Trends in Small Business Financial and Accounting Outsourcing
For the past couple of years small businesses started using accounting outsource services like accounts payable, account receivable, and general bookkeeping services. As they started seeing business benefits beyond cost savings now they started outsourcing other higher-value accounting projects like accounting and financial process innovation, real-time accounting integration, budgeting and forecasting. Some small businesses are considering outsourcing their entire accounting and financial operations to outsource vendors. Increasing confidence in accounting outsource providers skills, availability of tools and technologies, and accounting process standardization are making the shift for the small businesses on outsourcing higher-value accounting projects.
Small Business accounting outsourcing maturity
Both the accounting outsourcing buyer and the provider relationship is matured for the past several years. Now several small businesses are considering their accounting outsource providers as the strategic partners. They are not using the accounting outsource providers just to save cost but to introduce innovation and efficiency in their accounting and financial business processes. Small business Accounting outsource providers have been continuously improving their service offerings using both technology and accounting business process reengineering. These accounting outsource providers have been working with several small businesses and CPA firms for several years. Each small business has its own accounting software packages and use different accounting processes to record their business transactions. By working with the small businesses the accounting outsource providers learned to standardize and reuse the accounting process improvements across different vertical domains like retailing, manufacturing, and service based industries.
As the accounting outsource providers gain accounting business knowledge for a particular vertical industry, now they are started marketing their services to other small businesses on that business domain. For example accountings outsource provider gained significant knowledge on various real estate accounts and financial transactions started marketing to other real estate companies. As they gain accounting process experience naturally they are finding their own niche in vertical business domains to sell their services.
Financial Accounting Integration
Financial accounting business processes integration is another important trend in small business accounting outsourcing started happening. Most of the small businesses have been using more than one software package to mange their financial and other business data:
Small businesses use many other homegrown software tools and technologies to manage their day-to-day operations. All these software are running in silos, and small business owners have difficult time in consolidating all their business data. They need the integrated view of all the data to produce various reports and to set strategic directions for their company. There are two choices to integrate all their financial and account data:
Upgrade from different software technologies to use enterprise software like SAP or Oracle to mange all their financial data and business transactions.
Develop custom interfaces using in-house IT team to integrate all their software systems
Outsource their financial and business data management
Outsourcing in CPA Firms
CPA firms serving small businesses have been outsourcing tax and other general accounting services for some time. Now these CPA firms are considering outsource providers for other higher-value accounting services. CPA firms can leverage their relationship with small businesses and help them in outsourcing their higher value accounting projects. For example projects like real-time accounts integration needs process knowledge specific to a small business, IT skills, and accounting process standardization skills. CPA firms may not have all the skills needed for the real-time account integration projects. They can act as a liaison between the small business owners and outsource providers in outsourcing real-time account integration projects.
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