5 Reasons to Outsource Your Bookkeeping

In this article, we cover five compelling reasons to outsource your bookkeeping. If you have ever asked yourself these questions, now’s your chance to get some answers…

  • Would you like to know if outsourced bookkeeping will save your business or organization money? Psst: It will!
  • Has your bookkeeper or controller just given notice?
  • Do you need timely and expert advice on your business’s financials?
  • Would you love an in-house CPA but can’t afford to hire one?
  • Is it time to adopt modern, cloud-based accounting software?

We’ll share our findings from years of providing bookkeeping and accounting services to high-growth businesses and nonprofits in the Greater Toronto Area and beyond.

We’ll cover the main benefits when you outsource your bookkeeping, plus we’ll reveal a few pointers on when to make the move.

So… if you’re looking for truth and transparency, this guide is for you. Read on for a deep dive into our findings.

1. Save money!

When you outsource your bookkeeping to Stern Cohen you greatly benefit from something called “fractional” value. Fractional value means you get “some time” from a bookkeeper, “some time” from an accountant, and “some time” from a CFO.  The beautiful part is that you don’t have to employ each position or role full time – you just pay for as much as you need, when you need it. It’s more efficient and less costly than hiring in house.  With Stern Cohen’s outsourced bookkeeping solution (Stern Cohen FIT) you get a Finance team for less than the price of a bookkeeper!

Did you know you can save money when your bookkeeper and accountant come from the same firm? It’s true. Many business owners are familiar with the following year-end scenario when it’s time for their accounting firm to complete the annual financial statements. Quite commonly, if your bookkeeper is not under the guidance of a CPA, and they’ve made errors during the year, your accounting firm will charge you to correct those bookkeeping errors!  These fees for reconciliations (adjustments and corrections in accounting lingo) can really add up. In addition, your bookkeeper may have missed CRA deadlines or tax planning opportunities. As a result, there are some excellent savings when your bookkeeper and accountant are with the same firm.

Four Stern Cohen FIT team members under our ClearlyRated client rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars.

2. Work with highly skilled bookkeepers

The bookkeeping profession is unregulated. No training or designation is required to call oneself a bookkeeper. This is in stark contrast to the rigorous education and experience required to be a designated Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA).

So when Stern Cohen decided to put together a specialized team to provide accurate, timely and efficient bookkeeping services, we made sure our bookkeepers have:

  • education and training
  • guidance
  • CPA oversight

Our bookkeepers have certifications and degrees in finance and accounting programs from local colleges and universities.  Having a skilled bookkeeper who works on a team with CPA’s and Tax Specialists ensures that your books and processes comply with Ontario and Canadian financial regulations. This means you won’t have to worry about penalties and interest from the CRA for non compliance.

3. Enjoy continuity and the ability to scale and grow

You might be reading this article because your bookkeeper, controller or CFO has just given notice. Suddenly, you’re in a panic because good bookkeepers, controllers and CFOs are in high demand in the Greater Toronto Area. In fact, in 2024 there is a severe shortage of skilled finance personnel in Canada and the US. So what will you do?

The best (and the easiest) solution is to outsource your bookkeeping and finance needs to a firm you can work with long-term.

Continuity for your business means you have coverage for your essential internal financial processes when key players go on vacation, take long term leave or move into a new role. At Stern Cohen, your bookkeeping is assigned to two team members. Why two? Well, the lead will be your primary contact, but when your lead goes on vacation, you will always have an alternate familiar with your account.

You’ll also receive support from a Senior Manager AND a Stern Cohen Partner who is an experienced CPA.

Business owners know their needs can change quickly. An outsourced solution can easily scale with your business as it grows.

4. Benefit from regular advisory and tax planning expertise

If you decide to outsource your bookkeeping and accounting to a full-service accounting firm (like Stern Cohen), you will have ready access to advisory and tax planning from experienced finance professionals. This benefit is highly valued by our business owners and nonprofit clients.

Chartered Professional Accountants can analyze the monthly financial reports (generated by our bookkeepers) and make recommendations for increased profitability and tax savings. At Stern Cohen, your partner will become a trusted advisor who is available when you need them. Monthly or quarterly advisory can include coverage of the following topics:

  • Tax effective structures, long term planning
  • Budgeting and cash flow forecasting
  • Gross margin analysis by product line, liquidity ratios
  • Transaction advisory (liquidity events, contracts, etc.)
  • Assistance with securing financing
  • Board meeting attendance

5. Upgrade to a modern cloud platform

You won’t be surprised to hear there’s been a technology revolution in the bookkeeping and accounting industry. In the past, your bookkeeper visited your office in-person because their work was largely paper-based. In addition, the software used was run on a local computer only accessible from the office site. With the advent of cloud software, this workflow has changed forever!

Say goodbye to collecting, sorting, and storing receipts. Say hello to having your books remotely reconciled in real time. Never again will you be limited to sharing your books with your accountant at the end of the year (too late for optimal tax planning). Instead, you’ll be able to give your accountant remote access to your online account to discuss tax planning opportunities throughout the year, not just at year-end when there’s precious little time (or not enough time) for proper tax planning.

At Stern Cohen, we use an industry-leading technology stack that includes QuickBooks Online and other third-party apps like Dext to protect your data with bank level encryption technology.

When you use a cloud accounting system, your accounting data is stored on remote servers offsite, rather than on a local hard drive. This has obvious disaster recovery benefits for any business or organization. You’ll even save space when you get rid of the filing cabinets and bankers’ boxes of receipts that might get lost, damaged and will fade over time. If you’re ever audited by the CRA, or for your regular audit, necessary paperwork will be in digital format. It will be searchable and accessible in the cloud. You might want to check out our article Keep Your Receipts for the CRA as we’re seeing an uptick in CRA requests for supporting documentation.

New software applications are automating endless repetitive tasks and, as a result, reducing human error. If you’re still using desktop software, it’s time to transition to our industry-leading accounting technology platform.

Finally, are you operating your business outside of Toronto? Rest assured, geography is no longer a concern. Thanks to our cloud accounting platform, you can still work with us, eliminate travel time and maximize communication and advisory time – it’s a win win!A pile of folders and papers with an arrow pointing to an accounting dashboard.

When to outsource your bookkeeping

Here are five flashing indicator lights that it’s time to make the move:

  1. Your business is growing and more back-end time is necessary to keep the books in order
  2. Your bookkeeper or accountant can’t keep up with an increasing workload
  3. Your bookkeeper is resistant to adopting modern, efficient technologies
  4. You are seeking financing OR partnering with other organizations and they are requesting more frequent or more sophisticated reporting that your existing resources can’t provide
  5. Your business requires a wider specialist team for services like bookkeeping, payroll, monthly reporting, advice, tax compliance and planning
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A few members of our specialized outsourced bookkeeping, accounting and tax team: Stern Cohen FIT. Check out our Q&A section below for answers to common questions about our outsourced bookkeeping and accounting services.