One reason outsourcing can be a difficult choice for business owners is the idea of change. Outsourcing can mean change in tools, team members, or processes; this much change can set some people on tilt when they are suggested, or sometimes even forced upon them (gotta love ever-changing accounting software). Often business owners are so focused on running their business that change can be an inconvenience rather than a solution. So the WHY behind the change needs to be painful enough to motivate the investment of resources in creating the change. Ask yourself, if the change will provide you with…
…then the change will be a positive outcome for you and your business. I am not talking about making a change for the sake of shaking things up, I am talking about creating change that allows you and your business to focus on growth or stability. How do you know it’s time? Maybe one of these
My Process is Working Just Fine, Thank You
Normally, this conversation involves using QuickBooks Desktop (one of the most widely used software), but insert any accounting tool that could easily be purchased off the shelves in any office supply store. Sure, it’s easy to install, somewhat easy to get going, and it’s been used for several years. Your tax professional seems to be happy to get your information, and hasn’t complained or provided any feedback. It’s working: so why make a change?
About 20% of the time I do find that XYZ tool is working for a business, but needs a little tweaking. Just because there are new tools available that can automate the recordkeeping of a business doesn’t mean it is always the best solution for a business. Each business is unique, and as long as that is kept in mind as change is evaluated, then choosing a new tool will be a good option for your business.
That also means about 80% of the time, the tool isn’t the right fit. If your pain point has to do with not having current information available at your fingertips, you just hate the interface of the tool, or the recordkeeping aspect is so daunting you won’t even touch it- sorry: change will be required in your accounting tool. An outsourced specialist can assist in making this change for you and provide a tuned-up fully functioning tool to meet your business process and needs to move forward.
ADI PRO TIP – a few tax professionals take an active role in helping their clients keep their accounting data current. However, in about 70% of the businesses we talk to, their tax professional does not provide any info or guidance at all. That means the tax professional is doing some bookkeeping every year: that’s right, if you drop off or supply your tax professional with just the data as-is, they need to do the bookkeeping to get it up to date, reconciled, and sometimes even data entry. That also means a higher tax bill. ADI recommends that business owners work with a bookkeeper at least once a year to verify and check the data before it is sent to the tax professional. An extra set of eyes is also good for the business!
You Have a Natural Dislike of Change
Let’s face it, not everyone enjoys change. The more high-compliant in nature a person is, the less likely they will be open or comfortable with change. What makes an excellent accounting professional is their high compliant nature: their attention to detail, ability to repeat processes, and high accuracy. It also makes any type of change a challenge, be it a tool, time, process, or personnel.
We’ve seen where just one person can even block the change. That is what happened with my team. I had already made a decision to add a new tool to our business. For more than 9 months I worked with my senior team member on implementation. It was a struggle every day, and we had barely even scratched the surface of what the tool could do. Then my (very high compliant) team member went on vacation. Then something magical happened: I made the decision to use the new tool for that week, and I had amazing success. When my team member returned I asked him if he would be open to moving forward, considering my success and the ease the change brought about: he finally spoke up to say no and admit that it was just too far out of his comfort zone. We parted ways that day. While that was a rough road, I’m here to say that the tool is still used today, and it has streamlined our processes and bookkeeping.
Just because a team member may be resistant to change, doesn’t mean you need a new team member like I did. When it comes to team, or even ourselves, if there is any resistance for the proposed changes, then the process will be difficult. To have successful implementation, all parties need to buy-in and support the change. That means you, the business owner, need to be fully onboard, supportive, and lead your team in the ups and downs of the change. An outsourced consultant can then enhance your leadership in following through with the execution and implementation of the change.
The Glue that Holds the Office Together
Every small office or start-up has one. That assistant that is responsible for data entry, bookkeeping, answering phones, scheduling appointments, marketing, filing, and all other things required to keep the business running. Then they decide to take a vacation or get sick. That’s when business owners get frustrated with everything that doesn’t get done and has to wait for that one person to return. The pain point: your business should be able to run regardless of who is physically available. No matter how indispensable that assistant is, they have too much responsibility on their plate. When a business grows, this situation doesn’t work any longer and in fact, can be a disaster waiting to happen.
When I started working with one of our clients back in 1999, I walked into a worst-case scenario: the running of the practice had been entrusted to a single administrator. She was in charge of keeping the bookkeeping up-to-date, billings, deposits, and general running of all daily operations needs. After some time, it was discovered that she was embezzling funds. When the employment relationship ended, I walked into a new relationship where trust had to be rebuilt. What became apparent to our client was that outsourcing the accounting and financial functions to an outside consultant was the best solution: with no one person allowed full access to all aspects of the business, trust was easier to establish. Since then, they have grown to a multi-office, multi-state business. Now, there is no question: outsourcing the accounting functions is an essential foundation of the practice.
The lesson here is that letting one person handle everything is not at all secure for the business owner. Creating a division of duties is always worth the investment of change. All offices need an administrative rockstar, but also having them have their hands in the financial aspects of the company is too much: too much responsibility, too much power. Creating change in collaboration that involves tools and outside consultants will resolve this pain point.
Why Should I Change?
Any change requires planning and an implementation schedule. With the goal being to simplify the process, resolving any choke and pain points at the beginning will guarantee the changes stick for the long term. At first it will be exciting to finally get the pain point resolved; about mid-way through the implementation some mind chatter will kick in and it may seem easier to go back to what it was. During these times, here are a few items to keep in mind:
- Tap back into the purpose and mission of the business: is it the best use of your time to spend on XYZ rather than focused on moving your business towards that mission?
- Take the time to weigh the pros and cons: is it worth the resources (time and money) to implement this change NOW so that in the future there are less headache, pain, and more time to focus on growth?
The ADI Team recommends evaluating where you are at currently and exploring the proposed changes:
how will it help;
what process is required;
an implementation timeframe;
who will execute it
Ready to swim in the sea of change? We’re ready to guide you. Click here to go to our consultation page and mention our paid Bookkeeping Evaluation. This evaluation allows us to deep dive into your existing processes, tools, and business finance data. We end the project with a written report with our findings and suggestions. At that time you can choose to implement the changes with your own team, or contract with our team.
“Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have and
underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up.”
~ James Belasco and Ralph Stayer
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About the Author
Connie Vanderzanden is the CEO of the ADI Accounting Team: focusing on outsourced accounting services for small legal firms and speciality medical offices. Connie’s knowledge spans 30 years of accounting and bookkeeping experience, a variety of industry knowledge, and her own real-life business growth journey since 2001. She provides her readers (and clients!) powerful insights on money related topics that include maximizing cash flow, increasing savings, and obtaining more profit in their businesses. If you’d like to “Cover Your Financial Butt”, feel free to grab a free copy right here!