7 Effective Ways To Onboard Your Outsourced Bookkeeping Team Remotely
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses had already recognised the benefits of outsourcing their bookkeeping function.
Now that the pandemic has necessitated remote working everywhere, it is all the more important to select a competent outsourced bookkeeping team that can complete your books of accounts accurately, on time and without constant supervision.
At the same time, it is essential to create a smooth work environment for the remote outsourced booking team and give them access to everything they need, together with complete and relevant information to do the job.
If you have appointed an outsourced bookkeeping team or are planning to do so, here are seven best practices to onboard them effectively:
1. Educate them about your business
Your new team needs to know about your company and particularly any rules and regulations in detail, even more than a regular employee would. Guide them through everything they need to know before they take over your business accounts.
You can schedule a Zoom call where you present your screen and take them through training materials, or you can share explanatory videos with them and then schedule a call for questions. Make sure you also guide them through how to use any tools (e.g. project management or communication software) relevant to your business.
2. Be clear about your expectations
Every outsourced team has different ways of working, and you must find a balance with them by making clear any expectations or requirements you have.
For instance, if you expect them to dial into the company-wide weekly catch-up, let them know in advance so that they can work it into their schedule.
It would help if you also shared expectations about the frequency at which you need the accounts to be updated and any formatting requirements you have.
3. Schedule regular reviews
It is always a good idea to keep your accounts updated in real-time rather than waiting until the end of the quarter. To help your outsourced team do this, have regular reviews where they bring you to speed on what they are doing and can raise any questions they may have.
This is also an excellent opportunity to get to know them better and to ask them if they have any recommendations on how accounting procedures at your company can be improved.
4. Keep communication channels open
Communication is critical to efficient remote work – even one misinterpretation can have costly consequences. There are many legal requirements including tax returns, payroll, annual accounts and VAT returns which need a skilful hand.
Therefore, reach out to the team whenever you need updates on a particular tax law or additional understanding on the paperwork they have submitted to the HMRC. At the same time, ensure that you are not micro-managing them with unnecessary calls or messages.
Also, please encourage your outsourced bookkeeping team to get in touch with you whenever they need to, whether it is to clarify a point in a previous conversation or to request extra sets of records, and to promptly respond to your queries.
Since you have hired them based on their merit, you must trust them with your books of accounts and enable them to do their job in peace.
5. Agree on a procedures document
Your outsourced bookkeeping team may be used to slightly different ways of working than the rest of your organisation. To avoid any confusion, take the time out beforehand to agree on a set of procedures that both of you will follow.
This could include office timings, available time slots for calls, any particular formatting for your books of accounts, any relevant deadlines, what to do in case of emergency requirements and so on.
This way, the team knows what to do at every step and can operate more efficiently on their own without bothering you or your team for every little thing.
6. Set up a virtual shared workspace
Instead of relying on emails to share documents and communications, use a smart virtual workspace that lets you collaborate effectively. Tools like Slack and Trello are easy to use and make collaborations much more manageable.
You can also opt for something more comprehensive, like Amazon Workspace, if that suits your business better. But please make sure that the team is comfortable using the tool you have deployed across the company.
In case they are not, consider having a training session with them first or taking their suggestions on other tools to use.
7. Introduce them to your in-house employees
All too often, outsourced teams tend to stay disconnected from the in-house office team. Make an effort to introduce both the teams to each other and to involve the outsourced team in informal catch-ups and social activities.
Given that everyone is working from home nowadays, physical distance should no longer be a factor in workplace camaraderie. By treating your outsourced bookkeeping team as you do your in-house team, you foster loyalty and thus motivate them to be even more productive.
Summing it up
Onboarding plays an integral role in boosting employee satisfaction and productivity. In outsourcing, it is even more critical as your in-house team and outsourced bookkeeping team don’t enjoy the privilege of physical acclimatisation.
You will want your outsourced bookkeeper to help you reap the maximum benefits of a transparent and reliable accounting function. In that case, you must educate them on the company’s ethos, vision and expectations.
If you are looking for an outsourced bookkeeping team that can help you thrive remotely, contact us! Our online bookkeeping services are compliant and will enable you to get on with what you love doing, i.e., growing your business.