Questions to Ask Your Outsourced Accounting Firm
There are many reasons that outsourced accounting is a preferred solution for small businesses. This month in the Small Business Monthly “Financial Fitness” column, Karen Stern, Partner in Charge of the Brown Smith Wallace Entrepreneurial Services Group, discusses some of the key questions to ask if you’re considering outsourcing your small business’s accounting functions.
Outsourcing your accounting needs allows you and your staff to make better use of your time and resources, capitalize on business opportunities and focus on your business’s mission and bottom line. But do you know the right questions to ask if you’re considering outsourcing your accounting?
Below are a few questions to ask a firm if you have decided to outsource your back-office functions:
- Are the accounting duties properly segregated? Proper segregation of duties should ensure that different people are responsible for authorizing transactions, recording transactions, maintaining custody of related assets and reconciling account balances.
- Do you have internal controls in place? Outsourced accounting can help prevent fraud. When choosing a firm for outsourced accounting, it’s important to consider your own internal controls and the outsourced accountant, in addition to price.
- Where will the data be stored? Consider the security of information and whether data is stored on the client’s server, the firm’s server or QuickBooks Online.
- How do you restrict access to financial systems? Consider restricting who has access to what software for your back-office operations. Most programs, like QuickBooks online, will allow you to control who accesses your account and financials.
- Will my work be completed on schedule if someone is on vacation or out of the office?
- Who is responsible for the accuracy of my information? What sort of oversight or review process is in place?
- How many members are on your team? Does one person perform all the accounting functions or are there specialists to handle sales tax, payroll, journal entries, etc.?
Outsourced accounting services are proven, cost-effective solutions for businesses of all sizes, even those that have dedicated accounting personnel. Since every business is different, small business owners are likely to apply a combination of different strategies to put procedures in place that work best for their unique needs.
To learn more about the questions to consider when outsourcing your accounting or evaluating other accounting solutions, please contact Karen Stern, Partner in Charge, Entrepreneurial Services Group at Brown Smith Wallace, at 314.983.1204 or firstname.lastname@example.org.