Owners/CEOs of mid size enterprises have two challenges:
(a) Facilitate growing their enterprises without compromising on the “nimble footedness” that got them to where they are and yet put in place processes that are absolutely necessary to enable to the business handle volumes far bigger than their current size; and
(b) Keep costs trimmed and aligned to business volumes
In other words, be capable of growing with processes that are necessary to scale up; and yet remain profitable without ballooning overheads.
Outsourcing your back office processes, especially accounting services, is a step in the right direction. Increasing pressure on profits is driving more and more midsize enterprises to look at outsourcing to cut costs and improve competitiveness in market place; something that Fortune 500 enterprises have been doing with success for the last ten years.
Can accounting be outsourced?
You would be surprised at how easy it is to outsource accounting.
o You keep your accounting system in your computers in your premises.
o You scan all incoming documents and store them as digital images.
o Your accountants, located outside your enterprise, access your computers in a safe/secure way, read the documents, process them according to your business rules and update your accounting records.
o When you enter your office, your inbox contains reports that you can print and read; checks you should print and sign; and queries that require resolution.
Just that simple!
Your first decision: What to outsource?
Your finance function comprises:
(a) CFO function focused on maximizing stockholder wealth by helping you make right decisions on pricing, resourcing, investment, funding and dividends; by ensuring your business generates the anticipated cash and this cash is deployed in the right direction
(b) Management accounting who help you plan the business; provide analytical support
(c) Treasury which manages the cash and
(d) Financial accounting which
a. maintains the books of accounts,
b. processes sales orders, sales invoices and receipts; monitors accounts receivable
c. processes supplier invoices and payments; monitors accounts payable
d. processes payroll, expense claims etc
e. prepares financial statements and other internal reports
Financial accounting (or any part of it) can easily be outsourced. This would step up service quality. A hare that runs for its life always runs faster than a lion running for its lunch; independent third parties would always be more focused on service (without losing emphasis on control) than in house accountants.
Your second decision: Who should do your work?
You should look for someone with experience in serving midmarket enterprises. TaurusQuest (www.taurusquest.com) have unique strengths here.
TaurusQuest have a track record in serving midsize enterprises in the United States; and have been ranked 4th worldwide in providing finance/accounting services to midsize enterprises by the Black Book of Outsourcing.
We understand small and mid market enterprises better:
CEOs of mid market enterprises are looking at outsourcing of back office processes as a strategy to remain competitive (against larger players and peers) and protect their margins.
If you are a mid market enterprise, you need to be twice careful in the choice of your vendor for outsourced services. The vendor should understand the need for the enterprise to be flexible and nimble footed in managing the processes and provide an entrepreneurial understanding of your opportunities.
We at TaurusQuest understand small and mid market enterprises better. We recognize that upfront investments need to be small; value realization should be reasonably quick; processes may not necessarily be structured and disciplined.
We have a track record of success in growing with our customers in this segment.
We have been placed fourth worldwide for customer satisfaction and operational excellence in our most important business: providing accounting services to mid market enterprises by a US based publisher of global league tables based on independently conducted customer surveys for 2007.
We were awarded this when we were at the finance/accounting services division of Quscient; now we are an independent corporate entity
We consider this a testimony to our credentials for “delighting” our customers.
Accounting services that can be outsourced:
A wide range of accounting services including:
· Maintenance of:
o books of accounts
o receivables and payables ledger
o cash/bank book
· Processing of:
o sales invoices; monitoring collections
o supplier invoices; coordinating payments
· Effective control/traction:
o prompt/accurate bank reconciliation
o cash flow forecasts
· Preparation of business intelligence reports
o financial statements
o analytical reports
· Decision Support in
o Pricing for new programs
o Resourcing (both assets and people)
TaurusQuest’s track record in accounting services:
TaurusQuest provides accounting services for more than 40 clients in United States. Some examples:
(a) Complete accounting services for an office space décor and furniture provider in New York
(b) Complete accounting services for a chemicals manufacturer in Chicago
(c) Complete accounting services for an architect practice in Atlanta.
(d) Complete accounting service for a chain of gas station franchises in Tucson
(e) Maintenance of General Ledger for a non government charity organization in Phoenix
(f) Sales invoicing and receivables monitoring for a properties and casualty insurance provider in New York
(g) Supplier invoices processing and payables for a manufacturer of industrial products in Chicago
(h) Branch accounting for a US software services business in Chicago
(i) Preparation of financial statements for professional clients of a CPA in Princeton.
TaurusQuest has expertise in:
(a) Aligning accounting systems to business requirements (right granular level of profit centers, cost centers for recording income/expense etc)
(b) Operating business controls (evolution of and compliance with business rules, authority; and validation of evidence)
(c) Accounting standards (we have expertise in US GAAP as well as IFRS)
(d) Operating a variety of accounting systems including Microsoft Great Plains, Quick books, SAP, Oracle Financials etc
Our senior employees have post graduate professional qualifications in finance/accounting. Our frontline service providers have at least an undergraduate degree in finance/accounting.
How does outsourcing work?
An accounting system is eventually about various business documents being inventoried, processed to certain business rules and updated into books of accounts. Outsourced provision of accounting services works as below:
(a) You get a high speed scanner and get all business documents (purchase orders, supplier invoices, goods arrival reports, sales orders, delivery reports, sales invoices, collections, payments, expense reports, payroll inputs) scanned and stored into a computer in your premises (preferably in an off-the-shelf inexpensive document management system)
(b) Your accounting system is stored in a computer (oftentimes the same computer) in your premises
(c) You get the computers connected to internet by using your local ISP (of course you get a firewall to protect your system; we can help you with the technology bit)
(d) We access your computer remotely from our service delivery center, read the scanned images, process/archive the document images, and update the accounting systems.
(e) Your accounting system is ready to provide the information you need. The reports you need are prepared and kept in a safe area for you in the computer.
(f) Depending on the level of sophistication you need, you could get the payments effected online by confirming the checks we have created online for you or print the checks physically, sign and disburse.
(g) You get to use the same accounting system and same processes you follow now. Your data and your documents stay all the time within your premises. We do not house your accounting system or data in our premises.
(h) Our accountants work during your night time; but you get to have at least 2 hours of interface with them each day (oftentimes from 9 am to 11 am your time).
(i) Our accountants work on a “dedicated” basis. You get to work with the same person all the time. We are different in this respect. We believe this increases the bonding between the accountant and the user group.
(j) Our accountants are reachable by closed loop VOIP phones by dialing a US number from your premises. All our senior executives carry blackberry devices; emails are promptly responded.
How much would it cost?
Upfront investment is restricted to: (a) A high speed scanner (b) An off-the-shelf document management system (c) A firewall software (d) A connection to your local ISP
You don’t pay for anything else (including the telecommunication bandwidth to our delivery center).
Recurring costs are confined to our invoices for services. These can be in any format: (a) % of your revenue (b) $ per sales/supplier invoice (c) $/hour of accountant’s time (d) $/month per accountant deployed
According to an analyst, “customers tend to save at least 50% of the total cost (salaries, benefits, facility costs etc) on outsourcing accounting services” from Day One.
Benefits from outsourcing:
· From Day 1 your costs come down by 50%. No big upfront investment.
· Your processes get streamlined. The quality of business processes go up. You become an efficient enterprise.
· Your customers and vendors are delighted because invoices are prompt; statements are prompt; payments are prompt.
· Your management is delighted because analytical reports are prompt.
· You get the benefit of best of breed practice from experts.
TaurusQuest is a customer centric organization.
TaurusQuest has been acknowledged as within the top four positions in the world in providing accounting services in terms of customer satisfaction and operational excellence.
We focus on your enterprise value; your competitive advantage; your revenue growth; apart from high quality processes and cost advantages.