Greg Genovese

It’s no secret that the rapid outbreak of COVID-19 throughout the world has had a drastic impact on the economy and overall business environment within the U.S. For many businesses, including those in the Greater Rochester New York region, the measures taken to help prevent the spread of the pandemic have led to shifting workplaces, declining revenues and, in some cases, workforce reductions, among other effects of varying scale. While some of these impacts are temporary, others will have long-term implications.

Even as the uncertainty caused by the pandemic continues to swirl, business leaders are assessing operations to reduce their overhead expenses without negatively affecting overall efficiency. Simultaneously, these decision-makers are evaluating their company’s ability to respond and quickly adapt to unexpected situations and crises. Out of these shifting priorities an opportunity has arisen for many previously hesitant organizations to reconsider outsourced accounting as the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the forefront many of the immediate and long-term benefits of outsourcing businesses’ accounting functions, including:

Reduction of costs

The impacts of COVID-19 have proven that many workers don’t physically need to be in the office to work effectively — the same goes for outsourced workers or entire departments. Outsourcing the accounting function reduces payroll costs while adding highly qualified experts with a deep pool of resources, especially in times of crisis and uncertainty. Outsourcing can also mean less stress for business leaders over employee turnover or potential layoffs.

Security and efficiency in a virtual workforce

With many employees working from home for the foreseeable future, businesses are being forced to quickly implement the technology and solutions that will help them best adapt to these new circumstances. In this virtual age, migrating an organization to a cloud-based accounting software from a desktop or server-based software allows business leaders and employees to have secure, remote access without any hassles.

Increased depth of knowledge and resources

In the past several weeks, outsourced accounting experts have provided relevant financial and regulatory information to assist businesses in applying for Paycheck Protection Program loans under the CARES Act and understanding the many updated changes that followed. These designated accounting experts are up to date on all the latest regulatory requirements and are continuously monitoring relevant laws and regulations to stay current on processes necessary for their clients to remain compliant. Having a team of accountants on call to tackle regulatory issues ultimately allows company leadership time to focus on management and core operations essential to business success in the current environment.

Access to scalable technology solutions

More than ever, the pressure is on for business leaders to produce faster insights and clear visibility to drive company performance higher. Outsourced accounting platforms can deliver real-time reporting with metrics that matter to a business’s key stakeholders while keeping its leaders in a constant position to make the best financial decisions.

Businesses have several different options when it comes to cloud-based outsourced accounting — it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation. For example, one small step is implementing a cloud bookkeeping solution through which an outsourced accounting provider can easily maintain a business’s records remotely at a fraction of the cost of hiring someone onsite. Another more robust option is a full-cloud accounting solution, where clients not only have basic bookkeeping, but also a full-service team including controllers and chief financial officers. Under these models, the processing of accounts payable is one of the first areas that can be streamlined. This is done through a cloud-based solution in four easy steps: 1) Invoices are automatically entered for review; 2) automated routing simplifies approvals; 3) bills are paid with ACH or checks; 4) activity is synced with cloud-based accounting solution for fast payment reconciliations.

Today’s business leaders were already facing greater expectations around financial transparency and government compliance requirements, and these pressures have only been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. For many, the decision to outsource accounting functions is the first step to making life easier and processes safer with added benefits of resource savings, which allows senior leadership added time to focus on management and core operations to help make sound, logical financial decisions.

Gregg Genovese, CPA, is practice leader of The Bonadio Group’s outsource accounting & finance team.