This week, our blog post is by Adam Schwelnus, CPA, CGMA. Adam is senior manager of CFO Services at Kruggel, Lawton, & Co, LLC, located in South Bend, IN. He is a certified public accountant with over 10 years of experience in the areas of administrative, managerial, and operational financial guidance for privately held companies and nonprofit organizations. Adam is a member of the AFP Michiana Chapter Board Finance Committee, and he will also be leading a breakout session at the inaugural Philanthropic Institute on August 16. We're so glad he's willing to share his expertise with us!
Why You Should Consider Outsourcing Accounting
At first glance, the idea of outsourcing some or all of the accounting function in your organization may seem a bit strange. After all, accurately accounting for the operations of your organization and providing decision-makers with timely information is an incredibly important function. Therefore, it seems only natural to maintain complete control over this area.
At the same time, there are growing reasons why engaging a well-qualified outside firm to tackle accounting can add value and help your organization more readily achieve its mission.
With each passing year, technology enables accounting professionals to help administrators and key managers efficiently and accurately meet traditional accounting needs such as invoicing, banking, paying bills, and preparing financial statements. Secure and easy-to-use software tools and online apps are becoming fairly common to allow accounting work to be done onsite when needed, or remotely to minimize time and disruption of staff in your organization.
In addition, utilizing a team of experienced accounting professionals can provide peace of mind. It frees the organization from relying completely on an internal department or one individual for all of its accounting and financial reporting needs. When a team of professionals is engaged to handle accounting functions, they will have staff available to provide backup and coverage for vacation or an illness. Peace of mind on the accounting and business front is further enhanced when this team is part of an established CPA firm, with deep technical expertise in tax, accounting and other business matters.
We all understand the risk of fraud, and nonprofits of any size are vulnerable to fraudulent activity from within their own organization. To help manage risks in this area, an outsourced accounting resource can provide objective and expert service working exclusively for administrators and/or a board of directors. When delivered by a certified public accounting firm, whose staff are required to uphold high standards of objectivity, professionalism, and ethics, risks of fraudulent or other inappropriate accounting-related activity is less.
Finally, having accurate and timely internal accounting records can certainly improve your relationship with and support from vital external service providers. These could include your financial institution, your CPA, your payroll provider, and others. An outsourced accounting provider is well-equipped to help you interact with and assure smooth working relationships with these key business partners.
The right accounting provider might also be able to offer you chief financial officer level expertise to provide more proactive and consultative support to organizational leaders. This goes well beyond the monthly, quarterly or annual accounting – often referred to as “looking in the rearview mirror” – to more insightful advice for making decisions going forward.
If you have more questions or would like to explore outsourced accounting in your organization, you can contact Adam Schwelnus at firstname.lastname@example.org or 574.289.4011.