The question: Do you see bookkeeping as an in-house offering or a specialist external offering?
I think that the bookkeeping industry has changed a lot with the change from desktop accounting software to online software. What we are finding now is that external bookkeepers can work remotely in a bookkeeping practice and quickly gain a very high knowledge level in bookkeeping through that practice which is often aligned to an accounting firm.
With that in mind I see outsourced / external bookkeeping as a higher quality product and more value for money than in-house where the bookkeeper will be working alone most of the time.
I can paint a picture of an external bookkeeping practice that supports their clients remotely by using Carbon WiseClick as an example.
The staff of the bookkeeping firm work day to day alongside one another; say 10 bookkeepers in an office together working on over 400 clients from varying industries. They ask each other for help and advice, are expected to keep up with their accreditations and training and are paid well so they can go above and beyond to support their bookkeeping clients businesses to grow and expand.
An external bookkeeper does the same tasks over and over, they know their content inside and out and are super quick from repetitiveness. They use the latest in procedures and software programmes (usually brought about by the practice owner) and have a brains truss to get instant answers when they are stuck. They don’t have to spend time dealing with onsite office politics (this can be a huge time waster in an office environment). Communication is efficient and to the point with their clients and they are extremely productive using standardised processes and tools.
When a business is small and growing they need a lot of advice and support plus are short on cash. They can’t afford to pay a staff member and often don’t know how to pay staff or run payroll. An outsourced bookkeeper will help to explain staff legislations and staffing costs to the business owner and will setup payroll processes for them if staff are needed at a later date. The business will not have to supply staff amenities or desk space for an external bookkeeper and a good one will show the owner how to save space on document storage electronically as well.
Once the business is larger they can then save time and money by continuing to engage an outsourced bookkeeper and employ a data entry clerk in-house that can feed information electronically to the outsourced bookkeeper.
I suppose the answer to the question of choosing in-house or external bookkeeping depends on the range of knowledge that is available to the owner within the business. If there isn’t a lot of financial experience in-house, then they should be supplementing with external bookkeeping services.
I wish you all a very happy and safe festive season and look forward to chatting with you in 2018.