With new tax laws hitting the books, trade relationships evolving, and both uncertainty and optimism on the rise, it’s not surprising that accounting is changing. Companies understand that a high performing accounting function is both a strategic advantage and a competitive requirement. And, increasingly, they are looking for ways to improve accounting processes and outcomes without inflating cost or complexity.
A new survey from the Shared Services and Outsourcing Network (SSON) suggests that in-house accounting departments are transforming rapidly. Rather than handling every responsibility on their own, they are relying on third-party support or Managed Accounting Services (MAS) to meet more of their accounting goals. Companies see this as a way to handle larger and more complex workloads in less time. They also see partnerships as a means to make accounting more insightful, relevant, and actionable.
If you haven’t considered outsourcing or MAS before, don’t feel like you’re missing out. The research shows that most accounting departments are moving in this direction, but only a few have reached maturity. To learn why this strategy has become so common, consider some of the specific takeaways from the SSON research:
A Majority of Businesses Outsource Accounting
In the survey, 59% of the respondents relied on a hybrid of in-house and outsourced accounting. Another 13% outsourced at least one of their accounting functions. This means almost ¾ of companies decide that an accounting partner is advantageous. Being able to send time- and labor-intensive workloads to someone else allows in-house accountants to focus on new strategies and core competencies.
Global Business Services is the New Normal
There are few businesses today that are entirely local. Even small companies now have a global footprint. Global business services (GBS) is an attempt to manage the complexity of operating internationally while ensuring that business processes like accounting don’t suffer. In pursuit of that goal, GBS often relies on outsourced accountants because they can ensure efficiency, productivity, consistency, and scalability. That explains why close to 60% of business have a GBS model at least partially implemented.
Transformation Takes Time
Only 6% of the respondents who had moved toward outsourcing and shared services considered themselves ahead of the curve. More than a quarter of respondents were still in the pre-go-live phase, and another 13% were in the planning and launching phase. The point is that companies are actively working to transform accounting and finance, but it doesn’t happen overnight. Outsourcing one or two accounting functions at a time is a way to explore the opportunity without destabilizing something as important as finance.
Much of what is driving the trend toward outsourcing is that it’s not an all-or-nothing proposition. Companies can outsource just their weaknesses and pain points, then focus exclusively on their strengths instead. Any company can embrace an opportunity like that. When you’re ready to consult with a team of Managed Accounting Services experts, contact AcctTwo.
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