Managing Multiple Entities: A Guide to Effective Accounting
Businesses struggle with numbers all the time, and for multiple-entity businesses, this struggle is complicated as there are lots of financial statements to consolidate. This article will serve as a guide to help you learn the challenges of multi-entity accounting, the benefits, and the best practices for outsourced multi-entity accounting.
Multi-entity accounting is defined as the consolidation of the financial statements of the different entities of a business. It involves analyzing the finances of every division or part of a business to produce a general statement that gives insights into the financial aspect of a business.
Multi-entity accounting is more than maintaining financial records which is similar to bookkeeping.
An example of a multi-entity business is Meta, owned by entrepreneur Mark Zuckerberg which comprises entities like Facebook and Instagram.
Another example of a multi-entity business is Microsoft as it has branches across America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Each of the branches in these regions is an entity.
Importance of Multi-Entity Accounting for Organizations
Multi-entity accounting enables a business to focus on its core processes and be able to make informed decisions about them. This is because the accurate financial data of each entity helps businesses to streamline their financing and accounting operations as a whole to be able to expand and maximize profit.
Outsourcing multi-entity accounting simply involves allowing a third-party expertise firm to handle all multi-entity operations.
Benefits of Outsourced Multi-Entity Accounting
Access to Expert Accounting Services: outsourcing multi-entity accounting provides access to high-quality expert services since the team is usually comprised of subject matter experts dedicated to balancing finances and helping a business grow.
Reduced Operational Costs Compared to Hiring In-house Accountants: This is a no-brainer as hiring an in-house team means more expenses for the business which can include remuneration, training, and equipment. Outsourcing accounting can save as much as 50% on accounting costs.
Scalable Accounting Solutions: Outsourcing accounting provides a business with the room to easily scale for expansion. This means the expansion of a business doesn’t affect the quality of service, unlike in-house where more team members will need to be hired to manage operations.
Enhanced Financial Reporting and Transparency: With outsourced multi-entity accounting, there’s more financial transparency as financial data is more consolidated and consistent. This means there are readily available multiple reports that can be compared side by side which are also readily available. It is essential to be able to show complete and accurate financial reports for transparency and enhanced quick decision-making, especially for investment opportunities that can help the business.
Streamlining Workflows and Processes: Outsourced multi-entity accounting helps a business streamline its work and be able to focus on other aspects of the business such as gaining more visibility, seeking expansion opportunities, and attracting and retaining customers They also find areas to improve internal controls during an audit or automate specific processes to be more streamlined.
Improved Government Compliance: Outsourced multi-entity accounting can identify non-compliance areas with Internal Revenue Service regulations. They can pinpoint exactly where compliance efforts are lacking which an internal team may not be privy to, thereby improving financial compliance with the government.
Fraud Prevention: outsourced multi accounting ensures a proper vetting of financial statements. The extensive examination and audits of the account by an experienced third party provide a common ground for assessing financial health and detecting fraud which prevents the business from taking a significant loss.
Challenges of Multi-Entity Accounting
Managing Financial Data for Multiple Entities: It can be difficult to manage financial data, especially for businesses that have a large number of entities. This is because each entity has to be treated as a separate legal establishment and the data has to be tracked. This can be hard for many businesses to manage.
Accurate Financial Information: The higher the number of entities the more difficult it becomes to report financial information accurately and consistently. This can cause errors and reduce the accuracy of the collected data which can hurt business finance.
Ensuring Compliance with Different Accounting Regulations: Multi-entity considerations require balance across the financial statements of the entities. Regulations such as different currencies, tax laws, and accounting standards especially for businesses with international or interstate entities can make compliance difficult to achieve.
Balancing Autonomy and Control of Entities: Multi-entity accounting can make it difficult for autonomy to be balanced as the entities are treated as separate businesses and independent of others. If this is not properly managed, it can cause a business to lose control of its entities and decline in team/work culture.
Best Practices for Outsourced Multi-Entity Accounting
Choosing a Reputable and Experienced Accounting Firm: It is important to choose a reputable firm to prevent data compromise and ensure top-notch service. To be able to choose a reputable firm, study their customer reviews, testimonials, and case studies to make sure you’re entrusting your business to safe hands. This accounting for start-ups guide details everything about partnering with an outsourced firm.
Establish Clear Communication Channels with the Accounting Provider: For any business relationship to thrive, there has to be clarity on goals, objectives, and mission. It is ideal to have similar values on business ethics as this ensures compliance with set rules. Establishing clear communication channels also saves time as both parties communicate on the required channels at required times removing unnecessary back and forth.
Developing a Customized Accounting Plan for Each Entity: Both the service provider and the company need to have a customized accounting plan as the foundation for all operations. This makes it easy to trace accounts and check for accuracy. If accounting plans are constantly being changed, it makes it difficult to monitor accounts and detect errors on time. Hence, it’s necessary to consider the flexibility of the firm to adjust to the customized plan and eliminate friction.
Regularly Reviewing and Analyzing Financial Reports: A single oversight can be detrimental to a business hence, reviews should be done as often as required. This is to incorporate changes and trends in the industry for keeping financial records up-to-date according to standards.
Leveraging Cloud-Based Technology and Tools: Modern-day accounting is constantly improving as it’s mostly software based. A good firm should have a good understanding of software competency as they have access to newer and more effective technology. The use of cutting-edge accounting software for operations improves accuracy and work quality.
It has become imperative for multi-entity accounting to be employed by medium-sized and large-scale businesses. Not just for improving workflows and promoting financial transparency, multi-entity accounting provides but for even more room for a growing business to expand.
Outsourcing multi-entity accounting helps to mitigate challenges such as the accuracy of financial reports and ensuring compliance. However, not just any outsourcing firm can be trusted to perform effectively. And following the best practices may simply not be enough to meet your desired target. Such a process should be left in the hands of experts who understand the impact of business financial health.