Should You Outsource Your Bookkeeping?
by Bill Burnham
February 13, 2017
What are the options?
Are you not the bookkeeping type? Are your monthly volume of bookkeeping transactions not large enough to justify a bookkeeper on staff or has your business grown so large that do it yourself bookkeeping is no longer an option? If the answer is yes perhaps outsourcing is right for you.
There are several options available depending on your needs. Here are some options:
Bookkeeping Services: Traditional or Virtual
There are two choices when using a bookkeeping service. The first is to use a traditional service located in your area. Your information can be transmitted via hard copy or electronically; whichever is most convenient. Services will be priced based on the needs of your business. Pricing may be by the hour or by the month. This option is relatively low cost and is a good fit when you are looking to save cost but still desire an in-person, consistent interface with your bookkeeper.
A second option for using a bookkeeping service is a virtual service. Cloud accounting has made outsourcing your bookkeeping to a virtual service an easy and affordable option. Virtual services monitor and record all of your activity using the Internet, receiving receipts and updates via e-mail. As with traditional services pricing will be based on the specific needs of your company, billed monthly at a flat rate or hourly rate. Usually these services have an accountant or team of accountants to provide oversight insuring that the work is done accurately and that checks and balances are in place to prevent fraud. The cost for the virtual service will be comparable, perhaps even a little lower than the traditional bookkeeping service. However, a virtual service may not provide a consistent point of contact to handle questions and concerns. If this is an important consideration another option might be a better choice.
Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
CPAs are most frequently associated with income tax preparation and while most if not all CPAs provide income tax assistance, many offer a variety of other services including bookkeeping. CPAs are highly skilled and trained and quite capable of handling all of your accounting needs.
As with the bookkeeping services you will have a choice of how to transmit data to the accountant and cost will be based on your company’s specific needs. Should you choose this option it is unlikely that the CPA will handle your bookkeeping on a daily basis. Instead he or she will have a bookkeeping department handling the routine tasks. There is security knowing that a highly qualified professional is overseeing your account and that there is protection in the event a mistake is made. However, like the virtual bookkeeping services, if you desire a high level of interface this may not be the best option. It is also likely that this is the most expensive bookkeeping option.
Regardless of which option you choose it is important to know what the cost is, how much you can afford, what specific tasks you want done, and how much personal interface you desire.
Florida SBDC at USF, Tampa
Specialty: Accounting, Finance, Business Planning
Bill Burnham is a lifelong resident of the Tampa Bay area. He is a graduate of the University of South Florida where he majored in accounting. He obtained his master’s degree in business administration from The Florida Institute of Technology. Burnham has 25 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies, nearly 20 of those years in management positions. During that time he managed more than 200 employees and spent time in accounting, finance, manufacturing, production control and strategic planning. He managed government contract budgets in excess of $50 million dollars and operating budgets of more than $25 million dollars. He prepared analysis for potential acquisitions, proposals for government contracts and conducted companywide training programs on several different topics. Complementing his large company background, Burnham also has 15 years of experience as a small business owner in industries as diverse as dry cleaning and home health care. In addition to those endeavors he has also worked as a business broker and business valuator performing valuations and selling business throughout the state of Florida. He has hands on knowledge in business planning, budgeting, forecasting, profit and loss management, cash management, business sales, business valuation and franchise operations.