Consulting Services • Published 9/21/2022 How Outsourced Accounting Can Alleviate Business Growing Pains
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If you feel like you have more questions than answers as your organization grows, you're not alone. In the startup phase, most companies prioritize operations and establishing a brand. As businesses gain traction and generate consistent revenue, back-office functions--such as accounting and finance--emerge as more significant focus areas. Because these functions were cobbled together only after other priorities were met, the accounting team often plays an endless game of catch-up that becomes more pronounced during periods of business growth.  

After-the-fact record keeping, manual processes, and lack of visibility into the company's profitability can hamper data-based decision-making and highlight the organization's growing pains. These challenges are common—but they can become opportunities if addressed strategically.    

You may not have the right employees or skillset mix to support this period of growth. 

What are some common accounting pain points? 

Turnover, retention, and hiring the right accounting staff. 

Staffing challenges come in several different forms for organizations that are experiencing growth. Do any of these thoughts sound familiar?  

  • "I don't have enough employees to keep up with the growing workload and day-to-day demands."  
  • "Some days I need a bookkeeper, and some days I need a CFO (but I can only afford one)."  
  • "I'm unsure of the qualifications and experience I need to look for when interviewing candidates."   
  • "As soon as we finish training someone, they leave. This pattern keeps forcing me to start back at square one again and again."  

You may not have the right employees or skillset mix to support this period of growth. Remember: the skills you need in your back-office team are not the same as when you first opened for business. The current number of in-house accounting staff or the team's experience level may not be adequate anymore. Your growing organization may also face increasing complexity that requires a deeper understanding of financing, audit, and tax compliance.   

Your accounting function must be able to grow and evolve with your business. Expanding the number of team members, navigating employee turnover, and filling skillset gaps within the existing team pull valuable time and resources from leadership and operations.    

Related Article: Your Key Accounting Employee Left--Now What?

Dedicated time to focus on the accounting function.  

As growth occurs, business owners spot many necessary changes and improvements. However, the importance of prioritizing operations often results in less time to focus on accounting. Do any of these thoughts sound familiar?  

  • "I need to focus on my business and not my accounting."  
  • "I am not sure why, but we have always done it this way."  
  • "I just have to trust that my accounting team knows what they are doing."  
  • "I know we need better internal controls and processes, but I don't know where to start."   
  • "It takes so long to close out the month."  

Building an efficient and effective accounting function requires dedicating time to processes, procedures, and best practices. This focus is not a one-time effort, but an ongoing commitment to continuous improvement as the business grows and evolves. You can waste a lot of time picking up the slack without an experienced team dedicated to these initiatives.   

Visibility and financial insight into the business.  

If you make most business and finance decisions based on instinct, you should re-evaluate that strategy. While great instincts can lead to success, they are a risky primary source for financial decision-making. Do any of these thoughts sound familiar?   

  • "By the time I get my reports, they are already outdated."  
  • "I don't have the financial analysis and metrics I need to make informed decisions."  
  • "I’m not sure if we are doing it correctly, especially with the constant changes."  
  • "I want my business to grow and expand, but we don’t have enough experience or expertise related to possible tax, audit, or other implications."   

Making informed decisions based on financial results, metrics, and thoughtful analysis is ideal but may not be your current reality. Common barriers include a lack of timely or complete financial information, advanced accounting tools, and technical understanding.  

You probably recognize the potential value of accessing flexible, real-time reporting that can support analyzing data across key attributes such as service lines, projects, locations, or customers. However, the right people, processes, and tools must all align before a business leader can achieve this level of insight.   

Related Article: Addressing Today's Business Challenges with New Strategies

Outsourcing can help transition your growing pains into opportunities.

How can outsourcing alleviate these growing pains?  

Each business is unique in its operational challenges and goals. However, pain points within the accounting function of a growing company are often similar. Businesses experiencing growth must establish an accounting function that meets current needs and has a flexible, scalable structure. Outsourcing to a trusted partner well-versed in common pain points provides a fresh perspective, experience, and valuable guidance. Outsourcing can help transition your growing pains into opportunities by providing: 

 

Access to an experienced accounting team. 

You can outsource your organization's entire accounting function to help alleviate challenges such as turnover, recruiting and training costs, and performance management. Alternatively, you can outsource specific roles within your accounting function. Selective outsourcing allows you to retain valuable employees while supplementing them with additional capacity, skillsets, or knowledge in more complex areas. Outsourcing provides access to a team of professionals with experience ranging from bookkeeper to controller to CFO without hiring each of these roles as full-time employees. This can support you in achieving a staffing mix that drives results.    

Access to efficient and effective processes. 

The first step to outsourcing is understanding current processes and procedures, identifying gaps and growing pains, and developing a roadmap to eliminate those challenges. Outsourced professionals who are well-versed in processes, procedures, and best practices can provide guidance and recommendations to fit your situation. By prioritizing the development of efficient procedures, clear roles and responsibilities, and flexible accounting structures, your outsourced partner can provide necessary support through this growth phase and establish a foundation that will evolve with your organization.   

Visibility into important data and financial insight.  

Incorporating the right accounting tools can drive efficient business operations by reducing the time spent on administrative tasks and offering real-time visibility into your financials. This allows you to spend more time on what matters most: servicing customers and running your business.    

Leveraging an outsourced team provides access to best-in-class tools--like Sage Intacct--with critical features and functionality for growing businesses. An experienced and scalable outsourced accounting team can facilitate the transition to a new technology solution and help your organization leverage these tools effectively in the long term. Combining cloud financial management with insights from experienced professionals can help your leadership shift to proactive decision-making based on current financial results and analysis.  

We can help

If your business is quickly growing out of its "mom & pop" stage, the accounting-related pain points above can really hold you back. Outsourced accounting services can help alleviate many of these pain points and fill the ever-expanding gaps as your revenue grows. Contact us to discuss how P&N professionals can help fill these gaps and convert your growing pains to opportunities. 

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