Accounting is one of the most crucial aspects of almost any business. If you intend to outsource your company’s accounting functions to a third party, it is absolutely important to carefully assess every facet of such a company’s activities before reaching a conclusion.
Here are core tips for choosing a professional accounting firm for your business:
State your expectations and find out if they can deliver them
Your search for a professional accounting company should start with a clear definition of what you want from the company and the value you expect the relationship to bring to your business. Find out if the company you intend to partner with can deliver what you expect in terms of value and ROI. Do not conceal your expectations.
Discuss your expectations with the companies. Tell them exactly what you want, how you want it, and how you intend to measure their performance. This approach will prevent misunderstanding in the future if they fail to meet your expectations. Also, ensure all agreements are done in writing and signed accordingly.
Growth and size of the accounting company
Experience is crucial in accounting. Before outsourcing your accounting functions to any company, do some research on the level of growth of the company in recent years. If the company has shown a positive level of business growth, it could be an indication of the quality of services they render clients.
Find out about the internal structure of the company and the level of experience of the experts they can boast of. Outsourcing to a startup may not be such a good idea, although some may deliver beyond expectations. But outsourcing to an established professional accounting firm will ensure your business accounting is in safe hands and you wouldn’t have to bother about ROI.
Track Record of the accounting company
The track record of any accounting firm is a reflection of the quality of service it renders clients. Find out if the prospective accounting firm has a track record of service commitment or if it has a recognized reputation within its own industry. Also, find out if the company tracks customer satisfaction level, which is a strong indication of the extent they are willing to go to ensure customer satisfaction.
Feedbacks from previous customers
Listen to what previous customers are saying about the prospective accountants you are considering. One easy way to start is to go online and search for reviews. Find out if an unsatisfied client has written a piece about the company or if a satisfied client has recommended them. But do not stop there, ask the accounting companies to give you a list of their previous customers. They will have no problem with providing you with such a list if the quality of the services they are rendering is top-notch.
Data security is as important as your business accounting or even more. Before outsourcing to any accounting company, find out about their security and confidentiality processes. Accounting firms must be able to show that they use modern and secure information technology systems.
Assess the level of information security management of the company, if you observe loopholes or have doubts about the authenticity of their data security, do not hesitate to consider other options. Also, find out if the company has invested in modern data security technology such as the cloud to ensure client data are secured.
Relationship management is crucial for the success of the accounting functions you outsource. You need to understand how the accounting company you intend to outsource to manage relationships with clients. Consider their communication skills.
Do they often create a communication gap that leaves you searching for more information? Or will language and business culture be a barrier between you and them? You need to consider how well your company can relate with them, share ideas, discuss solutions, establish and maintain a professional relationship.
Avoid the deceit of the lowest bidders
There is often the temptation to outsource your business accounting functions to the lowest bidder. Professionals in the accounting business are relatively expensive in service delivery. If you intend to outsource to a professional accounting firm, be ready to pay a competitive price. Just like in any other industry, there are charlatans in the accounting business too. One of the easiest methods these charlatans use to get victims is offering prices that falls below the normal competitive market price.
While the lowest bidder may not be the best option, the most expensive accounting firm may fail to deliver on its promises. As such, do your best to strike a balance between a successful track record, expertise and competitive pricing when selecting an accounting firm.
Assess financial stability
It is crucial to ensure that the accounting vendor you intend to outsource to be financially secured. You need to find out if the company is financially strong enough to manage its business. If the company is financially weak or has financial problems such as the inability to pay employees, such weakness will affect their quality of service delivery and ultimately affect your business.
You might also be interested in: Small Business Finance During Tough Times
How often will you have the opportunity to discuss your concerns with the accounting company you outsourced to? You need to consider the availability of the accounting company before signing any contract. In most cases, many small businesses often demand for face-to-face meetings every week or every two weeks, while some large businesses may demand for monthly meetings or vice versa.
Depending on the nature of your business, you may have to discuss with the department or employees responsible for communicating with companies in order to come up with a reasonable timeframe that will favor your business. It is crucial for you to outsource for the best accounting services for your business in order to ensure ROI.
Please leave a comment below if you have any tips on outsourcing accounting companies in South Africa.