While some company directors are tempted to do their own bookkeeping, the majority prefer to call on the services of a chartered accountancy firm.
What are the reasons for choosing one or other of these solutions? How do you know when it’s time to call in a chartered accountant?
Here are some of the answers.
The benefits of outsourced accounting
Entrusting your accounting to an external firm offers a number of advantages for your company, which can be divided into several categories
Compliance with accounting, tax and social security obligations
This is the main argument that motivates entrepreneurs to entrust their accounting to a specialist.
Companies are subject to numerous obligations: declarations, balance sheets, account keeping… All these administrative tasks become sources of potential errors, with potentially unfortunate consequences for the company and its managers.
A certified public accountant guarantees that :
- Procedures are completed on time
- Declarations are made with full knowledge of the facts
Outsourcing accounting therefore ensures that the company is not put at odds with the tax authorities.
⚠️ Good to know:
A chartered accountant is a professional whose ethics oblige him to protect data. In this way, the information shared with a firm of experts is protected and preserved while respecting the customer’s choices.
Ability to focus on core business
Chartered accountancy is a profession that requires skills acquired over many years of study.
Although most entrepreneurs have a basic understanding of business accounting, few have the knowledge to keep the company accounts up to date, carry out administrative tasks or draw up an annual balance sheet.
As a result, internal accounting is very resource-intensive. How many managers complain about “time wasted on administrative tasks”?
Outsourcing your accounting frees up your time, which you can devote to developing your business. By not spreading themselves too thinly over tasks they don’t master, managers can use their skills to ensure sales growth and the company’s good health.
Access to valuable advice and up-to-date information
For many entrepreneurs, this is the biggest advantage of outsourcing accounting.
A chartered accountant is a specialist trained in different areas of the business world, with extensive experience, up-to-date information and a global view of the economy thanks to his or her collaborations in various sectors.
At every stage in a company’s life, from start-up to sale, the chartered accountant advises management and helps them make the best choices for their business.
⚠️ Good to know:
The Ordre des Experts-Comptables requires its members to fulfill their “duty to advise”.
An external accounting firm will therefore always advise you on the steps to take and the solutions available to you, so that you can make the best decision.
The disadvantages of outsourced accounting
While there are many advantages tooutsourcing accounting, there are also a few disadvantages worth mentioning.
The main argument against outsourced accounting is its cost, which can represent a significant proportion of a company’s budget.
However, the gains in time, security and peace of mind offered by an external firm have to be weighed against the costs. In the end, it’s more often a profitable investment than an expense.
👆 O ur advice:
Take a close look at the engagement letter, the contract you sign with the external accountant, to make sure you get the services you need, and don’t pay for others that are of little interest to your business.
Loss of autonomy
It’s a disadvantage you’ll find every time you subcontract or delegate: the tasks will be carried out in the way of the person in charge, not the way you want them to be carried out.
And, when it comes to an area as important as accounting, some may find it hard not to take every decision as they see fit.
However, it’s worth remembering that the chartered accountant is a specialist, whose mission is defined by contract and who is obliged to carry it out: when a company calls on an external firm, it’s because the latter is better able to keep the accounts in due and proper form.
⚠️ Good to know:
With the digitalization of business, the problem of document availability is disappearing.
In the 2000s, leaving the originals with an outside firm and not having immediate access to them could be a problem. Today, the vast majority of these documents are digitized and available in just a few clicks.
Who outsources accounting?
Most entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized businesses are wondering whether they should outsource their accounting. A number of large groups have also taken the plunge, in order to make their operating costs more variable.
The special case of microenterprises
The accounting and tax obligations of micro-businesses are reduced to a minimum, and the declarations to be made are so simple that there is often no need to call in a chartered accountant.
This may change, however, if certain thresholds are exceeded and the employee is subject to VAT. In such cases, the assistance of a chartered accountant may be required.
VSEs and SMEs
Whatever their legal status (EI, SARL, SAS, SA…), companies have everything to gain by outsourcing their accounting:
- The complexity of the tasks requires the involvement of a consulting firm
- The volume of work does not justify hiring a chartered accountant
Often, large companies that can afford the cost of a full accounting department and the appointment of a chartered accountant as CFO choose to internalize their accounting.
However, this is not always the case, with many multinationals opting to outsource their accounting to an external firm in order to facilitate their dealings with the various authorities.
What’s more, even large groups call on the services of external chartered accountants for a variety of assignments.
Signs that you need to outsource your accounting management
If you’re still on the fence about outsourcing your accounting management, Les Echos has compiled a list of signals that should help you decide whether to take the plunge:
- Your business will change scale
- You have created a company with a certain scope
- You’re wasting too much time and energy on accounting
🔎 Find out more about our accountancy services!
📞You want to exchange a project to outsource your accounting, our teams are available to support you.