How difficult is it to prep your business to work with your outsourced accountant? Not difficult at all. We’ve streamlined our on-ramp process to take you no more than 3 days between your initial contact and being fully up to speed. Here’s a handy checklist to show you what you can do so that you’re ready to integrate your virtual accountant.
Outsourced Accountant Prep List
1. Figure out your business’ financial weaknesses.
If you want to hand over all of your accounting tasks to your overseas team then you’re more than welcome; your outsourced accountants are fully versed on all Australian and New Zealand bookkeeping and tax codes and regulations.
However you may prefer to try out the outsourced method with a virtual toe in the water. In that case we suggest you identify the weakest links in your current financial situation – is payroll taking too long? Are you having trouble keeping up with tax regulations?
Hand over whatever is ailing you the most. You’re going to get the most bang for your buck by having your outsourced accountants take over the biggest drain on your financial workflow. And if you decide to hand over more work in the future, it will just take you an additional email or two.
The key is to be specific – identify for yourself that portion of your finances that requires the most clarity, or your biggest time-sink, and let us help you tackle the problem so you can get the most value out of the relationship. 2. Transfer your files (if necessary).
This step depends somewhat on which method you choose to interact with your outsourced accountant. We have 3 methods that have proven the most effective for interacting with our clients:
- Via the cloud: You give your outsourced accountant access to wherever you have your files stored in the cloud. You shoot us an email, or even just have a quick Skype meeting, about what you want done. You’ll be able to keep track of the work done via our Work Flow Max system.
- Offline: You scan and send your files to our web server. Your overseas team members download the files and get to work, re-uploading them at the end of the process.
- Online: We login to your server via the Windows Remote Desktop Connection. You need a spare PC for us to connect to or link directly to your server if you have a Terminal Server.
In terms of your saved files, we’re up to speed on just about every accounting software package out there like the MYOB packages, Xero, etc. You can see a full list of software packages here, and if you don’t see your particular software package it’s generally quite easy for your overseas team to get up to speed since most programs are quite similar in nature.
3. Choose a liaison.
If you have multiple people working in your business then we suggest that you choose one person to act as a funnel. It will be their job to make sure that your overseas accountant has all the necessary info they need to get to work, rather than having it trickle in piecemeal and causing the need for multiple queries. While this is a simple responsibility, it can have a big impact come tax time if it’s not handled correctly.
4. Update your accounts.
As you get your info ready for your outsourced accountant take a moment to go through your listing of clients and suppliers. If you haven’t paid much attention before now you may have clients and/or suppliers that you no longer do business with and need to be pruned. While this certainly isn’t a huge thing, it’s simply more efficient to not have your overseas team factoring in accounts that are expired.
On the same note, make sure your accountant understands all of your current and upcoming costs and billings so that they’re not surprised by a (for example) rare bi-annual payment.
5. Send your latest tax returns.
Grab a copy of your latest tax returns and send them over. This will help your outsourced accountant get your next tax return filled out.
“This is my busy season. Can I afford to make the jump to an outsourced accountant now, or will the transition gum up my works?”
You should be just fine making the upgrade to an outsourced accountant at any time. As stated above, the process takes about 3 days which should not make any difference to your usual bookkeeping and tax practices, even during your busy season.
“I have a particular need and/or way of doing my accounting. Can an outsourced accountant adapt to that or are they rigid in their workflow?”
Special requests are welcome. Part of our process is that you can choose how much communication you have with your outsourced accountant, be it once a month, once a week, or what have you. So don’t be afraid to shoot out an email or to hop on Skype and explain what you would like from your virtual accountant.