Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tips for outsourcing bookkeeping resources

As an accountant, responding to a request from your clients to find a competent bookkeeper can present significant challenge because:
  • They will most likely only need someone part time.
  • Nine times out of ten they will insist the person works at their premises.
  • They will expect you to provide someone excellent for free.
Of course, if you have your own team of internal bookkeepers you will attempt to persuade them that this is the best solution, but what if they don’t budge?

Most of the major recruitment players are less than ideal as they don’t specialise in part time bookkeepers. You also know that their approach is simply to aggregate the CVs of those candidates who happen to have walked into their offices that week. They forward them and let the client make the choice, without any sort of technical vetting. This won’t do, so you would probably look at the following options:

  1. Use one of the tried and trusted bookkeepers you have been using for ages.
  2. If they can’t do it you ask around your partners or local practitioners to see if they know anyone who is available and trustworthy.
  3. Put up an advert online on sites such as Gumtree, Monster etc.
  4. Tell the client to find one themselves.
At a time when ‘added value’ is a key differentiator and clients are struggling with dwindling revenues and slow cashflow, the last thing they need is inaccurate management information and/or big bill at the year end from you. Both of these consequences will arise if they use an incompetent bookkeeper.

So, how can you keep crucial goodwill with your client and satisfy their request without wasting hours and hours of your valuable time for free? From your client’s perspective, surely you must know a bookkeeper for goodness sake? You are an accountant after all!

You get the call (again), and go through the options.
If you do have a trusted bookkeeper and they are free, you can recommend them and then go back to the large pile of work on your desk, delighted that there is one less thing to do - until the next request comes in, that is.

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