Outsourced Accounting Services: Key Considerations for eCommerce Businesses

by Fully Accountable | Oct 4, 2023 | Accounting, eCommerce Accounting

The rapid expansion of the eCommerce industry has dramatically changed the landscape of modern retail. By 2024, revenue in the eCommerce market is projected to reach $3.64 trillion. Businesses no longer need to invest heavily in brick-and-mortar establishments to reach a global audience. However, with this shift in business operations, there’s an amplified need for streamlined and efficient back-end processes, notably in accounting. Many eCommerce businesses are now looking into outsourced accounting services to handle their finances. Before taking this route, here are key considerations to mull over.

1. Understanding the Benefits of Outsourcing

When one considers outsourcing, it’s pivotal to grasp the broad spectrum of advantages it brings. One of the prime benefits is gaining access to expertise on demand. Instead of hiring full-time specialists, eCommerce businesses can tap into a pool of professionals well-versed in the complexities of eCommerce accounting. This is invaluable, especially for those unfamiliar with the sector’s unique nuances.

Moreover, the financial element of the decision can’t be overlooked. For many businesses, especially smaller ones, managing overheads is paramount. Outsourcing often emerges as a cost-effective solution in comparison to maintaining an in-house team, factoring in expenses like benefits, training, and other overheads.

Additionally, freeing oneself from the intricate web of accounting means businesses can channel their energies and resources into their core activities. The sales, marketing, and other crucial sectors of an eCommerce business can thrive when unburdened by accounting worries.

The nature of eCommerce often demands flexibility — something outsourcing caters to seamlessly. Whether scaling up during peak seasons or dialing down during slower periods, outsourced services can adjust their offerings based on ever-evolving business needs. For these reasons, it is a small wonder that 83% of small businesses are projected to maintain or increase their spending on outsourced business services in 2023.

2. Recognizing the Specific Needs of Ecommerce Accounting

Navigating the waters of eCommerce brings forth its own set of challenges. First and foremost, the sheer volume of transactions is staggering. On any given day, an eCommerce platform might register hundreds, if not thousands, of transactions. This demands efficient processing and categorization, something that general accounting might not be attuned to.

Beyond transaction volume, eCommerce operations often stretch across borders, ushering in the complexities of multiple currencies and varying tax regimes. Without proper expertise, businesses can find themselves struggling with the intricacies of international taxes, potentially facing penalties or losses.

Inventory management, a cornerstone of eCommerce, introduces its own set of challenges. From keeping accurate stock counts to understanding the cost of goods sold and managing global supply chains, each facet demands precision and expertise. Outsourced accounting teams, equipped with specialized tools, can alleviate these concerns.

3. Prioritizing Data Security and Privacy

Delving into the world of outsourced accounting means entrusting an external entity with sensitive financial data, a thought that might unsettle many. However, professional outsourcing firms are acutely aware of the trust vested in them. They employ encrypted platforms and ensure rigorous compliance with relevant data privacy regulations. Still, businesses should proactively inquire about security protocols, seek clarity on how data is stored, processed, and shared, and advocate for regular audits to maintain the integrity of their data handling processes.

4. Ensuring Effective Communication

The importance of maintaining open and efficient channels of communication with an outsourced partner cannot be emphasized enough. Geographic boundaries can create hurdles, especially if teams operate in different time zones. Establishing clear communication windows or setting expectations regarding turnaround times becomes essential. Regular updates, transparent discussions, and an always-available line for urgent queries or clarifications are foundational to a successful outsourcing partnership.

5. Seamless Integration with eCommerce Platforms

Every eCommerce business relies on its chosen platform, be it Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, or others, as the lifeblood of operations. These platforms don’t just handle sales; they become repositories of crucial financial data that feed into accounting processes. When opting for outsourced accounting services, it’s imperative that businesses ensure these services can mesh effortlessly with their existing platforms.

The right accounting service will have prior experience with your chosen eCommerce platform, ensuring a smoother transition. More importantly, they’ll possess the capability to link their accounting software with your platform. This integration ensures real-time data updates, accurate financial records, and a seamless flow of information, obviating manual data entry and its associated errors.

6. The Need for Customization and Flexibility

eCommerce is a dynamic arena, and no two businesses are entirely alike. They differ in product offerings, scale, target audience, and operational strategies. Given this inherent uniqueness, it’s unreasonable to expect a generic, one-size-fits-all approach to suffice.

Outsourced accounting services should be prepared to offer solutions tailor-made for your business’s specific needs. Whether it’s a particular reporting format, the need for frequent updates, or specialized tax considerations, the chosen service should exhibit flexibility. This ensures that as your eCommerce business evolves, your accounting processes evolve alongside it, remaining attuned to your specific requirements.

7. Transparent Pricing and Fair Contract Terms

The allure of cost savings is a significant draw towards outsourcing. However, businesses must tread carefully to ensure they’re genuinely getting value. The financial structure of the outsourcing agreement demands close scrutiny.

Instead of being swayed by the headline figure, businesses should dive deep to understand the pricing model. Is it a fixed fee, an hourly rate, or based on transaction volume? Are there hidden fees or charges that might surface later? An upfront, transparent discussion about costs can prevent unpleasant surprises down the line.

Contractual terms, too, deserve careful attention. The duration of the contract, provisions for early exit, terms of renewal, and other clauses should align with the business’s comfort and expectations.

8. Upholding Reputation and Authentic Reviews

In the digital age, reputation is paramount. Before entering into a partnership with an outsourced accounting firm, businesses should embark on thorough due diligence. This involves not only reviewing the firm’s promotional materials but also seeking unbiased opinions.

Online reviews, testimonials from other eCommerce businesses, and case studies can provide valuable insights into the firm’s capabilities and reliability. Furthermore, a direct conversation with some of the firm’s existing or past clients can shed light on their experiences, giving businesses a more comprehensive view of what to expect.

Empowering eCommerce Success Through Strategic Outsourcing

Outsourced accounting services can be a boon for eCommerce businesses. They offer the expertise, tools, and efficiencies that can be challenging to develop in-house. However, choosing the right partner requires careful consideration of your business’s unique needs and ensuring the firm’s capabilities align with those needs. With thorough research and the right questions, eCommerce businesses can leverage outsourcing for improved financial management and business growth.

In the dynamic realm of eCommerce, understanding the flow of your finances is paramount. For businesses aspiring to make informed, strategic decisions, Fully Accountable offers a holistic suite of accounting services tailored to the eCommerce landscape. From real-time daily bookkeeping to ensure you’re always in the know about your financial standing to expert reconciliations that provide crystal clear balance sheets and charts of accounts — we’ve got you covered.

Our monthly forecasting, cash flow management, and business growth planning tools empower businesses to envision the future while benchmarking and price modeling ensure you remain competitive in the market. At the end of the day, Fully Accountable’s objective is simple: to equip you with superior data so you can make exceptional business decisions. Ready to redefine your financial management strategy? Connect with Fully Accountable today and set your eCommerce business on a trajectory toward success.

Owner at Fully Accountable | Website | + posts

Fully Accountable is an outsourced accounting and fractional CFO firm that specializes in ecommerce accounting for online businesses. As a Inc 5000 fastest growing companies award winner, our diverse team of accountants, bookkeepers and CFOs can help you improve your cashflow and effectively manage and grow your bottom line.


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