The financial side is sometimes a lagging concern for emerging growth companies as they work toward getting their product or service off the ground—but it soon becomes an issue once the bills pile up, future cash flow becomes unclear, and accounting cleanup is desperately needed. They need to make significant investments in moving the company forward, such as starting an extensive marketing effort. To make the right strategic decisions, they need to understand how the business is really performing—a fuzzy financial outlook will interfere with this capability.
Sound familiar? If the idea of building a financial organization from scratch and hiring for this organization seems overwhelming, at least in the short term, you may want to consider outsourcing. Outsourcing to finance and accounting consultants requires very little ramp-up time as these pros are accustomed to joining a company and taking over the day-to-day accounting, improving the financial operations, and keeping everything running smoothly, whether you need this expertise and support to get your financial function going, you only need it for a short period of time, or you need it indefinitely as you figure out your next steps.
Steps to Cleaning Up Accounting Records
Is it time to clean up the books? While an accounting cleanup is an area of the business that needs immediate attention, it’s not uncommon for fast-moving companies that have become complacent with manual processes, haphazard ways of approving and paying expenses, and a workforce that is doing the best they can with limited resources and time. Many companies start out with a part-time bookkeeper, sometimes with someone the owner knows who happens to have some knowledge of accounting—but at some point that person reaches their limit and outsourced financial experts are needed to create repeatable, practical processes and to get a hold of the complexity.
Finding the Right Company to Develop a Worry-Free Finance Function
A smooth-running finance function is not always top-of-mind for management unless specific information is needed. But when this organization mired in chaos, and accounting cleanup is necessary, this area of the business becomes a constant worry and concern to those who are ultimately responsible for the company having tight controls, clean audits, trustworthy financial statements, and so on.
When you have people on board with you, day in and day out, who know what they are doing, those concerns are lifted. You can trust that the outsourced team will keep you in the loop when necessary and point out improvements and issues.
When looking for finance and accounting help to develop and then run your financial organization, consider your company’s needs over time. While you may simply need the equivalent of a staff accountant at this time, to fix your accounting mess and clean up accounting records, you will need a different set of skills over time for filling in all the layers of the financial organization. These roles do not need to be fully formed at all at once, as they may not fill up 40 hours of the week. Appropriate systems in place will cut the amount of man-hours you need to expend while enabling you to see what’s going on in the business, right now, and minimize errors.
Staying Organized and Benefiting From Valuable Advice, Insights
Enthusiastic entrepreneurs are inclined to do it all, often because that’s what’s necessary to get the business going—but it’s not possible to keep up the pace and keep moving the business forward.
Lack of enough hours in the day is one reason but the other is tunnel vision. Data-driven, fresh insights will open up your perspective to the areas of the business that need to be improved or that risk bringing your business down. Is your company’s spend too much for where your company is at this point in time? What’s happening in your industry, the economy, and how can it affect your company’s future? Scenario planning can help you think through the next moves, and the risks involved. Even if your company is not yet ready to fill out the entire C-suite with a CFO, you can benefit from CFO-level guidance and the unique perspective that only this position can bring.
More Time to Do What You Do Best
When messy accounting records are cleaned up and you are able to have consistent access to reliable, timely financial information about the business—and when you can sleep at night knowing you’re not going to run out of cash tomorrow—then you will able to turn your attention to what should be your primary focus: running the business. Unless you are running an accounting firm yourself, you are more interested in innovating, leading, and managing your talented team than what’s going on with the company’s finances. When you have outsourcing finance experts you can trust, you can keep your attention on what matters most to you.