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Pros & Cons of Outsourcing Your Accounting Function

11-2-2022

By Stephanie Whitacre of BKD in the US

 

The current economic environment has significantly changed the way organizations look at their talent pool internally or externally. More than ever, organizations have to become more creative to retain their employees, and if they are hiring, the requested compensation has increased as well. Organizations are having to make a business decision on whether they should hire or consider outsourcing various functions of their organization. One of the most common areas that could be outsourced is the accounting function. There are various pros and cons to consider as you evaluate what makes the most sense for your organization.    

Pros 

  1. You benefit from working with a team of seasoned professionals.

    1. The team you work with will have varying skills and expertise and can be tailored to your specific organization needs.

    2. Accounting professionals receive continuous education for the latest issuance of new accounting standards and regulatory changes.  

    3. You have access to multiple departments as questions arise (tax, audit, state and local tax team, forensic and business valuation, etc.).

    4. As you will be working with a team, turnover is eliminated.

    5. Hiring and selecting employees is time-consuming and costly. Moreover, you need to have space and facilities for new employees. Outsourcing eliminates this dilemma. 

  2. Services are scalable and flexible.

    1. Services can be created to meet the organization’s direct needs.

    2. Services can change as needed or based on the organization’s budget.

  3. Outsourcing your accounting function can increase automation and efficiencies.

    1. You have the availability to implement best practices.

    2. You have the availability to use the latest technology and tools.

    3. Outsourcing can save management both time and energy.

    4. You can access as close to real-time data as you can while making decisions, and management can have the time to focus on what matters.

  4. Cost savings – Over the long run, outsourcing your accounting function to a trusted provider can provide for a greater return on investment as compared to hiring, training, and updating in-house personnel. Our experience has been that many clients also received an intangible return on investment by staying better connected with their CPA firm with enhanced processes, technology improvements, and the latest regulatory updates.

Overall, outsourcing with the right firm can create value and save time, allowing management to focus on the core aspects of their business.

Cons 

  1. Lack of accessibility – Outsourced accountants are typically not on site full time.

    1. To help mitigate risks, embrace digital platforms and prioritize recurring communication.

  1. Changes in services may result in additional fees/costs.

    1. It is important to think through the annual accounting cycle to best scope your organization’s needs on the front end.  

  1. You have less direct control and oversight over people and workpapers.  

    1. Unless your company would prefer staff augmentation, engaging a firm for outsourced accounting will involve giving up direct oversight.  

    2. To mitigate this risk, be diligent in finding the firm that is the best overall fit for your organization. The key will be to only consider an outsourcing firm you trust.  

  1. Security risks – Know the company you are outsourcing to. What are its security and quality control processes?

    1. Be sure to inquire about software security protocols and understand segregation of duties between you and your outsourcing company.  

    2. Remember, you cannot outsource your management and expertise.  


Jeffrey Dean

BKD, LLP
375 North Shore Drive Suite 501
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
United States
Website
T +412 348 5042
jdeane@BKD.com


William Finnecy

BKD, LLP
410 Cranberry Street, Suite 210
Erie, PA 16507
United States
Website
T +412 348 5042
wfinnecy@BKD.com