A CPA firm that does NOT provide Tax or Audit services?

A CPA firm that does NOT provide Tax or Audit services?

The value in not providing traditional accounting services

When most people hear CPA they immediately think tax and audit.  Lavoie CPA does NOT provide either service.  So, what do we do?  We provide world class accounting bundled with leading technology (Accounting as a Service) to help our clients succeed . But why don’t we provide tax or audit services?

  1. Our focus is helping grow your business.  We provide financial intelligence you can rely on to make informed financial decisions.
  2. We don’t want to become tax experts.  Staying on top of changes to tax laws and regulations is an exhaustive process. We rather partner with tax professionals and focus on what we do best – help grow your business!
  3. We can’t audit ourselves. Since we provide leading finance and accounting services, we can’t audit our own work.  However, our clients are always audit ready!

Why do clients come to Lavoie CPA since we don’t do tax or audit?

  1. We help grow sales.
  2. We turn finance into a strategic asset.
  3. We keep cost under control.
  4. We eliminate distractions and let our clients focus on what they do best.

Want to learn more? 

The right size company for AaaS?

The right size company for AaaS?

What Size Company Benefits the Most from AaaS?

Lavoie has had numerous conversations over the years with companies of all sizes regarding outsourcing or what we refer to as AaaS (Accounting as a Service).  AaaS is a form of outsourcing that combines people, process and technology to help companies gain a strategic advantage.  Some companies think they are too big to outsource any function. Others think they aren’t big enough.  So, what is the right answer?  They are both wrong!

FAO (finance and accounting outsourcing) started nearly 20 years with BP outsourcing its accounting functions to Accenture.  FAO has traditionally been a horizontal offering with a value proposition driven by cost reduction and efficiency gains targeted at large organizations.  So clearly the argument of an organization being too big has its flaws.

Smaller companies have been outsourcing payroll for years so they are already participating in a form of FAO outsourcing.  The next concern we hear from clients is that they will outgrow services.  This is certainly a possibility if you select the wrong partner that does not have the technology or staff to grow with you.  For example, if a company is only providing bookkeeping services, it is certainly likely you would outgrow them.  However, if a strategic partner is selected they will be able to grow with you and help you scale faster.

Large organizations are most often driven to outsourcing for cost reduction. However, as market requirements intensify, FAO solutions are increasingly becoming more industry-specific to provide strategic advantages and not strictly cost reduction.  In smaller companies outsourcing can also reduce costs, but more importantly it enables them access to a full finance and accounting team that leverages economies of scale.   Most SMBs can’t afford to hire an entire F&A department.  So, what often happens is the company may only have a senior level person and they are stuck doing daily tactical activities or they may only have a junior level person and they are responsible for critical items such as cashflow analysis.  Both have obvious weaknesses that prevent a company from reaching its potential.

AaaS solves this dilemma for SMBs.  Companies don’t have to worry about daily tactical items that keep them from focusing on the company.  In addition, they are provided with senior level advisory.  To further maximize efficiencies, Lavoie services also include access to the leading cloud technologies.  By combines people, process and technology we know AaaS can benefit companies of all sizes. info@lavoiepllc.com

10 Benefits of “Accounting as a Service”

10 Benefits of “Accounting as a Service”

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are often driven by a passion or cause – not spending hours on accounting and financial management.

SMBs face many financial challenges that affect cash flow including hiring new employees, increasing profits, employee healthcare, growing revenue and properly managing expenses.

Fortunately, technology has changed the game for SMBs. In the last decade, new technologies have enabled SMBs to compete with large enterprises.

Technology is only part of the equation.  Accounting as a Service (AaaS) is a hybrid solution that combines services with software; thus, the client can enjoy the benefits of professional expertise and leading cloud technology. This lays a great foundation, allowing companies to focus on revenue generating activities.  They are able to focus on future growth instead of being stuck analyzing the past.

10 Benefits of  Accounting as a Service

  1. Real-time visibility to your business performance via dashboards
  2. Reduce financial risk
  3. Increase productivity
  4. Be audit ready at all times
  5. Improved process flow and automation
  6. Eliminate staff turnover
  7. Cost savings
  8. Increased security
  9. Reduced IT headaches (upgrades and maintenance)
  10. Integration with your other applications to eliminate information silos

Interested in learning more?

5 Myths around Outsourcing Finance Functions

5 Myths around Outsourcing Finance Functions

Outsourced Accounting or Accounting as a Service (AaaS) provider can be the catalyst to take your organization to the next level.  For some SMBs, accounting is not looked at as a strategic function of the organization, but it should be.  It also shouldn’t take focus away from growing your core business.  Lots of SMBs don’t consider Outsourcing.  Here are 5 main reasons why.

1) They think it is too expensive

By using Accounting as a Service, you have access to shared service center.  Providers have put a lot of investment, thought, and execution into their model and have staffed accordingly.  With an AaaS provider you now have access to a full accounting department that often is less expensive than one full-time FTE.  This doesn’t even figure in technology costs that come with the service.

2) It is the same as bookkeeping services

Bookkeepers are responsible for recording daily financial transactions.  Controllers are responsible for financial reporting, internal audit and internal controls. CFO are responsible for financial planning, financial data analysis and strategic planning.  By relying only upon a bookkeeper you are stuck looking in the past and cannot see into the future to effectively make critical decisions for your business.  AaaS providers ensure daily transactions are done correctly but also greatly reduce risks and provide necessary forward-thinking strategy to help growth your business.

3) We can just do the same in-house

For most SMBs it is hard to justify the expense of having a bookkeeper, controller, VP of finance and CFO.  All positions have importance.  You don’t want to pay a senior level person to do daily transactions and you definitely don’t want to ask an entry level person to manage financial risks.

4) We cannot have any finance staff in-house

Often AaaS providers work with internal staff to fill voids.  Yes, providers can function as the entire finance department but often work with existing staff to help maximize their production.

5) We have more control and stability by utilizing in-house staff

Employees turnover and training are always on the minds of companies.  If you don’t have a defined professional develop plan for each employee, you are at risk of losing your top talent to other opportunities.  By using an AaaS provider you eliminate the risk of employee turnover.  You also will not miss a beat when people people are out sick, on vacation, or on leave.

What do I get with an AaaS?

  • Enterprise software platform (workflow, automation, dashboards etc)
  • Vendors paid on-time
  • Customers billed on-time and accurately
  • Employee expenses captured and reimbursed
  • Cash transactions reconciled
  • Timely payables collection
  • Accounts analyzed and reconciled on an ongoing basis
  • Financial and management reports delivered on-time and accurately
  • Scalability and rapid deployment, when needed
  • Regulatory compliance delivered
  • Audit ready
  • A finance and accounting function that is STRATEGIC
3 SMB Budgeting Mistakes – And How to Avoid Them

3 SMB Budgeting Mistakes – And How to Avoid Them

Small and mid-sized businesses (SMB) often have budget and staffing constraints – making it even more important to have accurate forecasts and budgets. Yet, SMBs tend to make small mistakes that often result in a financial loss – or worse – closing up for good. To create an accurate and solid budget that you can rely on; avoid the following three common budgeting mistakes.

1. Overestimate sales projections

Sales projections should be based on data and research; however, many SMBs pick a figure out of thin air. Instead, look at past sales, the conditions of the macro-economy and competitors to create a forecast that is realistic and relevant to your business.

2. Spreadsheet errors

As discussed in our blog post Can Excel Be Bad For Your Business?, there are plenty of companies that have suffered financial losses from Excel blunders. With as many as 90% of Excel spreadsheets being prone to errors, the easiest way to avoid mistakes is to move to the cloud. Software as a service (SaaS) systems offer remote access and the ability to collaborate among employees, which has many benefits. Not only can employees access the data from anywhere, anytime and from any device; but, employees can also collaborate and work on the document simultaneously without the risk of having multiple versions of the data.

3. Ignoring the budget

Creating a budget is of course important, but if you’re not following the budget it is not doing you any favors. It is important to continuously follow up with the budget to make sure you stay on track with your projections. The use of visual dashboards has made this much easier for finance leaders, as you can easily track expenses and compare with the set budget.

Budgeting mistakes can be detrimental for your business. Make sure you know what the common mistakes are and how to avoid them. If you’re interested in learning more, check out Harvard Business Review’s “Why Budgeting Fails” below.

HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW

Learn what is wrong with the current approach to budgeting and how to fix it. 

5 Myths About Outsourced Accounting

5 Myths About Outsourced Accounting

Outsourced accounting continues to be an alternative that businesses chose to pursue instead of doing the work in-house. In 2016, Deloitte found that outsourcing of financial functions was projected to increase by 27% globally. However, whether you’ve been considering outsourcing or not, you may still be hesitant to take the leap due to some myths that exist. Many of these beliefs are based on outdated information, misunderstandings and misconceptions. Because of this, we wanted to share the top 5 myths and truths about outsourced accounting.

1. Outsource = Overseas

The mere definition of “outsource” is that you obtain goods or services from an outside source; however, many make the mistake of thinking that outsource directly means that you obtain work from overseas. You can outsource your services to a local firm in your own city. The term does not mean that you have to hire someone offshore to complete the work.

2. Losing Control

While many may believe that outsourcing your accounting procedures is risky and makes you feel like you’re losing control – it is quite the opposite. Allowing another company to control and manage your business actually enhances your control. Outsourcing gives you real-time data that offers you better control over your cash flow and other performance indicators. Additionally, you set the guidelines and expectations for the provider to meet your needs.

3. It’s Expensive

Contrary to beliefs; outsourcing will most likely save you money. In Deloitte’s 2016 Global Outsourcing Survey, a majority of surveyed companies said the main reason they choose to outsource was because it is a cost cutting tool and allows them to focus on their core business. Instead of having to hire someone that you have to pay wages and benefits, you can spend your valuable time on growing your business. This allows you to focus on your core competencies and essentially grow your business while reducing cost.

4. My Business is Too Small

Small businesses may actually enjoy more benefits with outsourcing their accounting than larger firms. Outsourcing removes overhead costs that lets you shift more revenue to operational growth, while also freeing up your own time. Economy of scale usually leads to lower costs than if your small business does accounting in-house.

Related: Accounting Solutions for Early Stage Companies

5. It’s Not Secure

Sending sensitive information to a third-party can be concerning, but there are some questions you can ask your outsourcing agent to make sure your data is secure and safe. First of all, make sure you know whether the third-party is using a secured network for its business. Secondly, ask the provider what they do once they are finished with your files (do they destroy, store or keep them on hand?). Finally, if your outsourced accountant gives you access to data via cloud storage, you might want to ask them what security measures they use for data protection. Outsourced accounting can be done in a secure and safe matter; however, you need to make sure that whomever you choose can be trusted and is willing to answer your concerns and questions along the process.

What do you think about outsourced accounting? Have you been reluctant to take the leap on outsourcing due to common myths?