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
Real-time visibility to your business performance via dashboards
Reduce financial risk
Be audit ready at all times
Improved process flow and automation
Eliminate staff turnover
Reduced IT headaches (upgrades and maintenance)
Integration with your other applications to eliminate information silos
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.
Outsourced accounting continues to be an alternative that businesses chose to pursue instead of doing the work in-house. In 2016,Deloittefound 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. InDeloitte’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.
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?
As you may have noticed, we recently launched a new website in addition to a new brand look in the form of an updated logo, colors and tagline. We embarked on this re-branding journey a few months ago because we wanted our brand to better represent our unique position in the market as a nontraditional accounting firm that also focuses on cloud-based software solutions. We believe that our new brand better displays our role as a strategic and innovative partner to our clients.
Since 2009, our main focus has been to help our clients in accounting and technology solutions; however, our old logo did not tell this story. Therefore, we are very excited with our new logo that has specifically incorporated design elements from accounting and technology. The “o” in Lavoie is interestingly based on the design of an abacus; a counting frame that was used as a calculating tool before the Hindu-Arabic numeral system was adopted.
New Tagline – “Efficiency Reimagined”
“We are very excited to reveal our new and fresh look and tagline, which speaks toward our innovation and ability to help clients reimagine new ways to accomplish their goals,” said Sharai Lavoie, CEO and Managing Member.
Needless to say, we are excited for our new look and hope you enjoy browsing our new site!
Early stage companies can often struggle to keep up with their day-to-day accounting requirements. This is especially true, as founders and management try to handle accounting in addition to all their other responsibilities. This challenge is compounded as business activity and business complexity increase. Accounting solutions for these types of companies vary of course depending on their industry; however, outsourcing accounting services can be beneficial in order to keep staff focused on core competencies and revenue-generating tasks.
Nothing is more important or sensitive to your business than your financial position. That is why you should invest in both people with deep experience and an infrastructure with enterprise strength. Early stage companies can find solutions to their day-to-day accounting requirements by outsourcing the following services:
1. Transactional Requirements
This includes accounts payable, accounts receivable, bank reconciliations, payroll processing, asset tracking, etc.
2. Financial Control and Decision Making
This could be for a short term engagement to review processes, set up budgets or refine financial reports or on a continuing basis. Additionally, early stage companies can hire a consultant to act as the CFO/Controller that oversees daily activity, managing cash flow, communicating with tax advisers and presenting financial status at board meetings.
By leveraging resources and enterprise quality accounting applications, you will have the controls, confidence and focus to help drive operational improvements in your business. Companies in the early stages usually need to spend most of their attention on acquiring clients, developing business and performing their core competencies. The day-to-day accounting requirements can add to the stress of all the other challenges of being in the starting phase of growing your business. Deciding whether you should outsource or not depends, of course, on your situation and business; however, it undeniable that outsourcing services that are non-revenue generating can be extremely beneficial and valuable.
According to Intacct, 89% of firms who have already shifted to cloud-based technology wish that they had made the move two years earlier. The rise of cloud computing is arguably the single most important technology story of the past decade. During that time, countless companies have moved some or all of their IT into cloud environments.
Because quite simply, cloud computing has a lot of advantages over traditional on-premise accounting. With the cloud, a company can shift a lot of its IT responsibilities to a third-party vendor, while enjoying greater performance. Additionally, the cloud is the less expensive solution, since organizations don’t have to purchase hardware and only pay for the services they use as they go.
In addition to requiring fewer human and financial resources to operate, business leaders are looking to cloud based accounting solutions because of the deep insights into financial performance that these solutions provide. Today, firms want to look beyond basic measurements and take into account operational metrics as a means to a far better view of how the business as a whole is performing. And to get that level of insight and awareness, more advanced accounting solutions are absolutely essential.
What Metrics Are Businesses Looking to Measure?
Cloud based accounting solutions can keep track of retention rates, customer acquisition costs, customer life time value, fluctuations in monthly recurring revenue and much more, all in addition to accounting basics. With information in hand that is tailored to the specifics of their businesses, leaders have a 360 degree view of the organization and how it is interacting with customers and clients. That depth of information enables more informed decision making and a nimbleness that leads to a serious competitive advantage.
Clearly, vastly superior information is available to companies who use cloud based accounting and financial solutions, but not everyone has made the change. Why??? Because change is difficult. We fear disrupting our business routine, we are comfortable with Excel and Quickbooks, we don’t want to bother with training, etc. But switching to a cloud based accounting solution really isn’t that difficult.
We have transitioned countless companies, both large and small, to cloud based solutions, and the one thing each transition has had in common is that EVERYONE has exclaimed over the ease of implementation and staff training. Don’t worry! Go for it! The transition will be over before you know it, and like 89% of companies already utilizing the cloud, you will be wishing you had made the change years ago!
If you’re interested in learning more about financial planning and analysis in the cloud, check out our eBook below!