Across the United States, many accounting firms have turned to outsourcing to help them better manage their workloads, streamline operations, expand their client bases, and offer more high value services. In terms of business strategy, outsourcing is a convenient and affordable alternative to hiring employees – whether on a permanent or temporary basis – but compliance can sometimes cause concern.

Although outsourcing for CPA firms has many advantages, it’s important that industry regulations are always adhered to, and below are 7 best practices to help accounting professions guarantee this:

  1. Have a clear understanding of the ultimate objective

Aligning its strategic goals with its overall aim, is essential for any accounting firm, and only when this is fully understood and clearly outlined, can it go on to select an outsourced partner that will help it meet its objectives.

  • Perform due diligence when choosing an outsourcing partner

Before engaging with any third party service providers, whether onshoring or offshoring, CPA firms must thoroughly evaluate them and carry out due diligence. Those with plenty of industry experience are ideal, and you should check whether they already have a solid client base, and qualified employees on their payroll.

  • Make data security a priority

You need to be able to trust that your chosen outsourcing partner will keep your financial data secure, and this means checking their data security protocols to ensure that they comply with regulations such as GDPR. They should also possess the relevant certifications, including ISO 27001:2013. Ideally, their employees should be working from an office environment, giving them enhanced control over the data they’re handling.

Robust safety measures to protect against cybercrime are essential not just for building client trust, but for mitigating the risk of a data breach taking place.

  • Encourage and nurture effective communication

Helping to lay the foundation of a fruitful relationship between an accounting firm and their outsourced partner, effective communication is a must, irrespective of how remote their location may be, cultural differences, and differing time zones. By communicating well with one another, accounting firms can benefit from the seamless exchange of information, and successful collaborations that move towards shared objectives and goals. It may be that holding daily calls to check-in with one another, are the best way to keep everyone on track, and to prevent problems from occurring.

  • Promote cultural understanding

Making it a priority to encourage and support understanding between employees and outsourced partners from different cultures, helps to reduce frustration, anger, and confusion, and promotes effective cross-border collaboration.

By encouraging open dialogue between both parties, and being open to varying perspectives and opinions, accounting firms can foster a collaborative relationship that doesn’t fall apart due to cultural differences.

  • Establish defined SLAs

Having well-defined SLAs (Service Level Agreements) in place, can help to define the parameters and expectations typically associated with third-party accounting services. Encompassing service quality and response times, among other KPIs, well-structured SLAs enable CPA firms to set clear benchmarks and foster an environment of accountability.

  • Cultivate strong relationships

By placing an emphasis on team building and encouraging the professional development of the outsourcing partners team, you can help to nurture loyalty and give them a sense of belonging. Recognizing achievements, communicating consistently, and providing ways for them to grow and expand upon their learning, can boost morale and encourage them to be dedicated within their roles, which of course, works in the accounting firms favor, too.

When taking advantage of everything that outsourced bookkeeping has to offer you as an accounting firm, make sure your focus never strays from the points listed above. By heeding them at every step of your outsourced journey, you should have confidence in their ability to maintain regulatory compliance at all times, while providing you with a high standard of work.

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