By Suzanne D’Angelo
The finance department is often the unsung champion behind many financial projects and challenges. On the flip side, though, the department can feel a lot of heat too. Can you relate to one (or more) of these scenarios?
Often, the heat turns up when staffing goes down. Inevitably, that rising temperature results in even more departures … and the pressure cycle continues. The key to staff retention and financial continuity in the finance function may be in recognizing when it is time to bring in external support. When approached correctly, outsourcing can help address financial challenges such as unplanned transitions, succession planning, and special projects, or can supplement and support an entity’s finance functions.
Think of your finance department as a pyramid:
The higher up the finance pyramid, the more specialized support is needed. The beauty of outsourcing is that delegated tasks can fall anywhere within the finance function pyramid. This is especially true when dealing with unexpected financial challenges in which staff may not be able to quickly shift away from regular duties (such as in the unsuccessful software conversion example).
The shortage of accountants and financial management support is no secret. Therefore, it can be beneficial to have another source who is familiar with your organization. Here are a few other benefits of outsourcing:
When vetting providers, we recommend three basic first steps:
Why the extra step to verify? If the provider of outsourced assistance is later audited, you want to be sure they will still be around to provide support.
Think of outsourced help as a partnership. To be successful, executive management must be willing to listen to advice and make changes quickly. In addition, staff must be willing to learn and contribute to the process. With these relationships in place, outsourcing can help your entity manage costs, gain the services of highly skilled accounting professionals, and successfully supplement and support your entity’s finance functions.
Suzanne D’Angelo works in the Philadelphia office of Your Part-Time Controller LLC. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Join Suzanne D’Angelo at the PICPA's CFOs & Controllers Conference held on March 16 and March 23, where she will identify ways organizations can utilize outsourcing to help with internal and external financial challenges.
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Statements of fact and opinion are the authors’ responsibility alone and do not imply an opinion on the part of the PICPA's officers or members. The information contained herein does not constitute accounting, legal, or professional advice. For actionable advice, you must engage or consult with a qualified professional.
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