Who’s Wearing the “Accounting” Hat in Your Firm & Does it Fit?

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March 21, 2019

As a business consultant, I’ve been inside hundreds of firms, and overall, I could boil down their most significant challenges to two recurring themes: Not having the right people in the right role, and the “We’ve always done it this way.” – resistance to change. Making them even more challenging to resolve is that the lines frequently blur on these two topics.

Can you identify with any of these common scenarios?

  • You are the Principal of a firm and wearing the Accounting hat.
  • You are a small firm Owner, and the Front Desk or Office Admin is wearing the Accounting hat.
  • Your monthly financials aren’t completed for months and maybe not till year-end.
  • You lack a big-picture, strategic overview of your finances.
  • You’re in the dark about overall profitability, utilization, project performance, and cash flow.
  • You’re relying solely on your tax preparer to provide financial guidance, but they aren’t familiar with the specifics of your industry.

If you find yourself identifying with more than one of these situations, it’s more common than you may think, and costlier as well. Having the right resources can turn all these challenges around and provide timely and accurate financial reporting which will allow you to focus on growing your business and increasing profit margins. Fortunately, today there are options in the marketplace that provide the right resources without having to invest in additional full-time team members.

Is Outsourcing a Four-Letter Word?

Moment of truth here, while discussing this blog a teammate and I were juxtaposing different phrases that could be used instead of Outsourced Accounting – wondering if the term “outsourcing” makes people run the other way. Certainly, that was the case for many years, but the truth is that Outsourced Business Services, including Outsourced Accounting, have proven themselves to provide value to firms that are experiencing the red flag scenarios mentioned earlier. Also, more than ever before, firms of all sizes are embracing the idea of letting go of specific traditional in-house responsibilities. With the lightning-fast pace of technological advancements, more firms are turning to remote resources for technical services, drones for surveying and mapping, and digital plan development, to name a few, so why not professional services as well?

The reason we are even talking about outsourcing is that while almost every firm knows the value of healthy financials, many times this area is the last one to get the love and care it needs. Has your firm outgrown your accounting department, or is the same person handling things the same way they did 5, or even ten years ago? As the title of this blog implies, the hat just might not fit the person anymore. It’s critical that the right people are in the right role, but sometimes hiring additional employees doesn’t make sense financially.

This is the perfect indication that outsourced accounting services may be worth considering. Outsourcing might not solve all your issues, but it can do some heavy lifting benefit-wise for your firm including:

  • Industry and software expertise that provides insight into KPI information to accelerate growth and profits.
  • Accurate financial reporting is provided by certified and experienced accounting experts.
  • Timely, accurate reporting that allows you to make better, more informed decisions.
  • Specialized skills in accounting and technology mean you don’t waste resources on training.
  • Pay only for the work you need – and don’t worry about sick days or time off.
  • Scalable options – utilize for a specific length of time that you determine.
  • Avoid paying for professional assistance to fix mistakes.
  • Extra time for you to focus on growing your business.

Next Steps

While it can be challenging to have hard conversations with team members regarding new ways they may be utilized other than in Accounting, the payoff to your business and your team is exponential. Providing the opportunity for your team to focus on managing clients, building your business, and running the office efficiently will have a positive impact on the culture and improve employee retention.

Having the Right People in the Right Role is a Win-Win for you and your business. If you’d like to learn more about this approach and how it can pay off for your firm, register for our upcoming webinar.

Valerie Higgins - Stambaugh Ness