How to evaluate an outsourcing provider and watch the bottom line

How to evaluate an outsourcing provider and watch the bottom line

Michael Easley, principal at Houston-based CPA firm Easley, Endres, Parkhill & Brackendorff (www.eepb.com), offers the following guidelines on how to maximize the benefits, avoid common mistakes, and ease the transition when outsourcing accounting functions:

* Fear of losing control often distracts companies from considering outsourcing.Take pains to determine the specific tasks and services that the outsource provider will perform.

* Draw up a contract with the outsource provider that is very specific about accountability and avoids confusion for either party. The contract should outline the tasks to be performed but be open to revision if necessary.

* The outsource provider should allow internal oversight by the client so all parties can observe the progress of the account and ensure that the contract is being upheld. A company can use its intranet or a secure section of its website to retrieve business data that the outsource provider is managing.

* The outsource provider must have the experience and expertise to analyze the company’s data.The provider should furnish a summary of all business data and how the information affects the company This summary should also demonstrate that the outsource provider is up to date on any regulatory changes that affect the company

* The outsource provider should be able to deliver comprehensive solutions and handle tasks such as troubleshooting and back-office functions.

* Consider whether the outsource provider is compatible with the company.Working with an outsource provider that is similar in size and scope allows a closer understanding of the company’s needs as well as a more personable relationship.

Copyright New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants Jun 2002

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