Want to outsource your bookkeeping and accounting?
Are you currently handling your own bookkeeping and accounting?
Worse yet, do you have a current solution that is making your life more stressful?
Hey! I’m Connor Gillivan. I’m an Owner and the CMO of EcomBalance. We’re an online company providing monthly bookkeeping services to eCommerce brands, software companies, digital agencies, coaches, consultants, and more.
I’ve been an entrepreneur for the past 10 years and let me tell you, I’ve seen the lows of the lows of bookkeeping and accounting and also what it’s like to be on top of the mountain.
The Wrong Way to Outsource Bookkeeping and Accounting
With my first business selling on Amazon, my business partner, Nathan Hirsch, and I would lock ourselves in a room every 6 months and catch up our books so that we could send them over to our CPA to file our end of year taxes.
Talk about not knowing our monthly numbers! LOL
The Right Way To Do It
After a couple of years of handling our finances this way, we decided that there had to be a better way and we started taking our bookkeeping and accounting more seriously.
More seriously meaning that we decided it wasn’t a task for us to be doing. We needed to outsource it to someone reliable and we needed to do it quick.
Fast forward a few years later and we were scaling our second company, FreeUp. Who were the first people that we hired for this new business? Our bookkeeper and our accountant!
We had learned our lesson that if we wanted to scale fast, we needed to know our numbers and we needed the bookkeeping and accounting to be off of our plates.
I can’t tell you how amazing it was to have our finances set up accurately and efficiently from day 1 for that business.
The Outcome of Properly Outsourced Bookkeeping and Accounting
Over the next 4 years, it allowed us to build a team of 35+ people, scale to 8 figures in revenue, and eventually sell to The HOTH in 2019.
There’s no way we would have been able to do it without the help of our bookkeeping team and accountant.
If you’re in a similar situation to us when we were running that first business OR you’re just reaching a point where your current bookkeeper and accountant don’t make sense anymore, then you’re in the right place.
In this article, I’ll outline the process that we’ve used for years to outsource our bookkeeping and accounting (along with other tasks within our companies).
Here’s what we’ll go through:
- Define Your Ideal Outcome
- Research Bookkeepers and Accountants
- Choose the Best One For Your Business
- Stay Focused Through the Integration Process
- Provide Feedback in the First 3 Months
Let’s get into the steps!
5 Steps to Outsource Your Bookkeeping and Accounting Without Headaches
1. Define Your Ideal Outcome
The first step to outsourcing your bookkeeping and accounting is understanding what your ideal outcome is and what the specifically looks like.
It also entails understanding exactly who is your ideal bookkeeping and accountant.
Here’s some questions you should go through with your founding team:
- How are our lives different once we’ve outsourced our bookkeeping and accounting?
- What type of financial reports are we receiving? How often? By what time each month?
- What’s different about our understanding of our finances?
- Who is the ideal bookkeeper and accountant to work with?
- Do we want the bookkeeper and accountant to be with one company or could they be separate?
- Do we want them to specialize within our business niche?
- Do we want them in our direct area or can they be remote?
- Do we want a service or a freelancer?
- How do we want to communicate with them?
Sit down and write down the answers to all of these questions until you and your founding team have an understanding of what it is that you want out of this important hire.
Once you have a clear understanding and vision for who this person is and how it will impact your ability to run your business, move on to step 2.
2. Research Bookkeepers and Accountants
In Step 2, it’s all about researching the different bookkeeping and accounting options out there based off of what you came up with in Step 1.
Here’s an example: You’ve decided that you want a CPA that specializes within your business to manage your year end taxes and to help with tax questions. Likewise, you’ve decided that you want an online bookkeeping service to run your monthly books. You want both to know your business model well. Let’s say that your business sells products on Amazon and Shopify. And you want to have your financial reports delivered monthly by the 10th so you and your team can review them and make decisions for the next month of business.
In this example, your Step 2 would look like the following:
- Action #1: Search “eCommerce bookkeeper” and “eCommerce bookkeeping service” and “Amazon bookkeeper” and “Shopify bookkeeper” on Google and open tabs for the top results of bookkeeping companies that specialize in your niche. Add them into a Google spreadsheet.
- Action #2: Perform the same searches, but for “accountants” in your niche. Add them into a Google spreadsheet as well.
- Action #3: At the same time, go into any online communities that you’re a part of and ask them if they have any recommendations for eCommerce bookkeeper or accountants. Add those to the list that you didn’t find already from your Google searches.
- Action 4: Look through the websites for 5-10 of the companies that you found. Go through their sign up process or set up a sales call with them to learn more about them. Research their reviews online, their founders on LinkedIn, and other customers they have worked with.
- Action 5: Have the calls, take notes, and narrow it down to 2 companies for your bookkeeper and accountant.
Once you’ve done all of this, it’s decision time. Move onto Step 3.
3. Choose the Best One For Your Business
Now that you’ve done all of this research, you should have a good understanding of what options there are in the market and who you like best.
Use the research that you did as well as the conversations that you had from people from each of the companies and narrow it down to the top 2. Two for your bookkeeper. Two for your accountant.
Action #1: Reach out to the 4 top leads and get pricing quotes for working with them (if you haven’t already). If they’re efficient, they should be able to get you these pricing quotes within 1-2 business days.
Action #2: Set a meeting with your founding team to go over all of the information and make a decision. Make your decision and inform the bookkeeper and accountant that you’d like to get started.
Woo! You’ve found and chosen your new bookkeeper and accountant.
But don’t let go of the rope just yet. There’s still more work to do to outsource your bookkeeping and accounting completely.
That’s what Step 4 is all about…
4. Stay Focused Through the Integration Process
Now that you’ve signed on the dotted line and added your payment method for your new outsourced bookkeeper and accountant, it’s time for Integration.
What is Integration?
I’m glad you asked! Integration is the 1-2 week process after you’ve hired your new bookkeeper and accountant that they need you to help them get access to everything they need to properly run your books and taxes.
Depending on the company, integration can be a super seamless and easy process or it can be a disorganized and stressful experience. It’s hard to know which you’ll run into until you actually start working with them so keep an eye out for any disorganization at the start and make sure to reset the expectations if it gets too messy.
Essentially, you want to be responsive for 1-2 weeks while they request access to certain accounts of yours.
Here’s what is typically set up during this Integration period:
- View Only access to bank accounts, credit cards, and payment processors
- View Only access to sales channels
- Access to past year’s tax returns
- View Access to other softwares that you’re using that will impact your books
- Quickbooks Online or Xero access or set up (depending on if you have it already)
Our Advice: Be patient and respond quickly during this Integration period. The faster it’s all done, the happier you’ll be and you’ll start to see it all moving off of your plate.
5. Provide Feedback in the First 3 Months
This final step is super important. If you want these new relationships to work out for the long run, take the first 3 months seriously and provide feedback to your new bookkeeper and accountant.
The last thing you want to do is put in all of this effort to find and hire the right team and then not fully optimize the relationship so that it works in your favor as the business owner.
Here’s what you can give feedback on:
- The financial reports
- Their communication methods
- On-time delivery
- Communication between the two of them
- How they bill you
- How you receive new information from them
Treat both new hires like a new relationship and get to know who you’re working with. The better you know them and the more comfortable you feel with them, the better the relationship will be in the short and long run.
Final Thoughts on Outsourcing Your Bookkeeping and Accounting
Congrats on making it this far! It’s my hope that you’ve been able to find a stellar bookkeeper and accountant for your business.
Like I said at the beginning, I know what it’s like not to have the right people in place and it can really be a time suck and a mental stressor.
Take the time to go through these 5 steps and you’ll thank yourself years down the line when you’re still working with the same outsourced bookkeeper and accountant and you know your numbers at a high level.
If you’re looking for an outsourcing bookkeeping service, be sure to check out EcomBalance. We offer monthly bookkeeping services catered to eCommerce companies and we work hard to make sure that every single one of our clients are happy with our services. You can get 1 month free of bookkeeping services when you sign up through this link.
If you have any questions about the 5 step process, feel free to drop them in the comments below or to email us at [email protected] and we’ll be in touch quickly.
Thanks for reading. We hope this was helpful and informative. Cheers!