How to Pick the Best Outsourced Bookkeeping Service for Your Restaurant Franchise
Successfully building a quick service restaurant franchise hinges on maximizing efficiency across operations. That’s true across business functions, and it’s especially true when it comes to navigating an approach to accounting or bookkeeping.
In fact, the push for efficiency is probably a large factor in the rise of outsourced bookkeeping services.
As many franchise owners have found, internal accountants often require a commitment of more resources than would be required with an outsourced team – and outsourced teams are often best positioned to scale with a franchise as it grows, too. That market reality has been swiftly met by a growing number of firms offering outsourced bookkeeping services, often from anywhere in the world at increasingly lower prices.
If you’re a franchise owner, all of that can make outsourcing your bookkeeping both desirable and intimidating. Now that there are so many options, how can you go about choosing the right one?
With decades of experience in the quick service accounting industry, we’re here to help.
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Bookkeeping for franchises can be done anywhere, but here’s how to find the places that will do it well.
1. Accuracy of Service
This is generally the ultimate measure of outsourced bookkeeping performance: accuracy.
Your franchise business can’t afford mistakes at anything resembling a regular frequency. Even the best providers err on rare occasions, but if you’re crossing your fingers whenever you receive a statement or report, hoping there will be no errors, you’ll know you’ve made the wrong choice.
So, when surveying options for these services, dig into accuracy. Ask questions around current accuracy metrics, review customer testimonials, and request and reach out to references if possible.
The best outsourced bookkeeping services will be proud of their ability to produce accurate work. They’ll hold up proof of their accuracy proudly. Other solutions may sidestep questions or even sweep them under a rug entirely.
Search for the former and avoid the latter.
If outsourced services are accurate, the next area to check is their promptness.
After all, franchise membership entails certain levels of compliance. While errors in reporting and statements can cause a business to fall short of compliance, so can a failure to submit documents at all. If the outsourced bookkeeping solution you choose is accurate but slow, you’ll struggle to maintain adherence as deadlines come and go.
Ask about turnaround times and do customer research.
3. Clear Communication
This is the area where outsourced bookkeeping providers begin to differentiate themselves: communication standards.
The reality is that there is a plethora of reasonably-accurate, reasonably-prompt service providers for franchise owners to choose from. There are notably fewer of those providers, though, that also communicate well.
This is one of the major considerations of outsourcing in any field: work done anywhere in the world still needs to be coordinated in the location where it’s needed. That necessitates good communication in a common language.
While modern communication platforms make this relatively straightforward on a technical level, many outsourced bookkeeping firms focus on the hard skills of tax processing or accounts payable processing to the detriment of actually communicating the outcomes. Whether because of language barriers or time zone difficulties, communicating can often be easier said than done.
Fortunately, this is one of the more straightforward areas to measure before selecting: ask to be connected to your point of contact before moving forward with an engagement. Some outsourced firms will preface an interaction with a trained sales person, only to pull a bait-and-switch by working through a less-reliable contact when the sale is made. Connecting beforehand can help mitigate that likelihood.
That being said, if you aren’t able to identify communication issues before selecting a provider, you’ll quickly be able to identify them when the engagement starts. Don’t wait to make the switch. While the consequence may not unfold right away, poor communication inevitably leads to errors, missed deadlines, and lack of compliance over time.
4. Access to Higher-Level Service
Finally, this is an offering that really sets outsourced bookkeeping providers apart: the capability to provide a higher level of service past basic accounting functionality.
We’ve found that, for franchise restaurants using outsourced F&A services, a lack of access to high-level financial capability can be a drag on growth. When the time comes to expand, or to pursue various equity strategies, or to manage complicated contracts or debt, franchise owners without access to financial expertise can be hard-pressed to move forward in the best way.
Because they’ve relied on “check-the-box” services, they often aren’t equipped to deal with anything that falls outside of the box – and so business suffers.
Outsourced bookkeeping services that offer higher-level capabilities and expertise (like virtual CFO services, or consultative services during high-stakes events) can go a long way toward making growth easier when the time comes.
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You Deserve Bookkeeping Service You Can Count On
So, there you have it: a quick outline to selecting the best outsourced bookkeeping service for franchise owners looking to maximize their efficiency.
Hopefully, this has been helpful as you look to evaluate outsourced providers. If you’re ready to move toward a franchise accounting solution your business can count on, get in touch.
At Global Shared Services, we pride ourselves on offering above-market performance at below-market cost. We aren’t just incredibly accurate and prompt. When you work with us, you’ll get easy communication and access to our years of expertise in the franchise QSR industry – including the ability as needed to consult on high-stakes financial issues.
Schedule a free consultation to review your current systems and reporting needs, and we’ll help to identify a service solution that will best fit your business.
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With GSS, we meet our franchisor requirements on time and with accuracy. The local CPA could not handle our volume. We are so happy to have made the change. GSS knows our business and our franchisor requirements.Multi-unit fast sandwich Owner