Choosing any professional, whether it be your doctor, attorney or banker, should be a careful, well thought-out decision. Your outsourced accounting professional (“OAP”) is no different. It must be someone whom you trust, feel comfortable with, and listens to you – really listens. Many don’t realize that you learn so much more when you listen, not when you speak. When selecting an OAP and this person is talking about themselves and what they will do for you, while monopolizing the conversation, this individual may not be the right OAP for you. How can someone tell you what you need before hearing what you say first?
An outsourced accountant or chief financial officer should be your trusted advisor. Depending on the level of service required this position can be a strategic partner.
The five most important qualities in an OAP are in my opinion:
• Skill set and expertise
• Responsiveness and timeliness of deliverables
• Acting in an ethical manner
The OAP should be the type of individual that can discuss the difficult subjects with you. At times, having this individual as an employee can result in concerns over their job that may get in the way of making the tough choices. Your OAP needs to be pragmatic and at the same time empathetic to your situation. In addition, you should always receive unbiased advice.
The goal of all relationships with all clients should be to develop long-term alliances in which the expertise of the OAP is used to be a valuable resource and trusted advisor. The clients’ goals must the OAP’s goals.