Finding the Perfect Blend of Accounting Skills and Expertise
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Every business is different when it comes to the type and level of accounting services needed. Some small businesses may only need bookkeeping services, while others benefit from many layers of accounting skills from bookkeepers to Chief Financial Officers.
If your business is in the small to mid-market range, generating $500,000 to $20 million in annual revenues, it may not make sense to have a full-time CFO, a full-time controller, and multiple bookkeepers with all the full-time salaries and benefits in your accounting department.
The good news is you can still get the advice of these high-level accounting skill sets while paying only for what you need. We work with business owners like you to create a customized package based on your company’s unique accounting needs.
What Are the Levels of Accounting Skills Available?
Almost all businesses start out with a recordkeeping function which is done part-time by anyone available or outsourced to a vendor. The minimum is done to get the tax compliance handled.
In very small businesses (revenue under $500,000 per year), a bookkeeper codes the transactions, reconciles the bank accounts, and generates monthly reports. The bookkeeper can be a part-time or full-time employee, a contractor, or a bookkeeping business that provides this service. Invoicing is usually done by someone in the office, in the field, in the store, or online via an automated shopping cart.
Bookkeeping + Light Advisory Services
For small businesses generating roughly over $500,000 per year in revenue, bookkeeping work plus some advisory work is, well, advised ?. An accounting professional needs to make sure the books are “done right.” The business owner may need help with cash flow, accounting software questions, setup, cleanup, adjusting entries, payroll compliance, or workflow efficiencies. An experienced bookkeeper or senior accountant is right for this level of service. This is the first level of accounting service where you may see a return on your investment in accounting services due to accounting process improvements and training efficiencies.
A small business earning more than $1 million in annual revenues is ready for controller-level services. This includes bookkeeping which is either outsourced or done in-house by full-time or part-time employees or contractors. An oversight function is included where an accounting manager reviews the monthly work and discusses financial reports with the owner.
In addition, some advisory services may be included:
• Budgeting and forecasting
• Cash flow projections
• Loan package creation
• Insights into where you can reduce expenses, increase revenues, decrease risk, and/or benefit from financial opportunities
• Accounting process setup, improvement, and documentation
• Accounting system selection, setup, customization, and training
• Chart of accounts optimization
• Accounts receivable support and analysis
• Inventory setup, reporting and analysis
• Job costing setup, reporting, and training
• Internal control review to reduce the risk of fraud and other management risks
• Key performance metrics selection, setup, and review
• Financial training to elevate skill sets of employees and owners
• Financial report review and guidance
• Compliance with financial reporting rules and regulations
• DCAA compliance
• Audit assistance and coordination with an external auditor
• Hiring or supervising accounting staff
Many of these advisory services will not be needed every month. A great accounting team will be proactive and suggest services that will have a positive impact on your profitability.
Companies generating more than $5 to $10 million in annual revenue may need the expertise of a Chief Financial Officer. While a controller manages the historical financials of a business, the CFO is forward-looking and strategic. A CFO’s responsibilities include:
• Executive level decision-making and advisory services
• Strategy work, including setting business direction
• Raising capital including managing an IPO or negotiating debt acquisition
• Working with investors, board members, and C-level executives
• Contract negotiations
• Compensation program design
• Complex financial regulation compliance
These five levels above are the core levels of accounting expertise. The smaller the business, the more they blend together. We’re happy to put together a packages of accounting services that will be perfect for your business.
Rachel Wright, MSTx
Wright Accounting Services, Inc.
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