Financial Fitness June 2013 logoYour bookkeeper might need a vacation, but that doesn’t mean your accounting does. Karen Stern, partner in charge of BSW Small Business Services, shows you how outsourcing accounting keeps small business moving forward, in this month’s “Financial Fitness” column, as featured in Small Business Monthly.

It’s going to happen. Whether it’s a planned vacation or an emergency hiatus, your bookkeeper will need time off, and someone will need to step in temporarily. However, most small businesses don’t have the staffing flexibility to cross-train someone, especially on short notice. And then there’s the chance that the person who fills in won’t know what they are doing, leaving you with an overwhelming mess afterwards.

The silver lining to this scenario is that everyone should take time off, periodically. In fact, it might be a red flag if your person in this role doesn’t take a break. Small business owners can outsource to their advantage, saving time, identifying opportunities for improvement and strengthening their potential for growth.

Short term, you allow a trusted and experienced resource to take over while your employees get the rest and relaxation they need to return at the top of their game. Long term, your internal controls and safeguard procedures can be updated. Plus, you might pick up some new software or methods you haven’t yet implemented.

When outsourcing, look for a local accountant or firm that is ahead of the curve with technology, reporting, and partner mentality – someone that will add value to your organization. To get the most out of outsourcing, be sure to:

  • Have an accounting policy and procedures manual
  • Keep daily, weekly, monthly and annual bookkeeping task lists
  • Write a bookkeeping job description
  • Cross-train tasks with other similarly skilled and authorized employees
  • Interview accountants and firms who are familiar with your industry to fill in as needed

Outsourcing your bookkeeping and accounting services is a great opportunity to tune up your processes, increase efficiency and implement best practices.