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The pros and cons of working with a specialist finance partner

By 03/02/2022February 18th, 2022No Comments
Direct Peak Strategic

Most businesses as they execute their business strategy over time face the ‘build or buy’ conundrum in a whole range of scenarios from acquiring customers to entering new markets.

In this week’s article we are looking inwardly at the core functions within the business and why more and more organisations are engaging with strategic finance partners that bring new ideas and expertise to help the business scale and grow quicker.

Read on and get some great tips on selecting a partner and the pitfalls to avoid too!

Partnering with finance experts is beneficial in a huge range of scenarios including SMEs with little or no finance team in-house, mid-sized businesses that have an internal finance function but need strategic advice and direction, and even international businesses that don’t wish to retain a UK finance operation in-house.

Why partner with a specialist?

Partnering with an expert means you can gain access to outside expertise and knowledge to improve your processes and outcomes, that would be difficult and costly to achieve inhouse. For example, you may have a small finance team but lack the strategic input and sounding board an experienced partner brings.

Your traditional accountant will take care of your payroll, tax, bookkeeping, financial reports and so on however, modern accounting partners enhance traditional services with new technologies and guidance on growth strategies with the building blocks and actions you need to take your company from ‘A to B’.

Technology (think Xero, Quickbooks…) that puts your finance data and insight in real time at your fingertips.

Experience from working with similar and indeed different businesses and industries that can shape and help steer the direction and growth of your company.

If you are thinking of instructing or changing your finance partner, then take a look at the top reasons our clients tell us why they work with us:

  • More cost effective – you don’t have to carry the headcount and associated costs
  • More flexible, you can scale the service up or down as you need
  • You get access to skills that would be difficult and expensive to have internally
  • Frees up your time, so you can focus on the business
  • Partners remain focused on the task in hand and avoid internal distractions
  • Access to digital accounting software (e.g. Xero)
  • Specialist partners remain up to date with regulations and compliance
  • No more continuity issues during periods of staff absence

A CEO of a large business started a new venture. He decided to outsource his accounting as he said it gave him ‘more control’.

“I knew what was going on at all times as I had regular meetings with the accounting team and up-to-date reports sent to me. This confidence in the accounting team enabled me to concentrate on mission critical aspects.”

Top tips to take away!

There are pros and cons of introducing external support into the business. Here we have highlighted everything in our experience, businesses should consider:

A good fit? – You can choose a popular accountant with great reviews, but check that their values and culture align with yours.

Meet the team – Finding a team who when they say they have the skills, they actually do have them. They are only as good as their weakest member and so ask to meet the people you will be working with.

Budgets – Set how much you want to spend and be realistic to what you are going to get. Controlling costs is simple because you can receive all the aspects of finance for one monthly retainer fee.

Proactive – The team need to be proactive and offer you the advice as the designated experts. Giving them the room to move is important rather than being overly prescriptive.

In control – Maintaining control is a common concern and so ensuring the right governance in place is key; monthly or weekly meetings, and regular progress reports so you know what is going on, at all times.

All aboard – Openness and clarity with employees so they understand the context and role the partner will play, helps win hearts and minds during the early phase of the partnership

Watch out! – While you may get new expertise, co-ordinating between your business and your partner, a lack of integration and overall understanding can mean the relationship fails. Finding the partner that understands how your business is going to grow and has the specialist skills to grow it is critical.

If you are seeking advice and guidance on where and how to invest in your finance function, then we can share our experience and insights on how we have worked with similar businesses.

If you want to talk to one of our team get in touch by completing the form below.  

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    Karl Newman

    Author Karl Newman

    Hi! I'm Karl. I'm the founder of Direct Peak, a 100% Xero cloud accounting firm. I help business owners get complete financial clarity giving them decision making confidence.

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