Should You Outsource or Keep it Inside Your Company?

As small business owners and entrepreneurs, we tend to want complete control over every decision, task and process. While we wear many hats, it’s simply not possible to be everywhere at once or feasible to handle every aspect of the business ourselves.

That’s led to the increasingly popular decision many of us pursue: outsourcing. Knowing when to outsource or keep the work in-house can make or break the growth and longevity of your business. Done well, outsourcing can streamline your operations, create meaningful partnerships, lead to powerful resources and provide you more time to focus on strategically growing your business. On the other hand, outsourcing when you shouldn’t can compromise your reputation, disrupt your message, stunt growth and even send you on a tailspin that you may not come back from.

At Sound Business Services (SBS), we’ve spent more than a decade discovering what’s best to outsource. And, while we are always learning more about ourselves and adjusting to new innovations and challenges, here are some of our top tips on outsourcing.

Yes, Let’s Outsource!

In this digital age, outsourcing has never been easier or more efficient. Still, you must make smart choices on when to outsource. Here are some of the top reasons:

When my time is best spent elsewhere. As a small business owner, your time is extremely valuable. It’s a win any time you can get something done well that gives you more time to focus on running and growing your business, and doesn’t put you in a hole. Look at tasks that are vital to your operations, but not a key part of your actual strategy. For example, while it’s imperative that you and your business handle the marketing or sale of a product, it’s best to outsource the delivery of that product, a cost-effective solution that enables you to spend more time on strategic tasks.

When the job can be done better. When you’re the owner or in charge, it can hard to admit that others can do some things better. But, the sign of a great leader is knowing when to delegate and when to tap into other resources to get things done in the best way possible.

Take your bookkeeping and accounting. Staying on top of your books and running payroll are very complicated and time-consuming. At SBS, that is what we love to do and where our expertise lies, and with ever-changing tax laws and always-changing employment compliance issues, a good CPA is also extremely valuable. In fact, SBS believes that the best approach is for the bookkeeper, CPA and small business owner to work together, producing a powerful team for next-level solutions and maximum growth and success. Let us know if you would like to discuss pursuing this partnership.

When you can reduce costs and it makes sense. While cash flow and making more money are always considerations, they shouldn’t be your top reason for outsourcing. It all comes down to assessing the cost and time of the specific task at hand. Does it make sense to outsource something for said price, when factoring in the time and manpower it would take if kept in-house? For example, when it comes to a software developer who can monitor your back-end systems and continually update your website, it might be worth outsourcing. Unless you have the connections to quickly recruit an expert in this field, it makes sense to seek help elsewhere; you need to build your brand and keep your business secure and functional.

When Not to Outsource

When you decide to outsource and start establishing a rhythm, it’s tempting to outsource just about everything. Don’t do it – it’s one step forward, two steps back … as the saying goes.

Here are some of the top reasons not to outsource:

When it compromises your core. When it comes to your mission, messaging and manual labor, your team needs to be at the forefront. For example, when it comes to marketing and selling your product or service, or providing great service, your staff is the best source to do this because they have the knowledge and skillset.

When it takes away your control. Just because you outsource something doesn’t mean you lose control. If you task someone on the outside to handle certain files and documents, and they deny you access to those things, that’s a giant red flag. When outsourcing, make sure you establish clear guidelines from the get-go. You must be able to monitor the status of all tasks, and meet regularly to make improvements and adjustments.

When promoting, retaining or firing staff. You know your business and employees better than anyone. Outsourcing how you go about developing and promoting team members, and even firing them, must be left in the hands of you and your leadership team.

In developing your team, you must be the one to train them, so that they know exactly what you want and expect. Keeping great team members around means knowing what it takes to keep them happy and leading by example. If you expect them to put in long hours to carry out your message, you must be present, too. And, finally, as difficult as it may be, it’s ultimately your responsibility to let employees go. You can certainly ask others for guidance on the best strategies for releasing someone, but it’s on you to meet face to face to deliver the news.

Want to Explore Outsourcing? We are Here to Help

As you might imagine, deciding when to outsource and when not is complicated. Outsourcing can be a very valuable strategy for taking your business to the next level, relieving stress and giving you more time to focus on growing your business. At the same time, you must work with the people you outsource to in order to make sure they know how the nature of your industry’s culture and language works. Otherwise, lack of communication and understanding will impede progress.

We know this can be very overwhelming, but don’t worry because we are here to help. If you have any questions about outsourcing, or want to get started on a plan to do so, contact us today. You’ll be on your way to getting more done in less time, optimizing your business for long-term growth.

4 New QuickBooks Online Features: Next-Level Solutions for Your Workflow

You may have heard me say it before, but QuickBooks Online (QBO) makes a big difference for small business success. Besides providing powerful tools and resources that change how you work, QBO is constantly being updated with new features to not only alleviate stress, but also deliver you next-level solutions to your everyday needs – all thanks to Intuit.

The latest batch is no exception. Here are four QBO enhancements and how they impact your business. And, of course, Sound Business Services (SBS) is here for you every step of the way to help you implement, and get the most out of, these features.

1. Time-off tracking is now a breeze. As a small business owner, you know how important it is for you and your staff to take time off to be with friends and family, and get a much-needed break from work. In the past, tracking paid and unpaid time was always a challenge, but now it’s a breeze, thanks to QuickBooks Online Payroll.

Now, packed inside QBO Payroll, you’ll have tracking options that keep you compliant and less worried, allowing you to focus more time on helping grow your business and less time stressed while on vacation. SBS can show you how to use this new feature.

2. Contractor payments made easy. Sometimes, we forget to make contractor payments on time; after all, we are human. Either way, this could send a contractor into a frenzy.

Make that a thing of the past by implementing this new feature inside QBO Payroll, where you can schedule contractor payments in advance. Not only will you cut down on missed payments, but you’ll also avoid having to sign in on specific dates to pay your contractors.

Here is an example of how to schedule out a contractor payment:

3. Cover your bases with a third accountant. Now in the new QuickBooks Advanced, Intuit’s online solution for mid-market businesses, you can add a third accountant user to your subscription – for free.

That’s right, why have two heads when you can have a third? So, whatever you need tax-wise, such as support or consulting, you can get from a third accountant in your system.

Here’s where you’ll see the list of accounting pros available to help:

4. Customized fields for maximum tracking. At SBS, our customers are our business. We make it our personal mission to go the extra mile in delivering them the services and solutions they need to grow their businesses and experience success.

One solution that’s new in QBO Advanced is the custom fields option. This allows you to create an unlimited number of customer fields (having up to 10 active at once) in order to have everything you want/need to know about your customer at your disposal. So, whether it’s sales report data, transactions, customer bios or anything else, you’re able to keep all the pertinent information in one place, serving your customers in the best way you can.

Here’s an example of some customized fields showing up on your invoice:

Ready to Tap Into These New Features or Have any Questions? We’re Here to Help

It’s fantastic that Intuit takes your feedback and delivers new and exciting features to impact your business, but our help and expertise is the key to getting you the best solutions you need to grow and prosper. If you still haven’t made the leap to QBO, or are ready to tap into these great new features, contact us today. You’ll be on your way to next-level growth and maximizing your workflow.

(Images courtesy of Intuit QuickBooks)