For a small or medium-sized business, outsourcing the bookkeeping function can reduce record-keeping to six days a month, as opposed to the average 22 days it takes the typical in-house bookkeeper, who usually lacks proper support or supervision. How many times have you failed to extract up-to-date financial reports from your accounting software? How many times have you failed to meet your tax submission deadlines?
ABACUS360's bookkeeping service places the onus of updating financial records on us, saving you time and money. Our Bookkeepers assume responsibility for data-capture and data-entry at your business premises, requiring no movement of files or documents. All our bookkeepers are part-time accounting students undergoing training withABACUS360. Your assigned Bookkeepers would maintain the same working hours as your staff, under the supervision of an ABACUS360 Staff Accountant.
It is unlikely that bookkeeping is a strategic function of your business. So, why should you throw unsupervised resources at a function that is better managed by professional accountants?
Outsourcing the bookkeeping to specialists has the following benefits:
- The freed time that you can now use on strategic functions
- Specialist knowledge from a pool of professional accountants
- Continuity of service – you never need to worry about what to do when your bookkeeper quits
- Reduced accounting errors
- Reduced costs, since the outsource is to accounting specialists
Outsourced bookkeeping services include:
- Recording sales
- Accruing invoices
- Recording bank and cash payments
- Recording payroll, depreciation, accruals and prepayments journals
- Reconciling vat returns to the general ledger
- General ledger maintenance
- Preparation of trial balance, income statement, and balance sheet
Bookkeepers support the accounting and finance function by maintaining a variety of ledgers used to produce key financial reports. The Bookkeeper's workday looks something like this:
- Recording transactions such as income, expenses, cost of sales, and posting them to various accounts
- Processing payments
- Conducting banking activities
- Producing various financial reports
- Reconciling reports to third-party records such as bank statements.
A Bookkeeper has typically passed the fundamental stages of a professional accounting program and has training in accounting fundamentals which include Financial Accounting and Taxation. Bookkeepers are an essential part of an accounting team, with the responsibility of maintaining prime accounting records.
Empirical evidence shows that 80% of Zambian medium-sized businesses are on average six months behind with their bookkeeping and 60% are six months behind with their bank accounts. Companies that are behind with their bookkeeping are also likely to be behind with tax compliance, invoicing and collections and they are more likely to fail within five years. Outsourcing your bookkeeping to ABACUS360 ensures that critical functions such as bank reconciliations, sales, payroll, withholding tax, and payroll taxes are reconciled periodically, under the supervision of a Staff Accountant. These controls increase your chances of success in business.
Business owners may opt to perform their own bookkeeping or to outsource this to a friend or family member. Bookkeeping and proper document management are the fundamental building blocks of the financial accounting system. Incorrect allocations and improper handling of documents result in incorrect accounts and loss of important data.
One common error in accounting which in-house bookkeepers make is cash accounting for transactions, rather than accrual accounting as required by generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).
For example, Shaka Hardware purchased solar panels worth 35,000$ on credit from Jingyi Solar Industries in China. The panels arrived on 31st December, the actual year-end date. Shaka's bookkeeper only records transactions as they are paid, so the 35,000$ transaction has not been included in the year-end accounts. Consequently, Shaka Hardware's accounts show no liabilities when in fact the company owes 35,000$ for inventory.
An Accounting Technician provided to you byABACUS360 would ensure your business transactions are properly recorded, under the supervision of a Staff Accountant.
A new client of ours had to reproduce accounting statements for a court case. The previous accounts prepared by his bookkeeper were rejected by the court. The account balances were off – with items that should be credits showing as debits, inconsistent reserve balances, etc. It was a mess! We had to discard the bookkeeper's efforts and start from scratch. On a time budget of 14 days, the CEO wanted daily telephone and visual updates. You can imagine how stressful this was for her.
The in-house bookkeeper's work tends to lag for these reasons:
- lack of accounting knowledge required to finalize the accounting statements
- working in solitude; learning as one goes without the support structure and skills that come with being in a team.
Outsourcing your bookkeeping to ABACUS360 is not just about us providing you with a bookkeeper, but it is us providing you with a support infrastructure that enables the proper and correct capture of your financial data. Our bookkeepers are accountants in training and so we are constantly challenging their skill levels and training them in best procedures.Regular liaison with a Staff Accountant also means that their work is reviewed to ensure the correct treatment of accounting transactions. As a client, you benefit from economies of scale that you couldn't attain on your own, resulting in substantially-reduced compliance costs.
Most companies cannot afford and do not need to employ a full-time Controller or Staff Accountant. In fact, most companies should not have a full-time Controller or Staff Accountant because they lack the adequate scale to obtain optimum value from such a senior full-time role.
Staff Accountants work with a group of accountants in the accounting department of a business or in an accounting firm. A staff accountant's workday looks something like this:
- Reviewing and maintaining general ledger accounts
- Analyzing and reconciling balance sheet and income statement accounts
- Preparing financial statements and reports
- Meeting heads of departments to discuss goals and objectives
- Preparing and filing tax returns
- Liaising with tax authorities over claims and negotiating disputes
A Staff Accountant typically holds a bachelor's degree in accounting or business and is in the final stages of attaining a professional accounting designation. Staff Accountants are an integral part of any business that wants to be profitable. Staff Accountants are key to compliance with tax regulations and our Staff Accountants maintain good business relationships with the tax authorities.
Proper bookkeeping provides a basis for financial reporting such as VAT returns, company tax, etc. Beyond that, one needs to interpret the financial statements in order to interpret the data which the company has collated over time. The Staff Accountant supervises the Bookkeeper and evaluates the relationship among financial data to determine if the financial statements show a true and fair view of the business's performance and financial position. The Staff Accountant will explain the financial statements to the business owner, evaluate the control environment to enhance its adequacy for safeguarding company assets, etc. For example, the StaffAccountant will review your financial control systems, continually advise on issues of importance and he is the client's key contact with Zambia RevenueAuthority.
The Staff Accountant provides the client with high-level skills that would be uneconomical in a full-time role. The Staff Accountant does not work in isolation but has a support network at the ABACUS360 office.Our teams work remotely if need be, but they also collaborate face-to-face or on the phone.
The Staff Accountant outsource means your company now has an accounting team in the form of a Bookkeeper and a StaffAccountant. By varying the skills provided to your company, we help you keep costs at optimum levels whilst increasing the skillsets available to your organization.
Some of the benefits of a Staff Accountant outsource include:
- Timely financial statements – never again late for a year-end audit
- Peace of mind– no calls from ZRA since you have an entire company – ABACUS360 on your side
A Controller is in-charge of the accounting department and will oversee the production of financial reports as well as control the company's cash flow.
What's the difference between a Controller and a Staff Accountant?
Controllers are in-charge of money and accountants, whilst accountants are responsible for keeping tabs on where the money is going. As the Chief Accounting Officer of an organization, the controller, sometimes called a comptroller, is also responsible for tax compliance and government reporting requirements.
A Controller's workday typically looks like this:
- drafting of financial statements
- updating the general ledger
- tax compliance
- analyzing financial data
- supervising accounting staff and assigning staff for completion of special projects
- coordinating with management in other departments to interpret management accounting information and to address potential cost saving measures.
A Controller has typically come up the ranks as a Staff Accountant and would have consolidated his experience of managing teams and managing a departmental function. The Controller is typically a designated CA or CPA with at 10 years' relevant accounting and administration experience.
Chief Financial Officer
What does the CFO do?
A CFO is skilled in accounting, financial reporting, and business operations. The CFO should have the confidence to step in and work side-by-side with the CEO and offer valuable strategic insights.
Traditionally, the CFO has been responsible for forecasting, financing, financial analysis, and coaching. The role has typically been technical with a focus on the finances. The CFO focuses on business strategy, operations, developing revenue streams, finding funding, while leading a cost-efficient finance function. These skills are few and far between, but every organization needs a CFO.
A typical CFO's duties include:
- obtaining a deep understanding of the client's industry
- documenting industry and company issues of importance
- drafting or reviewing the company's financial statements or management accounts
- setting financial targets
- negotiating optimum financing
- reviewing operational procedures to increase efficiency
- overall financial management
- coaching and establishing a strong administration system
- brainstorming with the CEO and management
Unchecked, the finance function can become a company's Achilles' heel. Any strategic plan requires a financial strategy to attain the desired business goals. The CFO is the driver of financial strategy, and he is responsible for ensuring financial and operational resources are being attained and deployed in congruence with the strategic plan. These skills are rare, but no company can afford to not have a CFO.
Outsourcing the CFO function enables every company access to much required financial leadership.
A successful CFO typically has accounting and finance experience, but more importantly, has experience in managing teams, turning around difficult business situations and is a strategic thinker. A CFO must have a strong understanding of accounting and finance, must be comfortable with technology and the changes around it, and must embrace ethical behaviour. A successful CFO is typically a designated CA or CPA, holds an MBA and has 10 years' experience that includes managing a business unit.