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
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
The outsource provider must have the experience and expertise
to analyze the companys 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 companys needs as well
as a more personable relationship.
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