Video: The Benefits of Outsourced Accounting

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Video Transcript

Title Slide: The Benefits of Outsourced Accounting | With Luella Schmidt, Jen Hildahl, and Leah Shales

Leah Shales: There are so many benefits of outsourced accounting, one of which being that here, we have different levels of people with different skills and expertise. So, for example if a client needs a part-time bookkeeper one month and the next month realizes that they need to have an external audit done.

So that requires them to have internal controls documented, implemented. We have people here with experience doing both bookkeeping and working with external auditors, so that’s really great because it cuts down on the cost and time that it would take for the client to hire a bookkeeper and external audit experience. 

Jen Hildahl: When you work in an outsourced firm, you have multiple levels of accounting services. You can have your bookkeeper, your accounting manager, your controller, your oversight CFO role  for a reasonable cost. Whereas if you wanted those inhouse, you’d have to hire three or four different individuals which is obviously very costly.

Luella Schmidt: Certainly, when a company is smaller, what we see happen is, they need a little bit of  bookkeeping like transaction processing. They need a little bit of oversight, such as making sure internal controls are in place and that assets are being protected.

Then occasionally, they need things like guidance on making financial projections. So that massively different skillset is hard to find in one person or in even two people and so when companies are smaller it makes a lot of sense to do an outsourced model like ours because you can take slices out of each of those levels and get everything you need with one service.

Jen Hildahl: We work with many different businesses, many different clients. So we can gain efficiencies through that. We can see what works well for some clients and apply it to the next client. We also work a lot with other CPA’s, so we can learn from ours peers and learn from other clients. Whereas if you’re working in house, it’s great because they are always there, they’re down the hall, you just just pop in, but they’re really kind of in a bubble.

They are not learning from other CPAs if it’s a small firm and you only have one accountant. So I think there’s just efficiencies and really great learning opportunities when you’re working with multiple businesses.

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4 Ways Wisconsin Startups Can Strengthen The Hiring Process

As a small business or startup owner, it’s easy to lose track of how your employees are feeling with their jobs when there are countless other tasks to handle everyday. Losing morale inside the company can be devastating when it results less productivity and high turnover––two things no business ever wants.

When it comes to hiring new recruits and supporting the team that holds your business up, there are a few things that are commonly overlooked but very necessary if you intend on keeping talent for the long haul.

 1. Start valuing quality over quantity when it comes to your staff 

For small businesses and startups just getting off the ground, one of the most common problems is a budget so thin only the cheapest hires seem feasible. In reality, while payroll is certainly an immediate expense, paying more to get more usually turns into an investment later down the road.

Instead of looking at your one-year plan––find the right candidate that fits your 3 to 5 year plan and hire with that budget in mind. If you plan to reach 10 employees the cheapest way possible, try readjusting for 7 or 8 exceptional ones prepared to do the work.

 2. Be sure you need to hire someone new in the first place 

These days, training can be pretty cheap compared to a new hire with the variety of online educational tools at an employer’s disposal. Instead of immediately assuming a new task requires a whole new person on the team, look internally to see if those skills don’t already exist either with a current team member or throughout a team.

Instead of costs, think value––working to constantly grow your employees to evolve with the business is always more advantageous than having to churn through new people when your business makes a turn. Leverage the power of training and education to grow a trusted, long-term team.

 3. Don’t trap yourself in the present when hiring new team members

While employment history and experience is certainly a serious consideration to take in to account when considering a new hire, keep in mind resumes are more about the past than the future. By only looking at what’s on the paper, you’ve essentially hired their experience rather than who they’ll become as your employee.

Switch the focus during the hiring process to center around not what that person has done in the past, but specifically, what they’re capable of doing for your company in the future.

4. If recognition isn’t your strong point, start identifying your best talent

Creating expectations for future hires isn’t always the most realistic way to go about creating the best criteria to judge new candidates with. A better way is to look inside your team and identify who is making the biggest contributions––what characteristics allow them to do so?

Learn who your star team members are, and from that, build your ideal employee around traits that people truly possess the next time you need to reach out and add to your team.

If you have questions or are looking for human resources services, our outsourced accounting and CFO services experts can help.  

Photo credit: Startup Photos


4 Bootstrapping Tips To Fit Any Startup Budget

For entrepreneurs and small business owners confident they can start their business endeavor without outside help from investors or other outside sources, having the freedom to keep your earnings in full is a huge advantage if you know how to properly bootstrap.

What many don’t realize when they launch their business is just how difficult bootstrapping can be, especially for those who need to put each dollar they make directly back into the business.

For those who don’t want the financial stress and extra responsibility that comes with making personal financial sacrifices or giving part of your earnings back to investors, here are some steps you can take to make your business idea a reality all on your own.

If you need an office, look for shared space

Depending on the type of your business, you may not need an office space at all. Work that lends itself to more of a freelance style, even with a team of employees, can be accomplished through a virtual office and run from home. While this can mean a huge cut in expenses when everything involved with office upkeep is taken into account, it can quickly become isolating and detrimental to team collaboration if communication starts to wane.

Shared office space is the happy medium between going all-out with an office of your own and giving one up altogether. Try finding another company with office space to spare and make a deal to move in.

If you’re interested in getting even more out of a shared space, consider the many co-working spaces popping up specifically to give startups a place of professional community where entrepreneurs can get their business off the ground together. You’ll end up saving money and most likely meet valuable partners than can help your idea come to fruition.

Don’t overspend on a website right away

A professional-looking website with clear and easy functionality is essential for every business big and small today, but you don’t have to spend a fortune to create a great online presence right away. While agencies and design shops can customize a site to fit exactly what you’re looking for, the costs might not be worth it right away.

Instead, there are a whole variety of web services that provide small businesses and startups with inexpensive or even free website creation services that offer powerful tools and capabilities while maintaining a branded look. WordPress has emerged as a particularly popular tool for a number of DIY or template-based web design applications.

Use friends, partners and other connections to get discounts and second-hand supplies

Do you have friends in high places? Don’t be afraid to reach out through your network to see if you can get in on a great deal. Apple, for instance gives considerable discounts to their employees. Unless cutting edge technology is vital to your business, don’t be afraid to settle for hand-me-downs from other businesses who don’t mind lending you older equipment.

Avoid PR right away and get social instead

One of the hardest things for entrepreneurs with a brand new business to do it get their name out to the right people. Public relations and marketing are extremely useful for this, but there are alternatives if you simply can’t afford it on your bootstrapped budget.

Instead, put time aside to engage as much as possible through social media. There are a number of web tools around to help you manage and automate your social efforts which are cheap and sometimes free. When used effectively, social media can expose your idea, products, and services to huge groups of followers. The trick is to be seen and engaged by those that hold the key to the big audiences you need to see your idea.

If you’re a business owner and need to establish a bookkeeping system, give us a call. Our outsourced accounting and CFO services experts can help you navigate these waters.

3 Parts Of Your Madison, WI Small Business Prone To Losses

Doing your best to get your young startup or small business off the ground and on the road toward profitability? In this economic climate, that road can prove to be a bumpy one, especially for those making their first foray into entrepreneurship.

Even for those who have years of business experience under their belt, going in a new direction or starting over from scratch can be equally daunting without a solid financial plan and a detailed list of possible pitfalls.

There are dozens of financial problems that can easily fly under your radar, but some may be hiding in plain sight. Whether you consider them essential elements of a successful business or you simply aren’t tracking your expenses in full, here are three parts of your business you may be surprised aren’t worth their weight when it comes to moving forward.

1. An underqualified staff

While personality, likeability, and eagerness are all extremely important, hiring unqualified people to positions that require a more skilled individual can turn into an anchor for your earnings over time.

While young, eager workers can certainly bridge knowledge gaps quickly, those who require lengthy instruction and investments in internal training courses can be a significant burden on your company wallet, especially if you’re hiring multiple people at once who each require different training.

While some instruction is necessary for almost all new hires, it’s worth it as an employer who may or may not be bootstrapping expenses to wait for the right candidates. Training for a job is one thing, but teaching a skill is a whole different story.

2. Unnecessary office space

Although the stigma of the business office has been engrained into what we envision a business to look like from a cultural standpoint, the idea that every small business or startup needs to immediately invest in a dedicated office couldn’t be further from the truth.

While some businesses require an office depending on the kind of business they do, the monthly costs associated with an office can be immense when every component is listed out. Rent, insurance, internet and phone service, furniture and all the upkeep can turn into a black hole you can avoid completely with a little ingenuity.

If you don’t absolutely need an office, look into the many options available for virtual offices. This software allows you to conduct video conferences, share files, chat, and perform other communal tasks you would normally do in person at a fraction of the cost.

3. Undercharging for your products and service

While startups and small businesses are often forced to take on every client or customer they possibly can when they’re first getting off the ground, it’s important not to let this continue on after you’re stable enough to pick and choose the work that has long-term earning potential.

Undervaluing your service to the point where clients aren’t paying you what it’s worth will ultimately result in a loss for you no matter which way you look at it. If a client is fervent about not being able to afford what you have to offer, it’s not you, it’s them. If they can’t swing the bill, they should be the ones reevaluating their move.

What’s the bottom line? Don’t put blind trust in any of your expenses no matter how essential they may seem at first. As a budding business, you need to keep an extremely watchful eye over your finances at all time. If your accounting task is simply too much for you to handle, we’re here to help.

If you’re looking to outsource your bookkeeping to focus on moving your business forward, contact our start-up accounting and CFO services experts for assistance.

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