Accurate and up-to-date financial information is a powerful tool for a growing business. With reliable information, business owners can make better strategic decisions, secure resources and increase profitability. But, how can business owners ensure they have this competitive advantage?
“Financial information can be empowering, but managing it can also be a burden on a growing business. Partnering with a CPA firm that specializes in providing business services can provide a spark for many organizations,” says Brenda Stelle, a manager of the business services department at Sensiba San Filippo, LLP.
Smart Business spoke with Stelle about the benefits of working with a business services department.
What are business services and how do they bring value to a growing business?
Recognizing the need for accounting solutions for small and midsize businesses, some leading accounting firms have assembled business service teams that provide bookkeeping, financial reporting and tax planning services. These business service teams are particularly useful for growing and startup businesses that need help but may not yet require an internal accounting department. It’s also a way for companies to acquire expert services without the risk and investment of a new hire.
Many business service teams also offer project costing and accounting system design and implementation. Sometimes startup companies just don’t know where to begin or how to properly prepare expense reports or get a loan to finance growth. Business service teams have answers, so owners don’t have to waste time searching for them.
What should be expected from an accounting firm’s business service team?
Business service teams can help clients see that their future success depends on being proactive. They work with owners to analyze the critical financial information that may help to avoid a crisis, manage an unforeseen financial problem or seize an opportunity for growth. With accurate, meaningful and timely information, a business owner can analyze key performance indicators with confidence.
Maybe the biggest thing a business service provider can offer is peace of mind. Business owners can feel overwhelmed on a daily basis just because they don’t have an accounting system to reassure them that bills will be paid.
How does a business choose the right business services partner?
Work with a business services partner that has experience in your industry and has the resources of a strong CPA firm. Also, be sure to get referrals and check references.
Not all business service providers are the same. It’s a good idea to find out if an accounting firm has made these services a priority. Firms that have dedicated business service teams are often more focused on providing services that maximize the value they deliver. These dedicated teams allow for greater responsiveness and timely turnaround.
When choosing a business services partner, take the time to communicate expectations to ensure that your new partner can handle your needs. Be clear about what you expect, otherwise you may find yourself with a provider but not a solution.
How can business owners ensure they are receiving value?
A properly staffed business services team can work with clients of varying sizes, from startups to those with $20 million in revenue. Some will bundle services together so that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Business owners should seek out a CPA firm that focuses on long-term relationships, and has high retention rates and client references you can speak with. Sit down with them and let them get to know you, your business and where you want to go. They will identify the critical functions that will provide the information needed to run a strategic business. From there, they will set up a plan of action and move forward.
Insights Accounting is brought to you by Sensiba San Filippo LLP