According to 2015 Small Business Accounting Report, only 25% of businesses that have 11 to 25 employees have a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) or controller. 46% of those having 26 to 50 employees have one CFO or controller. Even businesses that employed 51 to 100 employees sometimes do not have a financial staff on the payroll. This is evident from the fact that only 64% of companies of such size say they have a CFO or controller. Only 40% of those surveyed said they are "extremely" or "very knowledgeable" in the area of accounting and finance.
The above statistics show that many business owners may not have the domain knowledge of accounting and finance. This also means that they would be outsourcing their accounting and bookkeeping services elsewhere instead of hiring an in-house team.
There are many accounting service providers in Singapore; it is advisable to choose a company that has an in-house team of not only accounting experts but also incorporation, auditing, and tax specialist so that you can get a dynamic advice that takes into consideration of all aspects of your compliance needs. That will also allow you to save the hassle of working with multiple providers. Prices may vary between different firms but the premium to be paid for a quality and dedicated firm may outweigh the cost, as you can be assured that your timeline and filing requirements will not be neglected, saving you from any penalties or breaches.
Here are 7 frequently asked questions that you must ask the consultant of the Singapore accounting firm before deciding which providers are the best choice for your outsourcing needs.
1. Does your firm understand global business scenarios?
When you outsource your accounting services in Singapore, it is important that the accounting and audit firm have the networks of global business partners and with them, giving your company the leverages to open up your business to the international arena.
In fact, Precursor is a member of Alliott Group. The Alliott Group is one of the top 30 international network of accounting, legal and consulting firms in the world with over 180 members and spans over 80 countries. This gives Precursor the global understanding of business, thus giving greater credentials to the company to become your trusted local partner.
2. How much experience does your firm has?
While experience alone is not a factor to consider when you outsource your accounting services in Singapore, it does play a significant role in your decision-making process on which service provider that you should engage with. In fact, you may want to consider the capabilities of the for a firm who is just starting out as their team may not have anyone who has the experience in preparing the accounts in your industrial sectors.
3. Who are some of the prestigious clients served by your firm?
It is important that the accounting and bookkeeping company in Singapore that you are outsourcing to has served myriads of clients, starting from internationals to clients in your same industry. Through that, you can tell that the service provider does have high-quality service standards toward their clients. On the contrary, the firms that do not have any reputable clients in their portfolio may not have the depth and experiences to manage your account.
Before you decide to engage an outsourced provider, you can ask for certain examples of the clients that they worked with and some of their testimonials and reviews.
Precursor, for instance, has various local and multinational clients in its portfolio that are from different industries and domains such as Construction, Education, Food and Beverage, Information Technology, Investment Holding, Leisure and Entertainment, Manufacturing, Property Development, Retail and Trading.
(Check out the portfolio and testimonials here)
4. Does your team have proven subject matter expertise?
It is not possible for any company to possess domain knowledge about all the industries in the world. However, your industry needs can be specific and this may require an understanding of certain domain-level expertise in order to record the financial transactions on the accounts. When you outsource accounting and bookkeeping service in Singapore, it is important to ask the service provider firm if they have proven expertise in your industry and request for their portfolio references of the clients that they have worked with. Asking specific questions related to your industry to their staff members can also be a great way to assess the knowledge level of the team and ensure the firm will be able to handle the task effectively.
For example, Precursor has a dedicated team of over 60 professionals offering a full suite of corporate and advisory services and solutions, you can contact the company and talk to one of their experts before you make any decision.
5. Do you have a standard protocol for turnaround time and customer service?
According to American Express Survey in 2011. 7 out of 10 Americans said they were willing to spend more with companies they believe that provide excellent customer service.
In another recent Amex 2017 Global Customer Service Barometer report, two out of three Singaporeans did not complete a purchase because of poor customer service they had received from the company during the past year.
Hence evidently from the different surveys and findings, the customer service of a company is one of the most important factors on why people around the world choose to buy a product or service. This is equally applicable in the context of accounting and bookkeeping service in Singapore as the speed, efficiency, behavior, professionalism, and the knowledge level plays an imperative role. This becomes especially important if you are a foreigner because a commendable customer service is what you will require when you choose to outsource your accounting matters to a Singapore accounting and bookkeeping firm.
6. What is your accountant team’s mechanism of updating and reporting?
The outsourced accounting firm is required to periodically update and report their accounts, financial statements, tax and various other details to the clients.
Periodical updates and information are the tools you need for making any adjustments to your company’s operations and adapting to the changing legal landscape.
Before you choose the firm to outsource your accounting service, ask the mechanism, through which the updates and reports are going to be given to you.
In fact, top accounting firms such as Precursor received the Highly Commended Accolade in the Best Practice Award-SMP during the Singapore Accountancy Awards 2016. The company is commended for its business’s best practices, including its mechanism of updates and information to its clients. The firm also uses various methods to provide periodical updates including personalized emails, cloud-based applications, phone calls and also an informative knowledge blog.
7. Do your firm uses cloud-based technology to ensure easy and fast accounting processes?
The World is rapidly changing and. the technological revolution has swept across all industrial sectors with game-changing technology that replaces redundant manpower. Hence it is important to outsource to a firm that is up-to-date of technological innovations of its own industry. In fact, according to the digital competitiveness survey, Singapore is ranked number one for its ability to explore and adapt digital technologies that transform government practices and business models.
While Singapore accounting and bookkeeping firms have blissfully embraced technology in their day-to-day working procedures, many companies are still limited to old technologies and desktop-based accounting applications in this age of cloud computing and cloud-based software.
According to a study done by accounting today, it was found that almost one in five SMEs do not use accounting software.
Cloud-based platforms have many advantages including the ease of access on any device, ability to store backups more securely and you can access your financial records readily online.
When you outsource accounting and bookkeeping service in Singapore, do make sure that the company you're choosing uses the newest technology as part of its accounting operations.
Precursor has developed its own exclusive cloud accounting application that does advanced-level accounting and automation and gives its clients the ability to see various updates, information, and analysis on an easy-to-use dashboard.
When you ask the above questions to the different firms offering accounting and bookkeeping services in Singapore, filtering out the service provider you would like to work with will become much easier. Already ranked as the youngest firm to reach the top 25 accounting firms in Singapore, Precursor continues to serve many fast-growing clients with distinction using its innovation-led, client-first business model.