How to Choose the Right Accounting Outsourcing Firm
Accounting outsourcing is still relatively new in Nigeria. Business owners and entrepreneurs are used to traditional ways of recruiting. Therefore, they believe that they need to hire a full time accountant before they can have access to accounting services. On the other hand, because of the cost involved in hiring a professional accountant to help keep the accounting records in accordance with relevant rules and regulations, some organization may end up hiring a person who is not qualified to do the job. The end result of this is frustration. At the extreme, some business owners may even decide not to have an accountant. They wait for the time when their business will grow big enough to hire a professional accountant. This is a mistake in highest order.
No matter the size of your business, you need the services of a professional accountant. The good news is that you don’t need to hire a full time professional accountant before you can enjoy good accounting services. You can decide to engage an accounting outsourcing firm. An accounting outsourcing firm will not only provide you with reliable accounting services. You will have access to these accounting services at fractional costs. However, you need to make sure that you engage the right accounting outsourcing firm. How do you determine which accounting outsourcing firm that is right for you? This article will throw light on how you can engage the right accounting outsourcing firm. Below are some of the crucial points you need to consider when choosing an accounting outsourcing firm:
If you want to hire an accounting outsourcing firm, it is important that you hire a firm of chartered accountants. Having certifications in other relevant areas such as taxation will be of immense benefits for you. In Nigeria here, the industry is regulated to certain degree. It is not every Dick and Harry that can set up an accounting outsourcing firm. It is expected that before anyone can start an accounting outsourcing firm, such person must belong to an accounting body. However, on your own part, you still need to double check that the accounting outsourcing firm you want to engage has professional accountant as its member.
When you speak with a prospective accounting outsourcing firm, you may do well by asking about their current clients. Are their clients’ businesses similar to you? Ideally, you want to find an accounting outsourcing firm that is familiar with your industry or individual situation, as this means they will have the experience necessary to provide you with the right advice.
For instance, different industries have differing ‘standards’ regarding what you can claim on your tax return. Therefore, if your accounting outsourcing firm has a strong understanding of the industry, they are better positioned to maximise your return.
How often do you like to meet your accounting outsourcing firm? Some clients are content to meet with their accounting firm once a year for tax-filing purposes. Others clients have frequent business questions that require timely answers. Find out if your accountant will be available when needed. Would he be willing to come to your office so that you can talk face to face? If not, will he be available in his office if you'll have to schedule a meeting with him. How responsive is the firm? When you call or e-mail, how long does it take them to get back to you? If you have an emergency, are they reachable? You want a firm that cares about your business just as much as you do.
Hmmm! I see a lot of business owners making mistake in this area. You need to define your objective for outsourcing clearly. What do you actually need? Do you need accounting firm with big name? Big accounting firm are well reputed for the services they offer but in some situations, jobs are usually delegated to junior staff or trainees. It is important you find out who will be working with you? At the point of initial negotiation, you will meet the partners and managers, but once you start working with the firm, you may discover that you don’t have access to the higher level staff members. Many services performed by accounting firms will be done by juniors and trainees. You need to ensure that you have adequate access to the upper level people that can provide you real insight into helping you to grow your business.
Some accounting firms are quick to offer advice on when to purchase equipment and how to keep financial records, while other accounting firms compile the necessary financial reports but offer little feedback. What separates a good accountant from a great accountant is the ability to think like a business advisor. You want to work with accounting firm that is going to be your partner, provide proactive advice, help drive better results and improve your bottom-line, be able to make connections for you, and introduce you to ideas and concepts that will make you and your company more productive. The amount of advice you need or want depends upon your financial knowledge and experience. If you need a lot of help, select a firm that offers in-depth financial advice. It's a good idea to meet with your accountant every month. Review financial statements and go over any problems so you know where your money is going. This is where your accountant should go beyond number-crunching to suggest alternative ways of cutting costs and act as a sounding board for any ideas or questions you have.
For businesses in particular, you want an accounting firm that offers a range of services – such as financial management, auditing/reporting, cash flow analysis, and tax consultancy.
This type of firm will do far more than complete your tax return; they’ll be able to provide you with advice regarding your business’s financial situation. It’s also far more efficient to be dealing with one firm for all your financial needs. You will find this to be cost saving.
Accounting outsourcing companies have different ways of charging their fees. Some accountants charge a set rate for each financial task they perform while other firms may charge per hour. We understand that fees are important, but so is value. A cheap accountant is often much more expensive than a good one. A good accountant will provide you with ideas on how to improve your bottom line that should more than make up for their additional cost. Your primary factor in choosing an accountant should be the value he or she can bring to the relationship. Why would clients underestimate their Accountant's value, unless they can't identify the value the accountant brings to a relationship?
When the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) comes knocking, it’s reassuring to know that your accountant will be right by your side to offer necessary supports. FIRS audits are a way of life for some small-business owners and individual taxpayers, but facing an audit is a stressful situation. Your accounting firm should be able to represent you fully in case of any tax audit or investigation. However, you need to agree this with the accounting firm that such services will be require of him
When hiring an accountant, remember that they’ll have access to sensitive information regarding your finances. Therefore, it’s important that you partner with one of the most trustworthy accounting firms Melbourne has to offer. After you have made your choice, spell out the terms of the agreement in an "engagement letter" that details the returns and statements to be prepared and the fees to be charged. This ensures you and your accountant have the same expectations and helps prevent misunderstandings and hard feelings.
OTN Consulting is a firm of chartered accountants pioneering accounting outsourcing in Nigeria. We help our clients succeed by providing expert, timely and dependable accounting services and financial insight. Outsourcing your accounting needs to our firm allows you to achieve cost savings through reduced need for internal bookkeeping staff, helps you make informed business decisions and gives you time to focus on your core business.
Contact us for more information:
Tel: 2348024768668; 2348155554892