1. Estimate tasks
If you have a micro-business or startup, the main criterion is likely to be the cost of services. In this case, you should consider a freelance accountant or online tools.
A freelance accountant will be cheaper than an on-staff accountant: you get a clear, fixed price.
In fact, it is part of the time of an accountant who has other clients. However, in general, the disadvantages and risks are the same: a freelance accountant may also be sick and goes on vacation, and is also the only holder of all valuable information.
Online services are suitable if you are used to controlling everything and, preferably, via a smartphone.
My business, Knopka and other services are accounting in-your-pocket. You pay for a subscription and do everything yourself (due to a small amount of operations it is very easy). If you are an owner or manager in a business with a serious number of operations, and in addition to accounting and finance you have other areas of responsibility, then you need a medium-sized outsourcing company that will be interested in you as a client and will provide you with the required level of service at a reasonable price.
2. Start your search
Accounting outsourcing is a common practice, so one of your counterparties will probably be able to give recommendations. It's great if your counterparty trusts the outsourcing accountant to communicate with you - so you can "test" the company immediately before requesting a commercial offer. Now check the company on the Internet:
- how long has the company been on the market,
- is there any specialization,
- who are her clients,
- are there any competitors among them - it can be both bad and good
It's great if the company provides not only accounting services, but also legal services. Even if you do not need them, you can be sure that all accounting solutions offered by the company are legally assessed in advance.
3. Request an offer
You may evaluate a company at the stage of preparing a commercial proposal: what information is requested, in what form, who does it and how. Sales is the front door of any organization, but some conclusions can still be drawn. For example, if a manager does not understand the difference between income and profit, then he or she may confuse something in the commercial proposal. As a result, the actual conditions will differ from what you expected when you received the commercial proposal. If an accountant is involved in the negotiations, then by his or her reactions you may understand whether he is happy with you as a future client or a burden, and you will feel this in the process of working together.
Life hack. Often in their proposals, companies provide reviews or contacts of their customers. Usually these are very loyal customers. You may try a trick: ask the company for a contact of a former client. If a company has a satisfied former customer, this is very telling. But even if you are not very happy, you will understand how critical those moments are for you that did not suit others. It's like booking.com - see negative reviews, positive ones are all the same.
4. Getting started
Ask them to introduce you to the accountant who will run your company, or at least the team leader. Close contact with the contractor will allow you to quickly solve problems, you will be able to ask questions and receive answers "online". If the head of the outsourcing company meets halfway in this matter, this means that there is a high level of trust between the management and the performer, which also confirms the quality of services.
The transition and handover is a very important stage. Of course, it would be optimal for you to end your relationship with your former accountant one day, and start paying for a new outsourcing from the next day. This is not always possible, because accounting is a retrospective process: postings and reports are made for the past period. Therefore, it is important to organize the transition phase so that no process falls out. For example, you can instruct ex-accountant to carry out operations and prepare reports, while the new outsourcer will only deal with payments and registration of shipments. The new provider will be able to make comments on the wiring and ask the old questions, the answer to which only he knows.
Most likely, during this period you will have to spend more on accounting services: both under the ex and under the new agreement. But remember that if the new outsourcer has not yet taken on the entire scope of responsibility for your accounting, then you can agree that the payment for this period was proportionally less - it should be discussed right away and written in a separate clause of the contract.
Author: Viktor Mironov, CEO of TEAM