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What is a fractional accountant and when do you need one?
It may sound cliched, but fractional accountants are whatever you need whenever you need them.
Fractional accountants are the “a la carte” version of accounting professionals. These financial professionals can be hired to do any number of financial functions, handling everything from financial reporting and cash flow management to tax preparation and internal controls. They can do part-time work, project work, and interim assignments while working on-site, off-site, or a combination of the two. Essentially, a fractional accountant can provide as much or as little work as you need.
Most often though, fractional accountants are brought in to assist existing accounting teams, work on special projects, and supplement software systems.
As business needs expand your current employees may not have the availability or skillsets to keep pace with those changes – a fractional accountant can meet additional needs and fill those gaps. When your accounting needs increase but not to the level of needing to hire another full-time, in-house role, hiring a fractional accountant allows you to get more work done on a budget. And hiring a fractional accountant role converts what would otherwise be a fixed cost for a full-time hire into a variable cost, facilitating better cash flow management.
Do Project Work
A fractional accountant is a great and affordable hire for a project when the rest of your accounting and finance staff is busy doing their day jobs. Short-term financial needs around regular financial functions like tax planning and filing are a perfect fit for a fractional role.
However, these are not the only types of projects that necessitate a third-party accounting hire. Project work that arises during transitional periods like opening new markets, hiring pushes or downsizing, buying another business or selling your business, require an accountant’s experience to strategically guide the business through these critical changes. In a resource on how to adapt to business shifts and market disruptions our team explains,
An experienced accountant should be overseeing the financial components inherent in these types of adaptations. However, many business owners want to avoid the significant costs of hiring and retaining an accountant in-house. Outsource financial functions to a third-party accountant to draw on the expertise of a dedicated professional without hiring in-house.
Technology does not replace the need for an accountant, because, as our experts explain, “A financial professional is still necessary even with an online accounting software because technology is only as good as its user’s proficiency with it.” Remember, even the best solutions still need oversight to ensure they are being used properly and being used to their fullest. And while regular reporting and ongoing activities can be automated ad hoc work will always exist, necessitating an accountant, even if the role is just part-time like a fractional accountant.
Furthermore, fractional accountants are accustomed to working remotely, so they are in a great position to recommend digital solutions to improve efficiency and accuracy. Current accounting trends show that,
While about three quarters of businesses use a cloud-based accounting software already many still do not use supplemental apps and standalone platforms to streamline functions like sales tax calculation and employee expense tracking. Third-party tech add-ons can create significant business efficiencies while simultaneously allowing greater scalability. Additionally, leaning on the right technology improves accuracy over manual calculating, tracking, and reporting.
Leaning on a fractional accountant to advise on how to supplement additional technology is a strategic way to ensure your financial operations will continue to benefit from the investment in a fractional accountant even when the individual is not working for the company.
Provide Cost-Effective Accounting Expertise
A fractional accountant is less expensive than a full-time employee because they either work on a less than full-time capacity or just work for a set period, doing project or interim work. Fractional accountants can also be hired faster than their in-house counterparts, which means they can be brought in more quickly, further reducing their overall expense.
If you are looking to hire a fractional accountant, please contact us to get an experienced professional working with your company for as much or as little time as you need.