Many business owners feel handcuffed to their desks when it comes to dealing with back office admin duties.
Companies thrive by growing – not by scaling back or downsizing. But few businesses demonstrate a capacity to grow – often tied up in constant admin and back office work.
In fact, only 4% of U.S. companies have annual sales that exceed $1 million.
The struggle is even greater for small and medium-sized businesses who don’t have dedicated back office support. Of the 27 million businesses operating in the United States, 21 million of those are sole proprietorships without any employees. And less than 700,000 have 20 or more employees.
Without staff on hand to help you with the back office admin, how will you dedicate enough time to the strategies and tactics that matter? The personnel, money and time you invest in administrative operations can be redistributed toward scaling up your business.
Outsourcing follows the core principles from Scaling Up, which recommends hiring superstars to lead your teams. Choosing experts to do back office tasks, such as accounts receivable and payroll, ensures that you have the best people for the task, which will reduce your costs and free up cash.
Outsource your accounts receivable by finding the right partner
Billing and collections are incredibly important, but the paperwork, filing, call management and follow-ups are a heavy stress on a company’s schedule. Outsourcing your accounts receivable to a reliable company can ensure you collect your payments on time (or early) and eliminate the costly time your staff is putting into processing and collections.
Ron Finlayson, Chief Executive Officer & Chairman of E-Systems, an electronic contract manufacturer in Massachusetts, knows a thing or two about getting the right support for his company’s back office.
“You work really hard to get customers,” he explains. “If you collect a payable from them in a mean or insensitive way, you can lose in five minutes what might have taken you five months to win.”
Finlayson explains how it’s crucial to understand who will be talking to your customers and how they’ll handle those conversations. The tone and manner must match your business. “If you don’t want a hard push, check out what their message is and ask how they handle it if someone can’t pay on time. This was really important to us, and I’m pleased to say that the people handling Liquid Capital’s collections are genuinely nice.”
Outsource your admin work in combination with other services
A Minnesota company, Ridgeline Manufacturing, sells custom aluminum recreational products such as boat lifts, docks, custom trailers and stairways – perfect for the State of “10,000 lakes.” The company has also been outsourcing their back office receivables through Liquid Capital as part of their accounts receivable financing.
Owners Nick and Julie Newman have been in business since 2008, and use accounts receivable financing, otherwise known as “factoring,” to pay for associated operating costs. Ridgeline uses around 50 vendors to complete one product line — and not all of those vendors offer payment terms, so factoring is used to fill in the gaps.
Because Liquid Capital purchases the receivables outright on behalf of Ridgeline, it also takes care of collections, and that is a huge benefit to their business.
“When manufacturers advance funds to their customers, there is often push-back on us charging interest,” says Nick Newman. “But with Liquid Capital doing that, it’s different. As a third party, it’s more palatable to our dealers and helps the collections process too.”
The company now has increased flexibility, which has helped them land three new dealers.
Outsource your payroll with a dedicated team
Payroll is a big expense in every business, but consider what payroll operations are costing you each week. The time you and your staff spend on processing that payroll could be put to better use in developing, implementing and financing the expansion of your business. Instead of managing every aspect of payroll, you can find a qualified company to work with you to complete all the paperwork and government filings needed.
The decision about which company should handle your payroll should focus on the following:
- Be specific about your needs. Let the company know if you will only require payroll services, or if you will also want them to handle retirement and other employee compensation services.
- Get a dedicated team. Go with a company that will dedicate a team of experts to your business, so you will know who to contact with questions or concerns.
- Go with a company with transparent pricing. You want to understand how much outsourcing your company’s payroll services will cost, so go with a company that does complicate its pricing structure.
Before making a decision about outsourcing any services to a provider, check their references and ask other business owners about their experience. By doing your due diligence you’ll find a partner that works with you and your team, and that will save you time and money in the long run.