4 Things all Startups should consider Outsourcing

4 Things all Startups should consider Outsourcing

Founders create businesses because they have a passion or expertise in providing particular goods or services to market and often get caught up on focusing on items outside of their expertise. Being a startup means there’s always more work to do, and not enough time to do it. It is easy to get caught in numerous non-value add tasks that take anyway from working on the business. That’s why most success startups outsource certain tasks to companies or individuals who specialize in providing valuable time-saving services for a fee.

With all the advancements in technology, it’s easier and more convenient than ever to outsource. Here are five things you should consider outsourcing to experts.

1. Accounting & Finance
Most entrepreneurs are not Accountants. However, understanding cash flows or analyzing profitability of a business is vital to its success. Too often startups neglect building an accounting process until profits go downhill or cash slowly drains away. Setting up an accounting process for your startup is critical to the long-term success. An accounting process is also important because it allows your business to look forward. Startups or small businesses that that don’t have an accounting process in place find themselves trapped by past actions or constantly worried about having enough money to pay bills.

In addition to accounting process, setting up an accounting system is important for your startup as it will allow you to see how your business is doing and allow you to make decisions to strategically position your business for growth.

Look for a firm that does more than just bookkeeping. Partnering with someone that goes beyond debits and credits and gives advice on such things as cashflow will help set you up for success. Technology is vital to help provide necessary insights.

2. Graphic Design and Web Development.
Coming up with a brand-defining logo, an attractive website, and print materials can be extremely time consuming and difficult to get right. Using a professional graphic designer will help your business look its best. They understand a lot of things that you may overlook. Whatever your goals, there’s a graphic designer with the talent, aesthetic sensibilities, and visual skills to fulfill your vision and enhance your company brand.

Look for a graphic designer that offers web development to help streamline the process and provide a unified message.

3. Web Research.
Prospecting for new business and keeping up with the latest developments in your industry can be time consuming and daunting. A web researcher can research information you, whether it’s gathering information and statistics for an upcoming presentation or looking up the names of companies and contacts for a leads list. They can also organize this material in a form that’s easy to use and read.

4. Administrative Assistance.
If half your day is spent sifting through your overflowing email inbox, returning call and making travel arrangement, a virtual administrative assistant (VA) may be just what you need to streamline that frustrating process and keep you from being inundated by a constant stream of on administrative tasks that keep you from more value-added items.

Before you waste your time on something that is not in your expertise, consider outsourcing. This will make your to-do list shorter and free you up to focus on the things you’re best at and that generate the most income for your business.

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

Technology Drives Accounting Efficiencies

Technology Drives Accounting Efficiencies

Technology is Transforming Accounting & Finance

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) recently came out with a report last month showcasing technology’s role in the future of finance. The report concludes that technology can revolutionize finance and accounting.

Technology has played a role in Accounting and Finance for numerous years.  Originally, most software was targeted to large enterprise due to its cost and complexity.  The cloud drastically changed the landscape by bringing enterprise type technologies to the SME market.  Now 80% of CFOs have cloud as part of their technology roadmap.   Here are the benefits technology brings as identified in an ACCA survey of CFOs:

  • Improving efficiency and productivity – 70%
  • Creating new value for a business – 53%
  • Reducing costs – 33%
  • Improving communication internally and externally – 20%
  • Improving quality and standardization – 20%

As technology advances the above numbers will even be higher.  Software companies have already begun to use artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Even though the returns can be great, it is important to be cautious about guaranteeing huge returns or overnight results. The report warns CFOs to use caution about where, when, and how they do or do not implement new technology.

A Technology Roadmap is Key

Technology is not automatically the solution. You need to understand your business goals and processes.  Automating a bad process doesn’t fix anything.  Implementing the wrong technology can be catastrophic and can possibly lead to employee turnover and insurmountable costs.

Companies shouldn’t rush into a decision, but also there is a lot of risk in not embracing technology and being left behind.  The solution is to create a defined technology roadmap.  A technology roadmap is a document which outlines the plan to reach short-term and long-term goals through the use of technology solutions. This type of roadmap typically provides key information which helps organizations make better decisions around technology investments.

Technology roadmaps are often driven by IT.  However, it is important for CFOs and other business executives to be involved.  They are the ones that understand short and long-term goals. Lavoie CPA continuously studies and evaluates technology.  We also have the business acumen to apply the right technology correctly.  Need help with a technology roadmap or software evaluation, give us a call.

Technology Drives CFO Success

Technology Drives CFO Success

Effective Virtual or Fractional CFOs Rely on Technology

Whether your CFO is full-time or fractional, CFOs are a pivotal part of your company leadership, helping you make crucial financial decisions and leading the execution of those decisions.   What makes an effective CFO?   Effective CFO’s excel at:

  • Capitalizing on opportunities while avoiding ricks
  • Strategic modeling driven by accurate data
  • Speed and accuracy for fast decisions
  • Data analysis and insight

No matter how qualified the individual is, without the right technology the job becomes extremely difficult.  Speed and accuracy drive much of their effectiveness and is almost impossible without the right tools in place.

Lavoie CPA recognized this from the start and has always combined  people, processes and technology.  We provide the necessary tools to quickly digest accurate data and be able to make informed decisions to steer the business down the best path.  With dashboards in place, companies can quickly see information in real-time and make changes were needed without waiting days, weeks or even months.  Lavoie CPA also has the expertise to intercept the data and make impactful recommendations.

The core technology we utilize is Sage Intacct.  Sage Intacct is an industry-leading financial management solution designed for the needs of strategic CFOs and their teams.  In addition, we partner with other leading software providers that maximize our clients’ efficiencies.  If you are looking for a virtual or fractional CFO also consider what technologies are being utilized so that you can fully maximize your investment.

 

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