There comes a time in the lifecycle of many businesses where it makes sense to either outsource the general accounting needs (bookkeeping/payroll etc.), or if you’ve been outsourcing, perhaps a time to hire someone and bring it all in house. Only the business owner can make that decision and it needs to be the right one for you at the right time.

For our purposes, let’s talk about when we keep (or bring) it all in your house. Now as an accounting firm it might seem odd to discuss this, or even encourage it in some situations, but the reality is that there are times that it will make the most sense for the business. When this happens, it gives us the opportunity to work with your business in a whole new way, so read on!

Dealing with the accounting work for your business can sometimes be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be daunting; there are many things you can do to make it work for you and there are ways too to ease the financial burden of getting where you need to be.

You’re a start-up or new business…
Many new businesses struggle with this decision especially because when starting up the money is tight, but the expertise is needed. For these clients, we believe that a sound foundation to get you started, is a necessary expense, but doesn’t have to be a huge commitment. A few working sessions to get the basics so you can get started with an understanding of your business’ compliance needs, margins, and financial expectations is a great investment.

For our new business clients, we like working with you over time through your development and start-up phases; start off right, and keep on track in the beginning, when it is so essential, but also, very intimidating. It is a lower cost “support” solution, until you’re at the point of needing more help.

Look in your area for innovation clusters, entrepreneurship and business centres, and development corporations; many of these have funded programs to either assist you in the above, or to provide funding and access to someone in your area that can assist you. Focusing on your new business is key to get your product and service moving, and as tempting as it is to go it alone, invest in the support so it doesn’t railroad all your hard work.

You’re an active business…
For an active business, a change in who does the work often comes with a change within the business itself – it has entered a new phase in the life cycle; growth or decline. For us, we look at either of these situations as an opportunity to assist.

Perhaps the employee you have doesn’t have the skill set to manage the work any further and you would like more expertise as you are starting to grow. Alternatively, you feel that the outsourcing you’re doing is no longer needed and you’ve found the right person, or you will be educating the right person, so that you may bring that work back in house (or keep it there). Either way, you need to ensure that whomever is handling things for you has the appropriate knowledge and skill set for the work you’re asking them to do.

Getting that person educated doesn’t necessarily have to be a “back-to-school” adventure for them, or a costly one for you. Our Federal and Provincial government have worked together to create a grant for business owners that want to advance an employee by increasing their skill; the Canada-Ontario Job Grant. For our active businesses in this situation we offer an education program for your employee, that works in conjunction with this grant so that getting that employee working where they need to be, can, in most cases, be supplemented. With your employee trained and ready to go, our role moves to that of advisor and support, in whatever capacity is needed.

Whatever stage your business is in, making the decision to handle your bookkeeping in house is a big one, but you’re not alone. Get yourself the support of an accounting/bookkeeping firm or business development office to help you on your way and provide you ongoing support so you don’t end up falling behind.

 

Susan Watkin is the owner of Watkin Small Business Services, an accounting, bookkeeping, and small business education firm in southern Ontario. She is a self-proclaimed, non-blogger, but endeavors to share about important small business issues, experiences, and best practices as often as possible.