A concern we often hear from CEOs when transitioning to outsourced accounting services is that although they’ve outgrown their current in-house bookkeeper, they don’t want to fire them. This employee may be hard working, knowledgeable about the business, and add value to the company. How might their role adapt when switching your bookkeeping or accounting to an outsourced service provider?
You could have your bookkeeper continue to handle certain accounting functions in-house, or if you transition completely to a virtual accounting department, the outsourced service team will still need a liaison. Either way, your in-house bookkeeper could continue to have some of the same responsibilities, but it will allow them to have an opportunity to use their knowledge and time to contribute more effectively to profit generating activities.
The best thing you can do for your bookkeeper (and for the business) is to re-evaluate their responsibilities and give them the opportunity to grow their skills and interest. If you value your staff as important resources in your company, listening to their training needs, career goals and ideas for your business will allow them to feel like the transition is not a threat to their job.
If your employee becomes a profit-producing asset, it will help increase productivity and profitability. They know your business well, so if you put them into an income generating role, they will feel encouraged with how they are contributing to the success of the company.
Here we share two short stories of clients that were able to reposition their bookkeeping employee to their profit center after transitioning to outsourced accounting services...
This first client example is about an office manager, we’ll refer to as Greta. She was with the company since it was founded. Greta didn't have an accounting degree but was doing the bookkeeping and office management. She was really doing a bit of everything--bookkeeping, HR, managing the office--and management realized that the company was outgrowing her bookkeeping skills.
Greta knew all the clients and knew about all of the services they provided since she did the bookkeeping and the invoicing. She would also call the clients to do collections, so she was aware of what services people were happy with, and what services they were not happy with.
Greta has been there from the very beginning and is very knowledgeable about the company. The CEO wanted to grow the business but needed help, and decided to transition to outsourced accounting services. The CEO asked Greta if she would help with the proposals. She was thrilled about the idea, and it turned out that because of all of her domain knowledge, she became exceptional at being a proposal writer. Greta knew all the clients, she knew all the services, and since she was already helping with the proposals and doing the billing from those proposals, she understood the process. Greta now feels more engaged getting involved in the sales process and is glad to be in an income generating role.
This next client example is about a bookkeeper we will call Lisa, who was doing all of the bookkeeping tasks. Lisa also helped with HR, IT, and office management. She actually hated doing the bookkeeping and accounting tasks but she was a good employee and very knowledgeable about the company and services. The company had decided to transition to outsourced bookkeeping and accounting but didn't want to fire Lisa, so they decided to reposition her into a business development position.
Lisa was now in charge of networking, going to the Chamber of Commerce events handing out business cards, and working their booth at trade shows. She also visits with clients and makes client calls and because she’s been with the company so long, she’s as comfortable talking about the company as the CEO is.
Repositioning an employee who is really valuable and moving them into a role that can be profitable and productive, contributes to the growth and success of the organization.
A goal for management should be preventing the negative implications and financial impacts of turnover. You want to keep your valuable employees, but you also want to be sure you are getting what you need from your bookkeeping and accounting financial operations.
Many businesses transition to outsourced accounting services as a more cost-effective, efficient, and viable alternative to in-house accounting. The cost of outsourcing your bookkeeping and accounting makes it easier to budget and helps remove the burden of hiring, managing, and training accounting staff.
Benefits of outsourcing bookkeeping and accounting for small businesses include:
- Reducing costs
- Improving operational efficiencies and reducing manual processes
- Streamlined and integrated financial systems achieving timely, accurate and meaningful financials
- Greater financial intelligence with management reporting for strategic decision-making
- Understanding your KPIs for analyzing the numbers to grow your business or fulfill your mission
Valuable employees are an asset to your business. If you are ready to switch to outsourcing, but want to keep your bookkeeper as an employee, consider repositioning them. You can outsource all or portions of their job and have them spend their time on revenue generating activities.