In House or Outsource

March 20, 2018 | Growth and Expansion

The Bookkeeper’s Guide to Outsourcing

How many of your bookkeeping clients are business owners outsourcing their accounting tasks to you? If you’re lucky, probably quite a few, since small and large businesses alike have plenty of complicated financial needs. Smart business owners know that outsourcing tasks not in their wheelhouse are a great way to free up valuable time that can be better used to grow their businesses.

Just as with your clients, wearing all the hats in your bookkeeping business is not the best use of your skills. When does hiring expert help make more sense for your needs and your bottom line? Here are seven areas of business you can outsource either completely or partially, depending on your needs and your budget.

Seven Business Areas to Outsource

1) Legal Issues

You will most likely need legal advice or representation at some point in your entrepreneurial career. Don’t wait until a problem arises to search for a good attorney. Have one involved in your bookkeeping business from the beginning and keep them informed of what’s going on in your company. That way, when you need them to create or look over a contract, they’ll be ready to go.

Do you have ongoing or recurring legal tasks such as business filings, licenses, permits and such? You can save time by outsourcing these complicated corporate compliance issues to an online service such as CorpNet. CorpNet will stay on top of all the deadlines and requirements in the state where your bookkeeping business is located and make the appropriate filings for you.

2) Human Resources

If you have just one or two employees, you might think your business’s HR responsibilities can be managed in-house. In reality, an outside HR company can actually oversee a whole range of human resources tasks you might otherwise have to outsource to multiple providers. Depending on your business’s size and needs, these functions could include:

  • Payroll processing
  • Employee benefit plan management and administration
  • Employee recruiting
  • Training new employees
  • Employment law compliance such as safety (OSHA)
  • Employee health insurance
  • Coordinating virtual employees
  • Hiring other freelancers

HR outsourcing companies generally charge a flat monthly fee or a percentage of each employee’s salary.

3) IT Help

All things tech is probably where you’ll want to outsource most of the tasks in your bookkeeping business. It’s always smart to learn how to handle a few IT functions yourself, but when it comes to the big jobs, like switching web hosts or fixing a virus-infected computer, it makes more sense to spend the money and outsource to an expert. You can save hours of frustration and lost productivity by turning the reins over to someone in the know.

If the tasks are something you can learn yourself, make sure to ask the IT person to show you how to do it. That way, you can handle the little stuff going forward and save the big jobs for them. According to Tech Pro Research, more than 31% of IT services were outsourced last year. Other commonly outsourced tech tasks include web and app development, AI and IoT, website design and quality assurance.

4) Search Engine Optimization

How good is your bookkeeping business’s SEO? To find out, try searching for “accounting business,” “bookkeeper,” “CPA,” or if you cater to a specific type of client, try searching specifically, such as “small business accountant” or “restaurant accountant.” Are you satisfied with the results you get? How far down the ranks does your local accounting business show up—if it does at all? Now, try Googling your exact business name. What pops up then? Obviously, the goal is to gain SEO superstar status—and that means getting your accounting business highly ranked in search engine results when potential customers are searching for accounting firms in your community.

Unfortunately for your bookkeeping business, SEO algorithms change all the time. SEO is a tricky game that takes lots of constant attention that you may not have to give. Find an SEO expert you can keep on retainer to help you keep your website up to date on what search engine algorithms are looking for, plus get you listed on all the search directories your bookkeeping business should be listed. Will the SEO expert be able to fill your website with valuable content or can they advise you on how to find the content? Then there’s video content, which can improve your SEO and draw more traffic to your website.

Because social media plays such a big part in SEO, make sure your expert knows which platforms your business needs representation on and can give advice on what you should be posting and how often.

5) Sales and Marketing

Probably the most time-consuming task for your bookkeeping business has to do with finding new clients. You might be your business’s best salesperson, which makes sense since you are the owner and the face behind the business. But when it comes to marketing, getting some expert help can really ramp up your business and bring in more new leads.

When you outsource your marketing efforts, you’ll have someone on your team keeping up with the latest trends in digital media and local campaigns. You can work with a freelance marketing person or a marketing communications company, depending on your budget. Either way, the marketing experts will most likely represent many different companies. Make sure they know your industry and do not represent any of your competitors.

6) Add-on Business Services

Offer your bookkeeping clients help with other aspects of their businesses. For example, you can add value for your clients (and profit for your business) by handling clients’ incorporation and business filings. Outsource this to a full-service partner who can handle all the details, and it will add extra income to your bank account without adding extra work to your plate.

7) Odds and Ends

You’d be surprised how many time-wasting little tasks pop up during the average day of a small business owner. Whether it’s putting together the new desk you got from Ikea or designing a new flyer for your bookkeeping business, websites like TaskRabbit and Fiverr can be the answer to your prayers. Visit these sites to put small “odds and ends” jobs up for bid to thousands of freelancers and get just about anything done on the cheap.

Where to Find Help

There are many places to find help for your business. Start by asking your fellow small business owners for recommendations. You can also check online directories and matchmaking sites for outsourcing possibilities in fields like technology, HR and business compliance. No matter where you find your outsourcing options, be sure to check references and always use a written agreement before starting any work with them.

<a href="" target="_self">Rieva Lesonsky</a>

Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog She’s a nationally- known speaker, best-selling author, and authority on entrepreneurship, and for more than 30 years, she was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur magazine. Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs.

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