Thursday, September 24, 2009

Outsourcing Accounting Services: 3 Things you Should Know

Accounting and bookkeeping for small businesses had changed drastically in the past few years. The rules for accounting remain the same; however, paper-based accounting has been replaced by virtual accounting. Outsourcing accounting services is hence a popular choice of business owners now. Using an accounting service provider and outsourcing accounting functions saves costs as well as gets accounting done effectively. Using the services of a professional accounting service provider eases a lot of burden of business owners. However, as a business owner, you need to know some things before outsourcing accounting services. The following are 3 essential points you need to know before outsourcing accounting services:

Local or Offshore
The advantage of outsourcing accounting services is that you can select the service provider you want, according to your terms and conditions. If the accounting and bookkeeping service provider is based locally, it will be easy for you to get in touch with him/her in case you need to. However, the disadvantage is that local accounting service providers may not be as cost-effective as offshore ones. Offshore accounting service providers, on the other hand, offer significant cuts in costs, but may be unavailable personally when needs arises. The ideal company you can use for outsourcing accounting services is one which works virtually but has a local presence. That way, it will be able to offer cost-effective rates as well as be available personally.

If you are thinking of Outsourcing accounting services, you will obviously look for someone who has relevant experience and has expertise enough to handle your books of accounts. Even if the accounting service provider in question has years of experience in accounting and bookkeeping, ask whether it has enough experience in your industry and cross check the references. If the service provider has a good record with past clients, you can rest assured that outsourcing accounting services to him/her is a wise decision. The kind of staff the accounting service provider hires is also an important factor in the way your outsourced accounting will fare, so be sure to ask about the qualifications and availability of accounting staff.

As said before, accounting doesn’t involve only debit and credit anymore. Professional service providers for outsourced accounting services now provide management reports in addition to the standard accounting and bookkeeping reports like P&L statements and Balance Sheets, which can help you take care of your business in a more efficient way. Such accounting service providers have also started providing weekly reports instead of the monthly or quarterly reports which were prevalent before. These are valuable add-ons which are associated with Outsourcing accounting services, which will help your business do well and grow.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tips For Selecting An Accounting And Bookkeeping Service Provider For Women Entrepreneurs

Women entrepreneurs are today running more small businesses than ever before and are poised to surpass the number of small businesses run by men. We were thinking since some time to include some accounting services related tips with a special focus on women entrepreneurs, as accounting and bookkeeping remains one of the few areas women face difficulties in. This post is hence dedicated to accounting and bookkeeping for women entrepreneurs.

There are certain differences in the way women do business and this needs to be kept in mind while planning to hire a company for accounting services:

  1. Women are essentially different in the way they manage their business. It is observed in general that they like to balance all the other activities of their life alongside their business, whereas men tend to focus totally on their small business. Due to this necessity to divide their time in various commitments, women entrepreneurs need to rope in a strong advisor in the form of an experienced bookkeeping and accounting service provider to manage their business finances properly. Women are also likely to consult more often with the firm they hire for their small business accounting as compared to men for accounting and bookkeeping matters related to their business.

  2. Women are also not very comfortable with the financial aspect of the business and tend to depend on a bookkeeping and accounting service provider for expert advice on managing their books. Due to this dependence, the accounting service provider becomes an integral and important part of a woman-owned business and also a base for the success of that business.
Due to these differences in the way women conduct business, they need a dependable and expert bookkeeping and accounting service provider, who can sit with them, understand their business as well as has some experience working with similar businesses. The accounting service provider should also be trustworthy, so that the women entrepreneurs can divulge confidential information without fear of leakage.

If you are a woman entrepreneur who is wondering how to find an ideal bookkeeping and accounting service provider for your business, read on for some tips to select one:

  1. Choose an Expert - Cheap Can be Expensive
  2. It's an industry known fact that outsourcing accounting and bookkeeping can save you cost. Since you don't need anybody in-house on your payroll, you can save yourself a lot of money. But many a times, in a bid to save cost, women entrepreneurs tend to compromise on the expertise and experience of accounting service providers. This can be a huge mistake for a woman-owned business. A company offering you a discount of up to 40% can be legitimate; however, don't take the discount thing too far by opting for "80-90% off" offers - such offers can be an expensive mistake. Experience in similar kinds of businesses counts the most towards good accounting and bookkeeping of your business. So when you are searching for a firm providing accounting services, ask specifically about their experience in your industry.

  3. Check Out the Accounting Firm's Support Services
  4. You might need to consult with the firm you hire for accounting services several times in a week. You hence need to ensure that he/she is available on phone, email, chat and even personally in case of urgent matters. Make sure that the accounting service company is based within the U.S. and not thousands of miles away, or else you might have a tough time contacting it when you want.

  5. Make Sure their Services are Flexible
  6. You may need to scale your bookkeeping and accounting services up or down according to your business requirements. Your service provider needs to be flexible enough to agree to this. Many women entrepreneurs tend to hire the first accounting firm or accounting company they interview. This is a wrong decision; interview several accounting service providers and check out the options they are giving you. Don't go for anything but the best amongst them.

Choosing the correct bookkeeping and accounting service provider is vital - if you go wrong it can make or break your dream business venture. You need to hence choose yours carefully, so that you can empower your business with strong accounting and bookkeeping and impeccable recordkeeping.