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Which is more advantageous: an in-house chief accountant or outsourcing?

Which is more advantageous: an in-house chief accountant or outsourcing?

LEGAL DIGEST, NEWS \ 12.08.2020

Maintenance of accounting records is traditionally considered one of the most responsible and challenging functions of the company, since the cost of errors in this field is too high – from financial losses to criminal cases. The chief accountant is the right-hand man in the company who is responsible for the financial success of the enterprise.

Obviously, it is necessary to choose the Chief Accountant as carefully as the Financial Executive Officer or Head of the Legal Department – because the fate of the company depends on him or her in many respects. Unfortunately, it may be extremely difficult to find a good professional at a reasonable price, therefore first of all it is necessary to answer the question: is a Chief Accountant necessary in the company’s staff? Or do you just need a continuous accounting function? In this article, we will try to answer this question and offer an optimal solution.

As an outsourcing company, we constantly recruit highly qualified specialists in the field of accounting. In total, Acsour’s staff includes more than 50 accountants, each of whom is entrusted with the maintenance of different sections for 2 or more clients. We are confident in the professional qualifications of each of them, and are ready to give some pieces of advice that should be paid attention to when choosing a candidate for the position of Chief Accountant in your company.

  • Qualifications

It is extremely difficult to impartially assess the level of an accountant at an interview. In fact, it will only be possible to check the chosen specialist in real activity. However, at the choosing stage, field-specific tests should be given, as well as involve accounting experts in the interview to assess the results. In addition, you can ask the candidate to analyse the company’s accounting database (not forgetting to take into account all the necessary legal aspects), assess the business situation, look for possible problems and errors, and make comments.  At the same time, pay special attention to the level of discourse – whether you are clearly explained and whether the chosen viewpoint is reasoned.      

  • Proper communication

Of course, professional qualifications is one of the most important choice criteria, but the question is not less important: will a new person be able to “blend into the team”? The chief accountant is not a line employee who “sorts papers”, but a specialist who actively interacts with different departments. Therefore, it is extremely important to determine whether the chief accountant is able to find common ground with colleagues and explain difficult things in accessible language.

  • Firm position and good knowledge of legislation

In practice you can find several character types:

– specialists who knowingly say “no” to any suggestion (what if we automate one of the processes). These are people who are not ready to search for new effective solutions and to develop professionally.

– specialists who will agree to any suggestion from the owner (and what if we do not specify this operation in the accounting?), even if it contradicts the statutory provisions or laws. This is most often employees with low responsibility for the result, and also means that the person is indifferent to what may happen to the company.

– specialists with a firm position, who accurately understand the causes and consequences of each action of the owner, and will defend their position to the end. At the same time, such a specialist may suggest alternative methods for optimization or show a path with minimal risks.

It is not easy to determine such qualities at first, but during the interview, it is possible to simulate different operating situations for the applicant, in which he or she will have to make a certain managerial decision – and not always what the employer should like, but what will be optimal for the business.

  •   Professional experience in outsourcing

Specialists with experience in an outsourcing company often have more broad experience than in-house accountants. This may be demonstrated, for example, in non-standard solution to client tasks, in experience working with accounting software, in in-depth knowledge of automation of processes. In addition, such specialists often score at expense of developed soft skills owing to active interaction with client companies.

As we mentioned before, a considerable number of things depends on the accountant in the company, therefore it is often more difficult to find a substitute for the Chief Accountant than the principal Programmer. However, the modern approach to the organization of accounting allows entrepreneurs not to depend on specific specialists and at the same time to obtain all the necessary functions with the help of accounting outsourcing. The world is changing: the stereotypes that an in-house specialist “responds to requests faster” and “is under total control” are already a thing of the past owing to the undeniable advantages of outsourcing companies:

– Liability insurance

– Substitutability (employees do not take sick leaves, do not go on leaves – the accounting function is maintained continuously)

– Financial gains, cost saving for maintenance of the staff

– Expertise in completely different industries owing to a wide client portfolio

– Modern technical solutions

– Quality assurance

If it is not the fact itself that a specialist is on the company’s staff that is important to you, but the continuity of maintenance of accounting functions is required, you should consider the possibility of reorganizing the accounting function. Therefore, it is possible to leave routine operations to 1-2 in-house accountants, and outsource challenging and intellectual processes, thereby ensuring continuity of accounting function, cost saving and obtaining a chief accountant with a diversified experience in accounting and tax accounting. If you would like to learn more about the chief accountant service, please contact Acsour’s specialists.

Tatiana Kazakova

Specialist of the business development department