Outsourced finance and accounting is one of the fastest growing areas for CPA firms and one of the leading values firms can offer their clients. It’s not just about helping clients get their accounting done right; it’s about leveraging accounting data to provide meaningful insight that allows client businesses to run more efficiently and effectively.
Historically, CPA firms have focused on accounting for transactions that were already completed by their clients. The resulting financial reporting was, however, too slow for an accounting-focused approach to be of much use in running most businesses.
Technology advancements have now made it practical for CPA firms to be part of the transaction process, which enables CPAs and advisors to deliver higher-value services to clients, such as the following:
- Helping clients focus on their business instead of their accounting
- Providing relevant, real-time information
- Supplying cost-effective access to technology, best practices, and expertise.
Focus on Business, Not Accounting
Helping clients efficiently complete and account for financial transactions allows them to spend more time on the business and less time on accounting. The efficiencies provided by a skilled services team and updated technology often convince clients of the benefit of changing their business approach.
This approach is also more efficient for CPA firms, as technology greatly lowers service costs and increases accounting accuracy, freeing up resources and allowing advisors to spend more time helping clients address issues that matter most.
CPAs and business advisors can also provide value by interpreting the resulting accounting and by providing advice about potential opportunities and pitfalls. The hands-on nature of outsourced finance and accounting services allows—and requires—more frequent client contact, giving advisors the opportunity to help clients address issues before they arise. This provides a much higher value to clients than reacting to situations after they have occurred, as some outcomes are irreversible.
Provide Real-Time Information Access Data
Many clients do not find traditional financial reporting very useful when making everyday decisions to improve business efficiency. Instead, they value easily accessible, real-time information about the key drivers affecting their business’s success. CPAs can help clients identify key drivers of success and use real-time, cloud-based technology to make that information easily accessible and understandable.
By using current technology and the appropriate procedures, CPAs can more easily produce the appropriate financial information for the differing needs of various clients. This management reporting approach does not, however, replace traditional financial reporting, which is often still necessary for audits, tax returns, investors, and banks.
Outsourcing finance and accounting services not only provides clients with access to advanced technology and technical expertise; it also allows them to pinpoint inefficiencies and transition their account management from reactive to proactive.
Unlike traditional, reactive accounting, proactive accounting can help a company identify and benefit from savings and growth opportunities such as legislation changes or tax savings. In the long term, proactive accounting can help clients save money, increase value, and gain credibility in the market.
Meet Client Needs
Clients’ needs vary depending on size, structure, and resources. CPAs provide value by operating as essential business advisors, engaging in personal interactions, assessing needs, and providing services tailored to each client’s unique circumstances. From startups to large companies, businesses across the spectrum can benefit from outsourcing in different ways. Examples include the following:
- Companies that are financially hands-off. Some companies have no finance or accounting departments and no desire to manage them. These businesses typically outsource all of their finance and accounting needs so they can focus on other things.
- Companies that need to supplement current resources. Some businesses have some, but not all, of the finance and accounting resources, technology, or expertise they need. Using outsourced finance and accounting services is a cost-effective way to bridge that gap. These services can scale as the needs of the business change.
- Companies needing technology and process expertise. Some companies have adequate personnel, but no experience using cloud-based technologies, processes, and best practices to improve the efficiency of their finance and accounting operations. It’s possible to outsource accounting technology and process expertise without outsourcing the personnel operating those systems.
No matter the approach, outsourcing can provide benefits beyond cost efficiency, offering a team approach with a range of skills and scalable resources that is hard to duplicate with hired employees.
Outsourced accounting is not just a productive way for clients to handle their business’s finance and accounting needs; it is a way for them to identify opportunities and respond to issues before those issues can negatively affect the business. As resources and technology continue to change, outsourcing is an increasingly important way for CPA firms to help clients improve efficiencies, analyze business operations, and add value to their business.