Eliminate the confusion

Outsource the accounting

Fuse Financial Partners provides efficient and affordable day-to-day bookkeeping for more useful financial management reporting. We’ll get your books right, and help you understand what the numbers mean.

When your bookkeeping is “FUSED” with our CFO services, your company will be more Profitable, more Sustainable and more Fun!

Best accounting practices. Great Management Reporting

Using cloud-based tools, including hosted QuickBooks and online cash management tools, FUSE can automate many of the routine bookkeeping processes to reduce paper, reduce staff time, and reduce mistakes.

 

 


 

Get the accounting right

Make the data useful: Here's How 

 


 

Increase your control over your business

Fuse Financial Partners will provide a customized, tailored quote for an accounting solution specific to your business needs. Contact us now.

FUSE specializes in:

  • Accounting Setup … and Cleanup
  • Establishing Clear Procedure Manuals
  • Certified QuickBooks Training and Consulting
  • Payables and Receivables Automation and Implementation\
  • Cash Forecasting
  • Powerful Management Reporting
  • Dashboards and KPIs

…a clear vision of where you’ve been AND where you’re going!

Choose the best outsourced bookkeeping and accounting company

Choosing a great outsourced accounting solution means deciding between the common and the extraordinary. 

A common solution is to hire a part time bookkeeper, or local bookkeeping firm – the kind you’ll find on craigslist, or by simply asking a few neighbors if they know anyone who can help you part time.

But the common solution has common problems. Many low-cost bookkeepers lack formal training in either accounting principles or bookkeeping software (like QuickBooks).  So while they may help you balance your checkbook or keep a basic tally on expenses, there’s more than a little risk that your financial statements will be put together incorrectly. Often a low-cost bookkeeping solution ends up costing more because they cause serious accounting problems that surface much later.

But there is a better way to get basic bookkeeping done and have strong, accurate financial statements…and more.

The extraordinary solution is to hire a company that can provide a full service “Outsourced Finance Department”.  By hiring a team to do not just bookkeeping but real accounting and finance functions, your books will be done right and the reporting you get will help you run the business more profitably and more sustainably.

Consider what the finance department (or, if you prefer, the finance “function”) provides to larger companies: Cash flow projections and cash management; pricing guidelines based on actual and predicted costs; banking relationships that provide loans when you need them most; customer analysis to spot jobs that are less profitable; vendor management to stretch out payment terms, collections management to speed up cash coming in the door; customized “Key Performance Indicators” (KPIs) and dashboards to help spot problems before they arise; and deep analytical support for every management decision – from hiring and firing through growth and exit planning.

Can your bookkeeper do that?  All of that and more is available to businesses of any size if they find the right outsourced bookkeeping and accounting company.

Fuse Financial Partners has pioneered this team approach to finance, and can offer the strengths of an accountant, controller and CFO – usually for less than the cost of one bookkeeper.

Kinds of outsourced accounting firms

Accounting is commonly performed by one of four types of companies: A CPA firm; a full service finance services company; a bookkeeping-only business; or an independent bookkeeper.

1. CPAs might be the first thing to come to your mind, but few are able to provide comprehensive accounting services at a reasonable price. Worse, a typical CPA firm that focuses on tax preparation, will be hard pressed to provide on-demand service during the busy season (Jan – April).  And finally, because a CPA firm is inherently tax and compliance focused, few have the ability or experience to guide a small business through difficult management decisions.  

Can a CPA firm help you take advantage of obscure tax loopholes? Sure.  Can they also help you decide about raising prices, hiring new staff, and expanding into new markets? Not likely.

And since CPA firms are in high demand for critical tax and audit work, the rates charged by these firms tend to be high – it’s not uncommon to pay $125 to $250 per hour for basic accounting work done by a junior person in a CPA firm.

2. Full Service Finance companies, like FUSE, provide the professionalism of a CPA firm with the management expertise of a seasoned business consultant. These firms know that accounting and reporting can impower every aspect of the company, so they will not only prepare regular financial statements, but also KPI reports and dashboards that enhance management decision making.

Finally, a full-service firm has the knowledge to structure your accounting and reporting work flow to maximize accuracy, minimize mistakes, and protect you from fraud. Ask your full-service firm about the separation of duties to prevent embezzlement, about using treasury services to prevent check fraud, and about a monthly CFO review to spot mistakes before they become problems.

Not all full-service firms are the same, of course. Be sure to evaluate these companies based on their certification, industry standing, and references.

3. Companies that specialize in Bookkeeping are often a great resource for a “mom and pop” small business. Simple, well-established restaurant or retail companies that are looking for professional bookkeeping can be well-served by bookkeeping firms. Still, not all bookkeeping companies are equal.  Be sure to look for extensive certifications in both software and accounting expertise.  The QuickBooks Proadvisor designation is a good start if it is up to date.  A great bookkeeping company will boast certification as an “Advanced Proadvisor”, or the equivalent from Sage, NetSuite, or Xero.  They may also be “Certified Bookkeepers” or have some tax prep designation such as “Enrolled Agent”.  

It is reasonable to expect these companies to provide long-term accurate accounting. But interpreting the financial data and using it to make  decisions will fall squarely back to the business owner.  If the bookkeeping company is not looking at your business holistically, then their bookkeeping may never reach the level of providing useful information and advice.

4. Independent Bookkeepers come with all the same warnings as a bookkeeping company – look for certifications and be ready for the minimum level of service. Additional caution is warranted, however, since independent bookkeepers by definition do not have multiple layers of review and quality control. If the bookkeeper you select is not careful, is having a bad day, or decides to take advantage of his position (and act fraudulently), you may not realize the consequences for months or years.  When using an independent bookkeeper, the best advice is to stay involved in the accounting process and stay alert for unusual transactions.

Fuse Financial Partners has pioneered this team approach to finance, and can offer the strengths of an accountant, controller and CFO – usually for less than the cost of one bookkeeper.

What does outsourced bookkeeping cost?

There is a huge range of prices for outsourced bookkeeping and accounting.  The basic cost for an hour of bookkeeping ranges from $15 (for a part time direct-hire) to more than $150 (for an experienced employee at a CPA firm). 

A better way to look at the total cost of accounting is to create an annual budget.  Budgets will vary by industry of course -- construction is accounting-heavy, while consulting may not require much more than payroll services. But in general, most companies should budget from 1% to 3% of total income for the accounting and finance function.  For example, a $10 million company may have three accountants on staff making $65,000 each (plus taxes and benefits).  This would make their total annual cost of accounting roughly $200,000 – or 2% of revenue.

Review the 4 types of outsourced help above, and compare prices. Expect the following hourly rates for each type of help:

  • CPAs charge $125 to $150 per hour for junior level accounting help
  • Full Service Firms are $75 to $95 per hour for bookkeeping
  • Companies doing bookkeeping only range widely, from $50 to $100 per hour
  • Independent bookkeepers can be hired as employees for as little as $15-$25 per hour, but will charge $35 to $60 as independent contractors

Here’s one more data point for those interested in outsourcing accounting and bookkeeping.  Intuit recently completed an exhaustive survey of over 5,000 accounting providers and found that the average rate charged for basic bookkeeping is between $75 and $100 per hour.

What about outsourcing bookkeeping to India?

In today’s world of on-line software and instant communication, it is tempting to outsource the finance function to India, Bangladesh, or any of a dozen other low-wage countries.  This can be a cost-effective solution, but comes with certain challenges, including communication, culture, and convention:

  • Communication: Finance professionals are not known for being the best communicators – but throw in a thick Asian accent, poor phone connections, and speakers who did not grow up using English as a first language and, well, you know where this is going.  Asian outsourced accountants are famous for communicating as little as needed.  Distance and time zones mean most of the communication takes place over email, and makes oversight difficult at best.
  • Culture: Many low-wage countries possess people who work extremely hard and do great work. But don’t forget that their work calendar may be quite different than ours. Saturdays are common work days in many parts of the world, but conversely national and religious holidays can last for weeks and rarely coincide with US holidays.  Even personal time off can take on an odd proportion – weddings in India, for example, are known to be week-long affairs for the entire extended family.  All these things might mean that your work force is not at work!
  • Convention: American accounting standards are not universal. Yes, accounting itself has common principles and practices which make it ideal for outsourcing… but European, Asian, and even Australian accounting standards have quite different concepts than we do (VAT anyone?).   Sometimes these differences are slight and inconsequential.  Other times, the intricacies of US accounting and tax laws must be explained in detail before an off-shore team can provide accurate work
Overall, moving off-shore with accounting can be a rewarding and positive experience, but it is not for the feint of heart, and should not be left on “auto-pilot”.  Constant attention from a US-based accountant is needed to make sure that the work product from an off-shore bookkeeping team is accurate and complete.
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