Making Bookkeeping Add Up to Better Business

By Ed Becker

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DECEMBER 2005 - Most CPAs look to expand their business by providing supplementary services, including insurance products, investments, financial planning, human resources, and outsourced bookkeeping. Individual circumstances vary, but accounting firms should consider how to hire and train bookkeepers while focusing on core services. To grow the business and provide high-end services to clients, a CPA firm must provide constant supervision and controls. CPAs do not need to be reviewing the accuracy of minutiae such as each expense posting, but should instead focus on issues like ratios and reasonableness.

By outsourcing day-to-day processing (such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, bank reconciliations, and loan account reconciliations) while ensuring that the product is accurate, CPAs can provide enhanced services at little to no additional cost.

The benefits of outsourcing bookkeeping functions to a service provider include the following:

  • Independence is not impaired, so the provision of attest services is not affected.
  • Processing and quality controls are done by outside experts.
  • Online access can be made available through hosting services.
  • Client visits and travel time can be reduced.
  • Working with the outsourcing provider to customize preferred reporting formats helps with financial statement groupings.
  • No dedicated partner is required to hire, train, and monitor quality within the bookkeeping department.
  • The more economical labor alternative can be rebilled at higher rates, or the savings can be passed on to clients.
  • No equipment or overhead costs are required to maintain adequate staffing levels.
  • There is no downtime or unbillable staff time.
    Consider the following when evaluating an outsourced service provider:
  • Software packages supported;
  • Quality-control procedures used;
  • Referrals and discussions with current clients to validate what the provider is promising;
  • Staff structure, and whether the firm will be working with a single person or a team;
  • Staff skill levels and years of experience;
  • Knowledge and experience of the management team;
  • Financial strength and length of time in business;
  • Geographic areas covered if not supported by online service; and
  • Turnaround time of work product.

Ed Becker, CPA, is licensed in both New York and Massachusetts. He is the president of Outsource Your Books (, which provides professional outsourced bookkeeping and accounting services.




















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