You’re not an accountant.
So you shouldn’t feel like you have to handle all the finances in your small business.
Outsourcing your accounting and financial admin can unload some of that burden.
In this guide, we’ll show you the areas you can outsource and help you pick the best experts for the job, so you can get back to doing what you love.
Benefits of accounting outsourcing
When you outsource things you don’t like, aren’t good at, and that steal your time, there are a lot of benefits:
Time-consuming tasks are taken off your plate without paying full-time salaries and benefits.
Outsourced tasks usually get done better and faster than before.
You’re able to scale your business because you have more time to spend on revenue-generating activities.
By working shorter hours you save your energy and sanity—don’t discount how important this is.
Now let’s talk about the various outsourced accounting services and why you should consider them.
If you’re spending a lot of time doing HR and payroll manually, try Gusto. It’s dead-simple to use and makes those intimidating tasks feel relatively straightforward. You can manage all your payroll and HR benefits from the Gusto platform, and if you ever have questions, you can ask one of their payroll specialists.
If you decide to take their full-service route, you can expect to outsource tasks like payroll setup, payday calculations and direct deposits, payroll tax calculation and form filling, and 941, 1099, 940, and quarterly state tax returns.
Outsourced bookkeeping services
If you hate bookkeeping, you can always outsource it.
Bench does your bookkeeping for you. They give you a team of bookkeepers, and simple software to track your finances. Bench will reconcile and categorize your transactions, give you monthly financial statements, and put you in direct touch with your new bookkeeper through our messaging app.
Leave the administrative load with Bench and get more time to focus on revenue-generating activities.
Beyond bookkeeping, Bench can also take care of your tax filing. Whether you’re filing solo or working with a CPA, Bench will do the books and work directly with a tax filing pro to get your taxes filed accurately and anxiety-free. Say goodbye to 1099, 1065, 1120, 1120S, 1041, and 990 forms forever.
Accounts receivable and accounts payable
Outsourcing your accounts receivable and accounts payable means never having to pay or chase down bills again—the stuff every small business owner dreams of.
An AR/AP service will also take care of some (if not all) of these:
- Invoice imaging and storing
- Invoice approval
- Expense allocation
- Online payment approval
- Check processing
- Handling of vendor inquiries
- Order management
- Customer billing
- Collections management
- Cash forecasting & reporting
This can be done for quite a low hourly rate depending on where you’re comfortable outsourcing to. If you want to keep this part of your business closer to home, check for local AR/AP services in your area.
If you’re big enough that you’re considering a controller but not big enough to need one full-time, an outsourced controller might be the right move. A controller will do things like draft financial statements, update your ledger, process cost accounting paperwork, payroll, process accounts payable and receivable, budget expenses, stay compliant with tax laws, and analyze financial data.
Caveat: these can be pretty expensive, and are probably only a fit for established companies.
That being said, the oversight and advanced reporting might make it worth the cost (and outsourcing definitely costs less than hiring a salaried controller). It will depend on your specific needs, but outsourcing could run in the ballpark of $2000–$3500 per month.
Full finance and accounting services
Playing the role of accountant probably wasn’t part of your business plan. As the owner, you want to grow your business and focus on the vision of the company itself.
As you grow, having a professional, outsourced accountant on your side gives you the advantage of proactivity rather than reactivity. Trained accountants can spot red flags ahead of time and notify you about things like cash flow discrepancies. Plus they’ll take care of everything listed above.
Having a skilled eye on your finances at all times will give you peace of mind, as well as the ability to make well-informed financial decisions. Like with a controller, whether or not you’ll need a full accounting service depends on the size of your business.
Who to hire
There are online/remote accounting firms, but based on their low reviews, we can’t recommend any of them in good conscience.
Your best bet is to find a local accountant who can take on the tasks you need, who will only charge you hourly for the work you need. Not sure how to find and hire a good external accountant? Read this.