Reasons to Outsource Your Bookkeeping (and Why It Matters)

Plus advice on WHEN to make the change…

Would you like to outsource your bookkeeping, controller, and back office services?

  • Has your bookkeeper or controller just given notice?
  • Would you like to adopt technologies to modernize your internal accounting?
  • Do you need crucial advice that a Chartered Professional Accountant can provide?
  • Keen to know if outsourcing will save your business or organization money? (Hint: We believe it will!)

This article offers compelling reasons why businesses and nonprofit organizations can and should outsource their internal accounting.

We’ll share our findings from years of providing bookkeeping and back office services to businesses and nonprofits in the Greater Toronto Area and beyond.

We’ll cover the main reasons our business owner and not-for-profit clients have shared for outsourcing their internal accounting needs.

Plus, you’ll discover the benefits of working with a firm like Stern Cohen.

Finally, we’ll reveal a few important tips on when to change bookkeeping providers.

So… if you’re looking for transparency and real-world experience, this guide is for you.

In brief, here are Stern Cohen’s:

Top 5 Reasons to Outsource Bookkeeping and Controller Functions:

  1. TIME SAVINGS: Outsourcing will give you more time to focus on your key business goals.
  2. TECH EFFICIENCIES: Take advantage of recent tech innovations available in the market.
  3. PEACE OF MIND: Bookkeeping is an unregulated profession. That’s why you need to work with a team you can trust (with CPA oversight) to prevent costly errors and to ensure your business or organization is compliant.
  4. CONTINUITY AND SCALABILITY: Your changing needs will be provided for long term without any interruptions that could disrupt your day-to-day operations.
  5. INCREASED OPTIONS: With a cloud platform, geography is no longer a limitation. You can work with an accounting firm or bookkeeper of your choice, from anywhere.
  6. ADVISORY: Benefit from regular advisory and proactive tax planning that only a CPA (Chartered Professional Accountant) can provide. This benefit is available at Stern Cohen!

Looking for more detail? After all, inquiring minds want to know.  Read on for a deep dive into our findings.

5 Reasons It's Time to Outsource Your Bookkeeping

1. Save time: Outsourcing will give you more time to focus on your key business goals.

Payroll deductions and tax filings are required by law, but they often overwhelm business owners and nonprofit managers; taking up too much of their precious time.  Why not outsource your internal accounting and bookkeeping services to a trained specialist team who can efficiently take care of these duties? The upside: more time in your working day to spend on key projects and goals.

2. Take advantage of tech innovation

You won’t be surprised to hear there’s been a tech 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. Ta da! 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 every month like clockwork. Never again will you be limited to sharing your books with your accountant just once a year for 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) to do proper tax planning.

At Stern Cohen, we use an industry-leading technology stack that provides efficiencies and “audit protection” benefits like secure, cloud storage. QuickBooks Online and other third-party apps we use will protect your data with the same encryption technology used by the world’s top banks.

All of your data is safely backed up in the cloud. If your computer crashes or is unable to restore data, all you need is an internet browser or mobile phone to access your information. 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 integral to risk management for any business or organization. You’ll even save space when you get rid of those filing cabinets and bankers’ boxes of receipts that might get lost or damaged. If you’re ever audited by the CRA, or for your regular audit, necessary paperwork is easily searchable and accessible in the cloud.

Finally, new apps are automating endless repetitive tasks and, as a result, reducing human error. If you’re still using desktop software, contact a bookkeeping specialist at Stern Cohen who can introduce you to our best of breed accounting technology platform.

3. Peace of mind (and cost savings) in an unregulated industry

Unfortunately, the bookkeeping industry is an unregulated one.  There are no required designations; contrary to the rigorous training required for Chartered Professional Accountants.

Based on the demand we were seeing, Stern Cohen decided to put together an in-house team to provide accurate, timely and efficient bookkeeping services. We make sure our bookkeepers receive training and get certified in the technologies we use. In addition, and this is an important distinction, our bookkeepers have CPA oversight. Having a bookkeeper who works in tandem with a CPA helps ensure that your books and processes are compliant with Ontario and Canadian financial regulations.

Are there cost savings if your bookkeeper and accountant come from the same firm? We believe the answer is yes. Since our bookkeepers have CPA oversight for the work they do, any errors are quickly detected. As a result, at year-end, there are fewer adjustments. This means no additional time or fees.

4. Continuity and scalability

You might be reading this article because your bookkeeper, controller or CFO has just given notice. Suddenly, you realize that you have two weeks to find someone who can fill this key role. In two short weeks if you can’t find a suitable replacement will you be able to process payroll or issue your invoices on time? If a key member of your management team resigned at a time when you were considering a strategic move for your business, would you have the guidance and support to execute on the strategy? Unfortunately, good bookkeepers, controllers and CFOs are in high demand and short supply, especially in Toronto. The best, and the easiest solution is to outsource to a firm that you can work with long-term. Let us take care of the hiring, so to speak.

Why Outsourcing Your Finance Needs is a Great Solution

You might also find as your business grows, or especially if your business or organization is seasonal, that from time to time you need more back-end support. Do you have the budget to hire an additional bookkeeper when the volume of transactions increases significantly? An outsourced solution provider can easily scale with your business as it grows or fluctuates seasonally.

Continuity for a business means that 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 if your lead goes on vacation, you’ll always have an alternate who will be familiar with your account and responsive to your needs. Sound good?

Is your business growing fast? If you are experiencing rapid growth, we will support you with advisory from both senior management and a Stern Cohen partner to guide your business during its expansion.

5. Go virtual! The Cloud gives you access to many more accounting and bookkeeping options

Businesses in small towns or isolated areas often find it challenging to get the accounting and advisory expertise they need from a local provider. In the past, they simply had fewer local options. Fortunately, thanks to the right cloud accounting platform and processes, location and distance are no longer a barrier to finding the best accountant or bookkeeper for your needs.

At Stern Cohen, we use QuickBooks Online (QBO). QBO has made it easy for us to work with clients that are in other provinces, cities and countries. We communicate with our long-distance clients over the phone, via email and web conferencing. QBO has also given us unprecedented access to our clients’ real-time data. That’s a game changer! Now, we simply log in to our clients’ books, where we can create, view, and share reports. We can look at our clients’ key performance indicators in real-time.

Working virtually, the business owner and our team members all minimize travel time and maximize our communication and advisory time – it’s a win win.  So, if you are in the market for a new bookkeeping or accounting firm, don’t be defined by your geography!

BONUS TIP: Benefit from regular advisory & tax planning from a financial professional (at a much lower cost than having one in-house)

If you decide to outsource your bookkeeping or 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 business owners and nonprofit organizations.  Chartered Professional Accountants can analyze your financial reporting 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 their input. Monthly or quarterly advisory sessions can include coverage of the following topics:

  • Cashflow management and projections
  • Operating activities
  • Profit margins and ratios
  • Financing
  • Liquidity
  • Insurance needs

TIMING: When to Switch Your Bookkeeping, Payroll or Accounting Providers

These five red flags indicate it’s time to move to a CPA firm which can provide the services, oversight and value you need:

  1. When your business is growing and more back-end time is necessary to keep the books in order.
  2. Your bookkeeper 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 and/or 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 and tax planning.

WHY is accurate, up to date bookkeeping important, anyway?

You will benefit from clean, reconciled books if:

  • You have bank financing OR need to obtain financing;
  • You’re hoping to sell your company;
  • You have reporting requirements;
  • You are seeking partnerships with other organizations; or
  • You need visibility into your own company’s profits, losses and cash flow.

More resources:

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Is it time...

to outsource your bookkeeping and controller functions?

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