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Accounting Outsourcing: how to choose a reliable partner

Accounting Outsourcing: how to choose a reliable partner

PUBLICATIONS \ 19.04.2020

If your company has made a decision to outsource its accounting function, you will face a complicated and time-consuming process in choosing a contractor. The company that will provide accounting services for your business will become your reliable ally and tax adviser, who will be alongside you in assuming liability for any actions. Moreover, transferring the main accounting sections to an external service provider requires a large amount of effort, time and resources, and therefore it will not be possible to change the accounting services provider every month. In this article, we will talk about how not to make a mistake with the choice of an outsourcer company and what to pay attention to.

1st step. Conduct an analysis of accounting within your organization

Before you start the selection of an outsourcing company, it is necessary to conduct an internal audit of how your accounting is organized. This analysis should include as detailed a list as possible of all the tasks performed by your internal accounting function. This will help you to define what scope of work you would like to obtain from the outsourcer company and to compare offers on the market. The second task of the analysis is to calculate all current accounting expenses, from salaries to expenses on employees’ social packages  and expenses for organising workplaces. Once you have a complete picture of the state of your accounting, this will give you a reference point in terms of how to proceed.

We also recommend that you conduct an independent analysis of how efficiently your internal accounting is performing, since this will be an additional source of information when analysing commercial offers. You may easily make use of the service of checking how your accounting and taxation functions are being conducted with the help of Acsour’s specialists, since our experts have vast experience in organizing and building business processes in both Russian and international companies. In addition, our company has develop its own IT solutions to analyse and improve the operating efficiency of personnel.

An external audit will be a wise investment, even if you do not subsequently decide to outsource accounting or postpone the decision for some time, since with the help of our expertise, you will be able to:

  1. Check the state of your accounting and whether it complies with the requirements of the legislation of the Russian Federation
  2. Obtain recommendations for the elimination of the violations we detect
  3. Obtain useful data that may be used in the future when analysing commercial offers of companies that provide accounting outsourcing services.

2nd step. To make a short-list of providers

Accounting outsourcing is an intangible service (much less tangible than all other types of services), which may only be evaluated by trying it on your own. Therefore, when choosing an outsourcing company, you should pay attention to the following points:

  1. The company has a presence in the official rating of outsourcing companies according to the well-known rating agency RA “Expert”.
  2. The company has existed for a long period and has a sound reputation
  3. The feedback from clients and opinion of colleagues who have worked with the chosen contractor is positive. Experience has proven that personal recommendations are of great importance in choosing an accounting service provider.
  4. The outsourcer company has the capability to provide not only accounting services, but also related legal services, and outsourcing of HR record management.
  5. The organization has a transparent pricing policy. The specific nature of outsourcing companies does not prices to be published on the website, since the cost is calculated individually for each client and depends on various factors. Therefore, the next step is to request and compare commercial offers.

3rd step. Analysis of commercial offers

Let us imagine that you have requested a commercial offer. Before proceeding further, it is possible to significantly “thin out” the selection by paying attention to the following points:

  • How soon did the company process your request?
  • How complex and was the questionnaire to fill in and was it of high quality?
  • Has the future partner specified any nuances in your questionnaire, or has it suggested discuss your request on an individual basis?
  • How transparent is the commercial offer sent to you, and is there any hidden work?
  • Does your current accounting program match the contractor’s program? Ideally, they should be identical.

Remember that outsourcing is primarily a story about a high-level service, whether it is a company that performs accounting services in Moscow, St. Petersburg, or Kazakhstan. Consequently, pay attention to how clear and correct the communication is. After comparing all offers and the cost of services from different contractors, you will be able to decide on the final list of companies and proceed to the step of face-to-face meetings.

4th step. Meetings with accounting outsourcing companies

The next step: to visit the company’s office in person to see the real working conditions of employees, and to evaluate their professional qualifications and approach to solving problems. During these meetings, your goal is to ask as many questions as possible and to find out what will be the foundation of your further interaction, how well all the nuances of switching to the chosen provider are set, how accounting services will be supervised, and so on. Therefore, we recommend that you pay attention to the following:

  1. How will the configuration pass be organized (i.e. how will the accounting be transferred to the provider)
  2. How does the outsourcer company set up the service process
  3. How will the confidentiality of the client’s data be ensured
  4. What IT solutions does the outsourcer have
  5. How is uninterrupted service ensured (your provider should have a well-tuned IT infrastructure)
  6. Is the cost, as indicated in the commercial offer, fixed or does it change depending on the scope of operations performed
  7. How are the parties’ liability and termination conditions spelled out in the contract

A careful approach to choosing an accounting outsourcing firm is half the battle when choosing a provider of accounting functions. The other half is the constant exchange of information and competent communication. A transfer of the accounting function to an outsourcing model does not mean that you will forget about it as you do a nightmare. You will not be involved in overseeing your manager on a daily basis (as you often have to do with an in-house accountant), but the decision-making function, especially on controversial accounting issues, remains on your side.

The provider’s task is to identify a risky transaction or operation promptly and inform you about the possible options for a solution. Your task is to decide which way to go.

Therefore, we recommend that you treat your chosen accounting services provider as your own department and inform your managers about your plans and all the important facts about your business, enabling them to take this information into account in their work. In this case, you can quickly establish interaction with the contractor and effectively optimize business processes in your company.

By relying on Acsour, you will obtain support from a team of consummate professionals who guarantee you the highest quality and a painless transfer to outsourcing services. With us, you will make sure that outsourcing is able to bring economy and order to your accounting and tax records.

Tatiana Kazakova

Specialist of the business development department