Outsourcing is rarely a one-off exercise and is often the start of a partnership that changes the way a business operates. Most businesses start off outsourcing basic accounting processes but gradually include complex work like formulation of tax strategy and financial planning as the business grows. This means that selecting the right accounting outsourcing partner needs to be well thought through. The relationship should continue to be mutually beneficial as the business expands with a greater volume of work and as the nature of work requires added specialist advice. With many accounting outsourcing partners in the market, it becomes crucial that businesses take the time to evaluate their options. A good accounting outsourcing partner should not only be able to take over your processes but should also be experienced and well-equipped to help you with process transformation as needs change.

Here are some important criteria that businesses should consider:

QUALITY OF RESOURCES
Businesses looking into find an accounting outsourcing partner should first determine if the partner has the necessary technical expertise as well as infrastructure in place to satisfy immediate and long-term needs.

Accounting standards and tax policies are constantly changing. Good outsourcing partners need to be on their toes and adapting to these changes rapidly to ensure that work done remains compliant with such new regulations.

Businesses need to also review the process methodologies used by the accounting outsourcing partner. Is it efficient and conforms to best practices? What methods do they use to measure results or resolve conflicts? Can it be adapted to suit your own processes? Is the work done up to your quality expectations?

EXPERIENCE AND RELIABILITY
You will want an outsourcing partner with extensive experience in serving businesses in your industry. Very often, this translates to a deeper understanding of the industry and its unique requirements.

What type of projects have they worked on in the past? Have they worked on a similar project to yours in the past? How successful were the previous projects?

If the accounting outsourcing partner has a good track record serving similar businesses in your industry, another important question to ask is if the same project team will be serving you as well.

COMMUNICATION
Good communication is often a major factor in a successful outsourcing relationship. How well do both teams work together will have a huge impact on project outcome. Consider factors like language, differences in time zones and number of communication channels available. Being able to communicate changes or urgent work conveniently with back up communication channels like text messages or instant messaging, in addition to regular emails, adds reliability and flexibility.