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An outsourcing strategy may be a key component of growth.

Growth strategies

Can Your Back Office Keep Up With Growth?

  • John Wooldridge
  • 4/23/2018

When your organization is growing or expanding into new markets, it’s natural to stay focused on the services or products that are driving the upward movement. But sustainable growth requires a strategic approach across your operations, including a back office that is equipped to scale up alongside your expanding business.

For many organizations, growth can quickly expose your infrastructure holes and slow trajectory. Similarly, an unexpected downward trend can leave you bloated with resources and staff, raising your fixed costs and dragging down profit.

One way to flex with these shifting forces is by outsourcing elements of the finance and accounting function. When combined with cloud financial management technology, outsourcing allows a business to operate more efficiently and quickly adapt to market changes. Customized reports can also shore up controls and help leaders spot trends and act more strategically.

Outsourced teams quickly respond to change

But is outsourcing business operations the right move for your organization? From an operational standpoint, deciding to shift to an outsourcing strategy can depends on several “readiness” factors, for example:

  • Can we quickly measure key performance indicators?
  • Is our personnel equipped to handle rules and regulations that new geographies, tax jurisdictions or regulatory frameworks may bring?
  • Do we have trouble retaining experienced financial staff in key positions?
  • Do we have the capacity to scale up our monthly transactions?
  • Do we have adequate internal controls to reduce the risk of fraud given our plans for growth?
  • Do we have confidence that our financial reporting is accurate and complete?
  • Does management struggle with answers to routine financial questions?
  • Are we set up to absorb the immediate effects of acquisition?

Typically, an outsourced business operations team will be immersed in shifting state and local tax laws and regulatory exposure that comes with crossing into new markets. Outsourced teams can quickly respond to IRS notices, present reports to stakeholders, or scale down as needed. But the real benefit is bigger and more palpable: less time spent on the back end so you can pour more energy into your plan for growth.

The cloud provides efficient solutions

Operational efficiencies will stretch further when it is connected to a cloud application. But how do you know what cloud system to choose? From a technological standpoint, cloud financial management systems are designed to scale up or down with you. But different systems have different strengths. When researching applications, look for an application that can:

  • Streamline financial consolidations
  • Enforce a shared chart of accounts across entities
  • Give you detailed visibility across all your locations
  • Easily share real-time workflow and data — anywhere, anytime
  • Help you perform financial closes significantly faster than you can now

Systems such as Sage-Intacct, Bill.com, Adaptive Insights, and QuickBooks are just a few of the applications on the market that can automate business processes and offer customizable financial templates and benchmarking dashboards. Ideally, any system you choose should be implemented by accounting professionals who understand the key connection points to your existing software, and the back office issues common to your industry.

But beyond the improved efficiencies and reporting, look for a cloud application that can put information in your hands when you need it and provide a clearer picture of where your organization stands and where it is heading.

How we can help

We believe that your back office must be agile to adapt to a changing economy. CliftonLarsonAllen’s outsourced finance and accounting services can help you be more nimble with the decisions that steer your organization.