In Pursuit of Profit
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When you hear “outsourced accounting services” what comes to mind? Typically, business owners and managers think of times when they might utilize project-based accounting help or hire a short-term accountant to bridge a hiring gap. And while these are common times to use accountant consultants, they are by no means the only types of roles that these kinds of accountants play. Accountant consultants (also called fractional accountants) can fulfill a number of different roles to help drive organizations forward.
As an accounting services company we have a unique perspective that allows us to see the full scope of work that outsourced accountants can perform. Find out more about the types of functions that fractional accountants are performing at some of today’s hottest companies:
A backfill is needed when an accountant retires or leaves the workforce unexpectedly due to parental leave, medical necessity, or to care for a loved one. As our team explains when discussing the benefits of hiring a part-time accountant,
When your accountant goes on parental leave, it makes sense to bring in a fractional accountant to keep someone overseeing the finances of the company. Leaning on an outsourced accounting service during this time helps avoid legal issues that can arise by trying to bring in another in-house accountant while your accountant is on leave. Similarly, while an accountant is on short-term disability, long-term disability, or medical leave, a fractional accountant can keep financial operations running smoothly to avoid costly delays or oversights. However, unlike parental leave, when it comes to disability and medical leave, there is not a set timeframe to plan for. Because an employer cannot necessarily anticipate how long their accountant will be out (or if they will be able to return to work at all), hiring a fractional accountant provides the flexibility needed to keep the company’s finances in good order no matter how long the leave ends up being.
Another time when backfill support is needed is when existing employees get pulled away from their regular jobs to work on a critical project, for instance during software implementation or an IRS audit. When a time-sensitive, mission-critical project comes up, you can either bring in someone to handle the project or bring someone in to backfill the roles that your employees need to step away from while they work on something else for the time being. Hiring an accounting consultant during these times increases personnel to cover the company’s added needs, keeping business processes running normally and avoiding burnout among existing staff.
For companies not looking to bring in additional personnel, fractional accountants can serve a more advisory role – truly earning their “accountant consultant” title. Accountant consultants can perform process assessments to determine where the business can improve on financial processes like point of sale transactions, expense reimbursements, month and year-end close, financial reporting, bank and credit reconciliations, payroll, accounts payables, and so on.
The best fractional accountants will have the technological savvy to recommend apps and software to create efficiencies, reduce errors, and minimize fraud risk. As accountant consultants analyze a company’s processes, they will look for places where processes are paper-heavy and require significant manual work to recommend possible areas for automation and areas ripe for technological upgrades. And when process improvement creates an opening for a new financial management position, an accountant consultant can fill the role as well.
Accountant consultants can also oversee existing software platforms and applications. Whether it is the day-to-day management of the organization’s accounting software or a migration to a new platform, accountant consultants can act as platform administrators, undertaking activities such as onboarding new employees, setting permission levels, auditing platform usage, and installing upgrades to keep operations running smoothly.
In instances when a company’s existing software is not meeting their needs, accountant consultants can advise on which platform would be a better fit and handle migrating the company’s financial data over to minimize business disruption. Our team reminds business owners,
If you have been using the same accounting system for a while, better offerings are likely to be available now vs. when you last made a purchase decision. There are often more premium versions of the existing software available that you are already using. Other times, competitors of your current software system have innovated faster to develop better functionality.
Exploring these options are vital to keeping the business moving forward, especially when it comes to switching from a desktop-based accounting platform to an online accounting software. Accountant consultants are particularly adept at handling transitions to cloud accounting platforms to modernize legacy financial systems.
When an organization upgrades its accounting software or supplemental technology, there is far more to plan for than just simply the initial migration. The ongoing management of a new platform, tech integration, or mobile app requires careful planning on how to integrate it into the company’s tech stack and current workflows.
Without implementation support, an organization is at risk of underutilizing their technology, stymieing future growth potential. As our team explains when discussing how to support accounting staff, “It is important to remember that the work your employees are doing is a direct result of the tools and resources that are available to do it. Without the right inputs, their outputs will fall short.” Accountant consultants can offer implementation support to ensure that the new technology is set up correctly to streamline accounting-related activities as well as facilitate accurate reporting, collaborative data sharing, and internal controls adherence.
When you need to bring in an accountant consultant, please reach out to us. We have a wide network of fractional accountants that can perform all types of accounting functions to meet your needs. Whether it is backfill support or part-time accounting software assistance, we will meet you where you are to provide the right kind of support when your company needs it.