When you outsource your company’s accounting function, a team of external accounting professionals maintains your financials on a continual basis. One of the benefits of this approach is greater peace of mind regarding your company’s accounting function so that you can focus on doing the work you enjoy.
Once you have signed an engagement letter for outsourced accounting services, the onboarding process begins. This process should typically take about six to eight weeks and include a weekly call with your onboarding team to make sure that the project is moving forward.
Below are four key steps you should expect your outsourced accounting provider to use during the onboarding process:
- Assess the needs of your business. This includes in-depth discussions to determine your business’ desired outcome and reporting needs. This will allow your team to help you forge a set of best practices and update or create policies to manage the accounting function efficiently and effectively. Your provider should also work with your previous accountant and/or bookkeeper to make sure they have a thorough understanding of how your business operates. The goals should be to learn as much about you and your business as possible to ensure not only a smooth transition but provide you with exceptional service.
- Clean up historical data. Your provider should review the financial reports through an agreed-upon date, then provide suggested changes that may be beneficial and ensure the accuracy of your financials, whether updating the chart of accounts, reclassifications, reconciliations, etc. Your provider should take the time to work with you and verify that all data is as accurate as it can be.
- Determine which technology solutions to implement. During the onboarding process, your provider should gauge which tech platforms would be most effective for your business. After discussing the options with you and settling on a tech stack, your team should set up the various platforms and establish integrations to allow for efficient processing of transactions. The programs should be intuitive and easy for your team to use, and training for your team should be provided as needed.
- Transition to ongoing services. Once data has been updated and the tech stack put in place, your provider should process the first close. This will include reconciling accounts, creating necessary journal entries, and preparing the financial reports for your business. A meeting should take place to discuss the reports and answer any questions you may have about the financial health of your business. Next, you should meet the team who will be continuing the daily and monthly accounting functions after the first monthly close has been completed. Your provider should be working behind the scenes to share knowledge and insights so your client team is ready to hit the ground running when the time comes.
The onboarding process is an important piece of an outsourced accounting services engagement. It ensures that you start the relationship on the right foot and gives you the comfort of knowing that you are handing over your accounting function to a team that really understands your business and your needs.
If you have any questions about outsourced accounting services or would like to discuss the potential benefits for your business, please reach out to Jamie Steiner, Onboarding Specialist, Audit & Accounting at Email or contact any member of our Outsourced Accounting Services Group.
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