Running errands, keeping customers happy, managing staff—the list goes on. While running your own business is rewarding, it’s also extremely tough.
Adding on to that list of things to do, you also have to manage your own finances. It’s not easy keeping track of your finances every month, especially when you have so many other priorities.
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) tend to handle accounting themselves, but it can be time-consuming and taxing. When you’re managing both the front and back end of the business, the burden of accounting weighs heavy on you.
That’s why many SMEs now prefer to outsource accounting services—because it’s efficient, sustainable, and cost-effective, among the many benefits. Knowing you can leave your finances to the trusted hands of an accounting firm will help you focus better on growing your business.
Let’s say you’re considering outsourcing accounting services for your company—choosing the right accounting firm that fits the unique requirements of your business is your next priority. It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution because no two businesses are identical, and the same goes for accounting firms.
Here are some factors to consider to find the best accounting service to partner with.
Relevant experiences and certifications
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) qualification is the most common and known certification in Singapore.
Besides looking for certified Chartered Accountants, there are other qualifications to take note of. For example, find out if the accountants are adept at the accounting software they provide.
At Harvest Accounting, we’re certified accountants who make sure that we’re on top of the software we use to help you with your finances. As a tech-focused accounting firm, we believe in using technology to help ease the burden of accounting.
We’re glad to say that we achieved Gold Champion partner status with Xero and Gold Partner status with Receipt Bank for continuously getting clients onboard onto both platforms. We also cultivate partnerships with other software providers to help you find the software that best suits your business operations.
Similarly, if you want to outsource accounting services, you would also like to hire one that has relevant experience. For example, they may have served clients within your industry or have the expertise to provide the specific types of accounting services you need.
Client testimonials and positive reviews are also a good way to tell if the accounting firm can help your business grow while also managing your finances.
Digitalised and secure bookkeeping
It’s important to find out precisely how the accounting firm delivers their services and what they can do to help you tackle the financial issues you’re facing.
What type of technology are they using for their accounting services? Is it compatible with the current solutions you’re implementing? Will your information be secure?
These are just some questions to ask before deciding on an accounting firm.
Traditional firms often use more manual methods, which are prone to error and less secure. There is always a risk when everything is stored on paper. Traditional firms also tend to be more touch-and-go, which means they may be limited to just managing bookkeeping and handling your finances instead of helping you increase productivity, or providing you with detailed insights of how your business is doing.
Modern accounting, on the other hand, involves various technologies that increase productivity. Digital tools can minimise errors and make accounting less time-consuming. Since data is stored in the cloud, you don’t have to worry about a loss of information.
That’s why modern accounting firms can provide better client communication and regulatory compliance with the help of cloud-based and automated tools. By processing and delivering data in real-time with the help of cloud technology, they provide you with analyses and reports that allow you to make timely financial decisions for your business. Since digital tools can handle most of the manual bookkeeping tasks and automate certain processes, accountants at modern firms have more bandwidth to walk you through your finances and give you strategic advice.
Not all tools may be suitable for your business. You need to consider which digital tool best suits your company’s accounting objectives. That alone can be hard to figure out.
We’re able to walk through your financial statements and provide guidance virtually with clients in real-time—helping your business grow and saving you from the hassle of doing your own accounting.
Location and flexibility of services
Depending on your industry and business, your accounting objectives may differ from other companies. For example, an e-commerce business would handle operations and finances differently from a content marketing company—basically goods versus services. Some businesses need to handle payroll weekly and others, monthly.
There are many variations for each aspect of a business, and the accounting firm should be flexible in their services to meet these requirements. They should understand your business to advise specific solutions to fit your financial objectives.
It’s also important to find out what type of tools they use to communicate with you. Not all firms are comfortable with technology, but at Harvest, along with the usual emails and phone calls, we enjoy meeting face to face, but also have utilised video calls and screen sharing. Sometimes a quick online session can be more fruitful than an endless email thread. Ultimately, it depends on what you’re most comfortable with.
At Harvest Accounting we use a collaborative workflow platform that keeps track of every piece of work and sends automated reminders both internally and to our clients for effective communication. No missed deadlines.
Businesses may hire a firm located elsewhere across the globe since most of the digitalised bookkeeping is more common now. However, finding an accounting firm based in the same country would make things a lot easier to manage.
A local accounting firm would be more knowledgeable about your country’s tax rules and regulations and thus, would be able to handle your finances accordingly.
Your chosen accounting firm should understand the inner workings of your business and the economic climate of your country. Being able to keep up with the performance of the country’s economy will also benefit you in terms of how the accountant can further help you with your financial health.
Service-oriented and human-centric approach
The accounting servicing firm should offer more than just bookkeeping and handling finances; it should be service-oriented to give you a better direction for your finances. Most accountants can quickly help with the calculations and the receipts, but they should also find ways to help improve your financial flow.
Ideally, they should be fast responding if you have queries or require help. If any problem arises they should be able to offer practical advice, along with some troubleshooting if you have problems with the software. More importantly, they can guide you along with your financial goals when doing accounting for your business.
Especially during Covid-19, when SMEs are experiencing heightened financial risks, your accountant should do regular bookkeeping to discuss your business’ financial health.
Even if there are uncertainties, they would be able to point it out earlier and inform you of potential financial risks and find ways to assist you in getting your finances back on track.
They should be able to provide you with monthly key performance indicators (KPIs), financial metrics, analyses, or commentary on the numbers shown on your reports. Gaining insights from these various areas can help you set and achieve your financial goals.
Accountants should also aid you in understanding and visualising the numbers generated in the reports perhaps through graphs, charts or inferring a trend to enable better foresights.
The accounting firm should also be human-centric and cater to your business’ specific needs. Other than keeping your financial records in check, they’re also concerned about the growth of your business. They should be able to provide sound and trustworthy financial decisions, give advice, and provide insights on your business’ financial state.
At Harvest Accounting, we emphasise the importance of human touch in everything we do. We can discuss financial solutions and analyse forecasts for your business.
It’s not enough to just hit you up with a “How may I help you?” message through a chatbox when you run into problems with your finances. Relying on technology for accounting services is great, but we also want to build a relationship with you and your business to help you do better.
It’s no doubt that technology is a massive tool that can help bridge the gap of convenience and efficiency for the accounting industry. But at the end of the day, we want to focus on working with you and gaining your trust in managing your finances—a human to human relationship is what we’re looking for.
Leave the nitty-gritty aspects of accounting to us
Harvest Accounting provides more than just accounting services. We want to help your business grow by providing helpful solutions and aiding you in your finances and accounting.
There are so many digital tools available, and it can be confusing when accounting is something relatively new to you. We can take care of your accounting by using reliable digital tools like Xero and make sure all your bookkeeping is secured safely in the clouds.
With that, we take the time to analyse and keep your finances in check so that we can give you sound advice on how to achieve better financial health and flag out any risks.
If you’re keen on partnering with us, drop us a message with your details here and get to know what effortless accounting feels like.