If you have decided to outsource your bookkeeping and accounting services for the first time, you may be a bit nervous about the cost of doing so. The good news is that there are several things you can do to help keep the cost of outsourced accounting services manageable. The secret to cost containment for outsourced accounting lies, to a large degree, in your own hands. Understanding how accountants charge for their services is the first step.
Accountants Are Selling Their Time
When you outsource accounting jobs, you are paying for the time of an expert, and that expertise will have an associated hourly or per-project cost. Some accountants charge clients on an hourly basis or fixed monthly fee, while others charge on a per-project basis. If you hire someone on a project basis, expect for the details of the project to be spelled out clearly and for both of you to agree to the terms. For an hourly rate, you can often get an estimate of the number of hours your job will require based on your financial records and the estimated complexity of the task.
How Accountants Develop Quotes for Jobs
For your accountant to provide a realistic quote for the work you want done, he or she will need access to your financial records. How those records are presented can make a huge difference in the cost of the service. For example, records that can be submitted in electronic form may help save your accountant valuable time compared to submitting handwritten or printed records. And gathering all the necessary records before your accountant starts to work will help him or her work more efficiently.
Save Money by Saving Your Accountant Time
The main way to save money when you outsource accounting or bookkeeping tasks is to help your accountant save time. It is far better to deliver all the materials needed up front and in an organized fashion. That way, your accountant does not have to sift through a lot of records to find what is needed, and will not have to put your project on hold while you dig up more records. If your accountant discovers you have not submitted something he or she needs, time is wasted. After all, putting down the project and picking it back up later always takes longer than simply working on a project without interruption.
Peak versus Off-Peak Accounting Costs
Also, bear in mind that accounting services at certain times of the year may be more costly due to workload. During “tax season,” for instance, if you need to outsource an accounting task, you may have to pay extra due to accountants’ normally heavy workload this time of year.
Many factors influence the cost of accounting jobs, but in general, if you do the following, you can keep those costs to a minimum:
Understand your accountant’s fee structure and ask questions if there is something you do not understand.
Gather and organize all needed records before your accountant starts on your project.
The expertise an accountant brings to your project will cost more if your needs are more complex, or if you have difficulty providing the records needed. However, it will always ultimately costs less to get the job done correctly by someone with necessary experience than to have it done incorrectly and have to start over with someone else.
Contact us today and see how much you can save.