14 Nov 4 Key questions to ask when you outsource your bookkeeping
One of the most important lessons we learn in business is that we simply cannot do everything ourselves.
We either have to take on staff to perform some of our business’ functions, or we outsource them.
Many growing businesses opt for outsourcing. It can be far cheaper than taking someone on in-house and it can provide your business with valuable expertise.
Many business people see outsourcing as good value for money.
Book keeping is one of the key areas you could outsource.
Few people enjoy crunching the numbers – apart from us!
It’s also an area where businesses can get good deals, and will help take the pressure off your accountant.
Book keepers can help you manage your cash flow, invoices, petty cash and expenses, and VAT.
What are the benefits of getting an expert to deal with your books?
- Increased control over your finances.
- Improved cash flow because of better invoicing procedures.
- You get more time to spend on your core business – delivering for your customers.
- Fewer problems with payroll – and that means happy staff!
If you’re looking to outsource your book keeping, here are four key questions you need to ask to get the right fit for your business:
1. Are you registered as an agent with HMRC?
Book keepers who are registered to act as agents with HMRC can really take the pressure off a business owner.
They can deal directly with HMRC for you – no more having to hold on in the phone queue. They will also remind you of any HMRC deadlines.
Look for a book keeper using HMRC-approved accounting software, like we do at Balanced Up.
2. Do you also provide payroll services?
For anyone with a limited company, having someone to carry out functions like payroll for staff or directors’ payroll is a real weight off their shoulders.
Your book keeper can register new employers and set them up with HMRC, deal with statutory payments, monthly or weekly payroll, and payslips.
A good book keeper will use payroll software which complies with HMRC rules. It has benefits like allowing employers to deliver on the pension auto enrolment duties required by the Pension Regulator.
3. What are your experience and qualifications?
Your business needs someone with an AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) qualification – the professional body for accounting technicians.
The qualification is universally recognised and respected internationally. It represents the highest standards in the profession, and is required by many large companies like Sainsbury’s and Morgan Stanley.
It’s also worth asking whether your prospective book keeper has experience in your industry. It’s particularly important for those in the construction industry – your book keeper should be experienced in dealing with the Construction Industry Scheme.
Ask for testimonials and references. Any good book keeper will have a list of happy clients who will tell you how they’ve dealt with their businesses.
4. How do you communicate with customers?
You need a book keeper who will keep you in the loop, remind you about HMRC deadlines, and let you know of any looming problems.
Ask your prospective book keeper how they will keep in touch – by email, phone, or in person – and how often they will contact you.