There are a lot of virtual finance firms in the world today.
As we’ve discussed before, the abundance of virtual firms makes sense; the technology that makes remote collaboration possible, in tandem with the push for efficiency in service, has given rise to an abundance of outsourcing possibilities. Interestingly, though, the market isn’t evenly distributed. Instead, outsourced finance firms have clustered around two ends of the market: small businesses and big corporations.
Here’s what’s happened: on one side, there are firms that service a variety of small business clients. These are the regional bookkeeping shops that might take on a local car dealership, a coffee shop, and a dentist, and provide each with a high level of communication. They’re a friendly face, but these firms would be hard-pressed to take on an enterprise organization.
On the other side of the continuum are massive outsourcing firms that are staffed to provide the big corporations with efficient service. They’ve got plenty of power to scale accounting work – but because they’re built big, they can’t offer much in the way of personal communication unless they’re working with $500 million clients and up.
Practically, that means that there’s a big gap in the middle of the outsourced accounting service market.
Smaller firms offer personal communication. Big firms scale well. Very few firms, though, do both.
That can make outsourcing finance and accounting difficult for many enterprise businesses (those bigger than a local coffee shop but somewhere below Starbucks). The reality is that both communication and the resources to scale are essential to success.
Fortunately, there are solutions that bridge the gap. Here’s how.
What the Big Firms Don’t Offer: Meeting with the Team
Outsourcing makes remote work possible, but we’ve found that the best communication still happens face-to-face – especially as a relationship begins.
Many large-scale virtual finance firms lead with a salesperson who’s tasked with navigating all early-stage communication. This person might be a great communicator. Unfortunately, their communication skills won’t matter much when they detach themselves from the account after the first month.
That’s why we hold comprehensive kickoff meetings, where, if possible, we’ll bring our team leaders to the event in person, so that all involved can build the foundation of a good relationship. When the real people who will be on an account are able to discuss the intricacies of the work with the real people who they’ll be serving, the chances for success are much higher.
We don’t bait and switch. Instead, we make sure to bring the team into the picture early to establish relationships that will last.
What the Big Firms Don’t Do: Present Information in a Way That’s Valuable
For a virtual finance firm, maximal efficiency means providing work with minimal communication or management. That’s especially true for accounts that aren’t Fortune 500. That’s why so many virtual finance firms rely on low-effort methods of communication – something akin to a self-service approach.
Under this approach, there’s no proactive point of contact. Instead, firms complete work and display it in a client portal, and clients are responsible to access it themselves.
That works well when there are no questions around the work. If explanation is needed, though, the self-service model quickly turns into a bad service model.
We believe communication is necessary. That’s why we don’t rely on self-service. We do feature cutting-edge software and easily accessible work products, but we also ensure that clients have access to a reliable point of contact who can consult with them when questions arise. That way, clients get full value from the service.
What the Small Firms Don’t Offer: The Ability to Scale
Small outsourcing firms, on the other hand, tend to be great at communicating service. But they simply lack the resources to provide service to bigger accounts. For one thing, they’re typically made up of small, local teams, so they often lack the workforce that’s needed. For another thing, the diversity of businesses these smaller firms work with makes streamlining processes difficult.
We offer a powerful team that’s fully staffed to service larger accounts. And we’re geared toward technology and franchise businesses, which allows us to efficiently serve clients based on industry expertise.
What the Small Firms Don’t Offer: Large-Scale Expertise
And, speaking of expertise, that’s the final piece to the puzzle for many businesses looking to scale. Expertise in highly-leveraged financial situations – mergers, acquisitions, equity raising contexts, and more – can play a huge role in the success of growing businesses.
Small firms might be adept at bookkeeping, but they rarely have the depth of experience that’s necessary to help businesses successfully navigate more advanced financial situations. Big firms might have expertise, but they typically only offer it to their largest clients (and, interestingly, some larger firms are often so streamlined that they aren’t well-equipped to handle much outside of specific accounting needs).
We’re well-equipped for standard financial and accounting needs, but we’re also built on deep expertise. We have the ability to offer insight into data, not just process it. And we’ve walked with growing businesses through highly-leveraged financial situations to provide the insight that’s so essential to growing intelligently.
Looking for the Best of Both Worlds?
If you’re tired of settling for service that can’t scale or doesn’t offer the communication you need, don’t worry – you can have the best of both worlds.
At Global Shared Services, we do what most virtual finance firms don’t: help you to bridge the gap to reach the next level in the market.
We focus on restaurant accounting and franchise accounting. If you’re in one of those industries and you’re ready to scale your business with finance and accountings services you can trust, let’s talk.
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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