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Four Back-Office Challenges Entrepreneurs Face While Growing Their Business

Developing your back-office processes can be complicated. Whether it’s accounting, bookkeeping or payroll services, every day-to-day business responsibility needs to follow a specific process.

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Developing your back-office processes can be complicated. Whether it’s accounting, bookkeeping or payroll services, every day-to-day business responsibility needs to follow a specific process.

In the early years of a business, when the company is just getting off the ground, many entrepreneurs are forced to hold many job titles. They’ll take on the responsibilities of a CEO, a marketing expert and an entire sales team. They’ll answer the phones, schedule the meetings, design the presentations and place the order for lunches.

They’ll do it all, because they believe in their idea. They believe their business has solved a problem, and they believe that solution is worth something.

As a business advisory professional, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a long list of entrepreneurs over the course of my career. I’ve had a front-row seat to watch their big ideas gradually grow from one-man or one-woman shows into successful, fully staffed businesses. But I’ve also seen what happens next. Success breeds complexity. As the company grows, the day-to-day process of running the business becomes more and more convoluted.

In my experience, the most common obstacles entrepreneurs face as they’re working to grow their business are back-office responsibilities like bookkeeping, accounting, financial planning, human resources, IT and cybersecurity. These tasks certainly aren’t going to the highlights of any entrepreneur’s day. They’re not going to make headlines or excite potential investors. But they’re absolutely crucial to any company’s long-term success.

In recent years, as the overall pace of doing business has become faster and faster, many business owners have found that keeping these tasks in-house has become, at best, somewhat inefficient and, at worst, unsustainable. That’s why more and more businesses are deciding to take these responsibilities off their plates by outsourcing back-office tasks to a third-party professional services vendor.

Here are four common back-office challenges entrepreneurs face as they’re growing their businesses that can be easily addressed through outsourcing.

It’s difficult (and expensive) to find the right people.

Qualified in-house financial professionals are tough to find in today’s market. According to the World Economic Forum’s 2018 Future of Jobs Report, three of the nation’s 10 fastest-declining roles across all industries are accounting, bookkeeping and payroll professionals.

Even if you can find the right people, staffing your back office with a full-time team employees will get expensive in a hurry, significantly impacting your bottom line. By engaging a full-service professional services firm, business owners gain a team of highly experienced partners while both avoiding the time-consuming hiring and onboarding process and shedding salaries and benefits from their overhead. 

Developing (and, when necessary, evolving) your back-office processes can be complicated.

Whether it’s accounting, bookkeeping or payroll services, every day-to-day business responsibility needs to follow a specific process. Developing and implementing these processes can take up a significant amount of time, and – if done incorrectly – can slow you down and, ultimately, cost you money.

Choosing to outsource these tasks gives entrepreneurs the peace-of-mind that comes with working with a team of professionals who have “been there before” and frees up their time to focus on their company’s core competencies.

A lack of financial visibility can stunt growth.

Business owners can’t plan for what they don’t know. That’s why long-term, strategic growth plans are only as successful as the financial data on which they are built. Compiling this in-depth, relevant, trustworthy data requires an investment in financial software solutions, and sitting down to analyze it can result in countless hours of time.

When you engage third-party professional services firm, you’re not only paying for their staff time, you’re also paying for their resources. It’s very likely that your prospective partner has already made the investment in the tools your business need to grow.

Finally, there’s simply not enough time in the day.

As we mentioned earlier, the concept of “free time” is completely foreign to most entrepreneurs. When you’re constantly making decisions, solving problems and selling your business, it’s very easy to let things fall through the cracks.

It’s important to remember: Entrepreneurs don’t decide to invest their time and energy into their business because they’re passionate about year-end financial statements or human resources paperwork. They do it because they had a good idea, and they truly believe they’re the only person who can make it come to life.

These back-office tasks are just one item on a business owner’s never-ending to-do list. For their partners, these tasks are their core competency. They can complete them professionally and efficiently because, quite simply, it’s what they do.

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