Business owners regularly find themselves asking, “How can I accomplish more with the same or fewer resources?” They ask because of the significant amount of changes introduced by a number of increasingly complex tax laws, accounting standards, and regulatory requirements. Simultaneously, companies experience greater challenges recruiting professionals with the right skills. It’s no wonder, then, that business owners are increasingly turning to outsourcing to meet their needs for timely and reliable accounting, tax, and compliance information.
The Benefits of Outsourcing
According to a 2017 survey report by Robert Half, North American companies most commonly outsource tax and payroll functions; however, they also outsource other functions such as processing accounts payable, collecting customer payments, or conducting internal audits. What might generate this outsourcing trend? Outsourcing is appealing to many companies because it:
- allows them to focus their resources on core business functions;
- provides access to specialists without incurring additional full-time employee pay, benefits, and office overhead;
- reduces the burden of keeping up with ever-changing rules and regulations across multiple jurisdictions (this is especially true for specialized areas such as sales and payroll taxes);
- improves time efficiencies since the specialists are adept at those functions;
- allows for greater flexibility to meet seasonal demands of the business;
- improves morale and permits employees to focus on the organization’s core competencies; and
- minimizes risks associated with employee turnover and availability at critical points in the business cycle.
Guidelines for Successful Outsourcing
The goal is for the outsourcing relationship to become a healthy, long-term business partnership. Creating and enjoying a vigorous outsourcing arrangement requires frequent, clear, effective, and timely communication. Taking the following steps will help you get the most out of your outsourcing efforts:
1. Establish clear:
- service level agreements (SLAs),
- key performance indicators (KPIs), and
- timelines (especially those near critical reporting deadlines and holidays).
2. Designate a single company representative to:
- communicate with the provider,
- respond (promptly and accurately) to requests from the provider;
- monitor and measure against the SLAs, KPIs, and timelines; and
- meet regularly with your provider to debrief regarding successes and opportunities for improvement.
3. Invest time and effort in developing an ongoing relationship with the provider.
4. Ask for help interpreting any reports or information that you don’t understand.
5. Promptly convey anticipated changes in:
- service needs and associated SLAs,
- employment practices,
- accounting policies,
- systems or processes, and
- other relevant information.
Let CRI Help with Your Outsourcing Decisions
Outsourcing tax, accounting, and compliance functions free company personnel to devote more energy to analysis and forward-looking activities – allowing key decision makers to anticipate changes and focus on being competitive. Effective oversight and communication will help you achieve maximum results from outsourcing and increase the likelihood of a successful partnership. Ask CRI’s tax, accounting, and compliance professionals for plenty of advice and guidance. We can review your processes and identify areas where outsourcing makes sense for you.