Over the last 30 years, our accounting team at ARI has nurtured relationships with many different types of clients.
Here are 10 benefits our clients have realized by outsourcing their accounting and bookkeeping functions.
1. Eliminate a single point of accounting failure.
We see it all the time. A business owner contacts us in a frenzy because his or her one bookkeeper or accountant has suddenly left the organization or taken medical leave and there is no one left to manage the business’s finances.
At ARI, depending on the size and needs of your business, you will be assigned at least two, and perhaps up to four individuals, to manage your day-to-day accounting needs. That means you can always rest easy in the knowledge that more than one individual understands your business’s accounting requirements and can step in to complete the monthly closing, maintain state and local compliance reporting or simply answer a burning question you have.
2. Access to a team of seasoned financial professionals.
When you hire a bookkeeper or accountant, you typically get just that – someone who is versed in the tactical aspects of paying bills, sending invoices, and posting deposits. To get more significant financial insights, you are forced to hire a financial consultant or another external resource.
Over the years, we have found that, to bring on an internal accountant with some financial know-how, many business owners over-hire (and thus overpay) an internal resource, or under-hire for the position and never get the expertise or insight they need.
Your team at ARI includes not only a staff accountant who can handle all of your business’s day-to-day accounting tasks but also an individual who serves as your CFO or controller. He or she acts as an extension of your management team, reviewing and analyzing your monthly financials and identifying trends that may be impacting your company’s profitability, participating in strategy sessions, or attending meetings with your Board of Directors.
That person also serves as a neutral third-party with whom you can strategize and bounce ideas off of and who can help you deal with business crises that arise. For example, when COVID-19 hit, business owners everywhere were panicking. They didn’t know where to turn for help or for answers. We completed and submitted the necessary paperwork for many of our clients so they could take advantage of government loan programs to help them weather the pandemic.
3. Save money vs. paying an internal resource.
When you consider hiring a full-time bookkeeper or accountant, you have to figure in all of the associated direct and indirect costs, including payroll taxes, health insurance, worker’s comp insurance, benefits, paid time off, training expense, management time, office space and IT requirements. And, when that individual leaves, turnover expenses can add up quickly.
As a simple example, let’s say you’re paying your internal accountant an annual salary of $50K. Benefits can easily add up to an additional $10K. Depending on your needs, when you outsource with ARI, you can easily trim up to 30% from that cost and get CFO-level advice, and business continuity so you don’t have to invest effort in training new accountants. And, that does not even figure in the value of having peace of mind knowing that your finances are being managed and analyzed by professionals.
4. Protect your organization from financial fraud.
Small and mid-sized businesses are more vulnerable to fraud than larger organizations because there tend to be few oversight procedures in place. For example, one person may be responsible for handling all bookkeeping functions including collecting receivables, processing payments, paying invoices, making deposits and recording these activities.
When you outsource your accounting function to ARI, you get maximum internal control because tasks are handled by an impartial, external accountant who reviews all transactions and can alert you if he or she detects questionable activity.
5. Clean up financial and accounting issues to avoid penalties.
As CEO or executive director, chances are you’re not an accounting expert so you may not know what financial issues are unresolved and ready to rear their ugly heads.
We will begin by analyzing the state of your finances and clean up any issues you have – either past, present or future. We’ll explain any issues we uncover and discuss our plans to rectify them. Maybe you have accounts receivable on your books that should be written off. Perhaps you’re paying too much property tax on fixed assets that should be disposed of. Maybe you’re a non-profit in search of funding, so you need to ensure your tax return provides a clear picture of your organization. Your ARI team is there to provide guidance and recommendations during the initial onboarding and every month thereafter.
6. Spend less time on accounting and more time on growing your business.
As your organization’s leader, you should be focused on building your business, not reconciling bank statements. Nobody understands your industry better than you so why not spend your time on areas that can really make a difference like boosting sales, strengthening marketing efforts, or mentoring valuable members of your team.
Some of our clients have found that their CEO or ED spends as much as 75% less time focused on accounting when they outsource to ARI. Each month, you will receive a package of financial statements. We’ll discuss specifics of how your business is performing and flag any issues you should be aware of. Are your inventory turns too slow? Should you consider other insurance providers? Is your gross margin shrinking? Is it time to increase or decrease staffing levels? These are real business conversations our experts initiate on a regular basis.
7. Increase staffing flexibility.
Your business’s accounting needs and goals change over time. We have the capacity to be able to grow along with you.
Maybe you’d like to tackle a big financial project or perhaps you’re exploring new M&A activity and need to conduct due diligence. We can easily add additional resources to your account to support these types of projects.
8. If state or federal auditors come calling, you can rely on professionals to deal with them.
At some point in time, it’s very likely you will receive the dreaded notice from the state or IRS. For business leaders, dealing with these types of issues can be nerve-racking and time-consuming.
Our team has years of compliance experience and knowledge and we deal with the IRS and state regulators on a daily basis. We know what documentation to provide and who to contact. If needed, we will also interface directly with your tax services provider to resolve issues.
9. Reduce regulatory and HR compliance-related risk.
Business owners and not-for-profit organizations have to comply with a host of federal and state regulations. If your accountant is not on top of things, you can be at risk of some hefty fines.
To ensure your business remains in good standing with state and federal regulations, your team at ARI will file your state sales tax accurately and on time each month or each quarter. We will review your quarterly payroll tax returns and property tax declarations regularly. At year-end, we’ll ensure 1099 forms are filed for all independent contractors and we will interface with your tax firm for both tax planning and tax preparation. If necessary, we will liaise with your audit firm to ensure an audit is efficient and hassle-free.
10. Get the data you need to make critical business decisions.
Relying on gut instincts is admirable but the insights you glean from your financial statements enable you to adapt strategies to reduce waste and improve profitability.
When it comes to understanding the financial health of your business, having a current, reliable data is crucial. We define the process, so you know what, when, and how to send us the information we need to compile your monthly financial statements and expense summary. At month-end, you not only get an easy-to-read set of financials but also a human being who understands your business goals to help you interpret your business’s financials – so you have a clear picture to make informed, data-driven decisions.
If you would like to understand the process and exact steps associated with outsourcing your accounting and bookkeeping needs to ARI, we’ve put together answers to some of the most frequently asked questions our new clients have.