Key Questions to Ask Outsourced Accounting Providers
Companies of all sizes and industry focus outsource their accounting and bookkeeping needs for a variety of reasons. There are several benefits to taking this approach including access to expertise, the latest accounting software, to seasoned accountants and the list goes on. However, once the decision to outsource has been made the next challenge arises, what provider should the company use? Often times management turns to their CPA to handle this need, but when that option is not available it can be a task figuring out who to use. All one needs to do is conduct a Google search for outsourced bookkeeping and its clear there is no shortage of potential providers. Given the volume of options it can be difficult to understand the differences between them and which the best is for the company. To help clients, prospects and others qualify potential providers; Wilson Lewis has provided a list of key questions to ask outsourced bookkeeping providers.
Key Evaluation Questions
Below is a list of questions to consider when evaluating potential outsourced bookkeeping vendors. They are segregated by topic.
Knowing how the company is managed and the qualification of the bookkeepers who may work on your account is essential. Key topics to address include:
- How many full time, part time and independent contractors work for the provider?
- Does the company rely on offshore team to complete the accounting and bookkeeping work? If so, where are they located and what is the quality control process?
- How many years of experience does the average staff member have in bookkeeping?
- What certifications and training do staff members maintain?
- Is there an ongoing training requirement in place?
- Are staff members well trained on one accounting software package (i.e. QuickBooks) or many? If so, which ones?
How an outsourced provider handles sensitive financial data including data security is an important concern. Understanding the data security measures in place is an essential part of vendor selection.
- What data security features does the vendor offer?
- If they outsource overseas, what security features are in place at the offshore location?
- Where are their main and back up servers located?
- How is data integrity ensured? How often are data backups generated?
- Is there a disaster recovery plan in place?
For most companies, after security and management/staff skills this is the most important topic. Understanding the cost of service and various packages offered is essential in the decision making process.
- How is pricing determined? Is it a straight hourly rate or are there service packages?
- Can they describe the various service packages offered?
- What costs are included in the agreement and what additional services may fall outside the agreement?
- Are other services offered which the company may need as it continues to grow?
The number of outsourced bookkeeping providers in the marketplace seems to be endless and almost identical. When selecting an outsourced provider it’s important to understand their business model, security and cost structure. This will ensure no surprises and maintain a flow of accurate and updated financial data and reports. If you are considering outsourcing your accounting or bookkeeping needs, then Wilson Lewis wants to help. For additional information please call us at 770-476-1004, or click here to contact us. We look forward to speaking with you soon.