efforts to innovate and grow revenue. In fact, it can cost up to a third of an employee’s salary to find a replacement. And while employee turnover can cost a company greatly, employee retention can increase profits as well as provide a host of other benefits.
Reducing costs and boosting revenue makes employee retention a win-win. Improve employee retention rates this year by investing in your employees in six critical ways:
As business technology continues to get more sophisticated, business owners may wonder if an accounting software can simplify their staffing needs while still providing high-quality bookkeeping and financial reporting. Accounting software companies would have you believe that managing your books is as simple as generating customer invoices, adding receipts for your expenses, and linking your bank accounts. And while software can certainly streamline these day-to-day operational activities, the question still remains, are these types of platforms a true substitute for your in-house or outsourced accountant role?
So, can you replace your accountant with some shiny sleek software?
Cost cutting is the benefit most often associated with outsourcing. Subsequently, business leaders looking to reduce expenses may jump at the opportunity to move costly functions to third-party vendors without regard to the numerous ways that outsourcing can be advantageous to other areas of the company. However, it is important to recognize that while cost savings may occur, this is not the only benefit of business outsourcing. In fact, cost cutting may not even be the biggest benefit.