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When building a team and hiring employees, there are standard interview questions you always ask: Do you have relative experience? What systems and tools are you comfortable using? What makes you interested in joining our team? Do you have references you could share? Before bringing someone new into the business, you make certain they’ll be a valuable addition to the team. The same should be done when outsourcing different functions of your business. Just because the outsourced team may not be located within the four walls of your office doesn’t mean they shouldn’t go through the same vetting process as an internal hire.

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If you’re a business owner considering outsourced accounting and bookkeeping, you should be aware that there are a lot of options out there. To make sure you’re finding the team that will best serve your needs, look for them to answer the following questions:

Do you have experience with businesses in my industry? Every business has different needs, which is why your bookkeeping team should have a track record helping other businesses in your industry. For example, if you are a natural cosmetics company using more than one co-packer and selling your product via multiple sales channels, your ideal accounting firm will have experience with inventory management and the many challenges that come with being a product-based business. Work with a team that will help you navigate merchant chargebacks, evaluate your distributor relationships, and analyze your margins; otherwise you run the risk of missing opportunities.

What bookkeeping and accounting systems do you work with? Regardless of the industry you’re in, entrepreneurs and small business owners need to be using cloud-based bookkeeping systems like QuickBooks Online (QBO). When implemented and monitored properly, cloud-based solutions can streamline tasks that had previously been done manually or by a third-party. Take inventory management for example: When using QBO and a system like Dear Inventory, your products are set up as inventory items (with associated cost) so that when the sale goes through it’s deducted from inventory automatically. Partner with a team that implements bookkeeping solutions that let you travel the world while you run your business— wasn’t that the point of working for yourself in the first place?

Why do you want to join our team? As a business owner, you’ll have wins and losses. But whether you’re closing a location (bummer) or launching a new product (yay), your outsourced accounting team needs to feel like part of your internal team. Engage with a team that’s invested in the well-being of your business. They should be asking questions about the business and where you want to take things in the future, not just how much you have for a budget.

Do you have references you can share? If your prospective accounting firm doesn’t offer a reference, ask for one and reach out to see what it was like working with them. And if they don’t get you a reference to speak with? Look elsewhere— you don’t want to work with a team that doesn’t have clients that will sing their praises.

There are plenty of outsourced accounting and bookkeeping options out there. Make sure the team you engage with is one that's as committed to your success as you are. Accountfully is always happy to chat with you about your needs to see if we can help get the bookkeeping off your plate.

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