Small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) face increasingly difficult challenges in keeping up with evolving technologies and the accelerating pace of doing business. With the complexities of running a business today it is nearly impossible for a business owner to “wear many hats” effectively. Unfortunately, the growing businesses most in need of high quality guidance and support from professionals in the areas of accounting, financial management, and business advisory are the least likely to have access to them.
That is changing with the creation of dedicated “client accounting and advisory services” (CAAS) teams within existing consulting and accounting firms. These “delta teams” typically consist of specialists who have experience working with SMBs across a range of industries. CAAS services go beyond traditional tax and accounting tasks to provide higher level advisory services that are focused on the specific needs of an SMB. The level of support offered can make a significant difference for a start-up, emerging, or growth-oriented business by serving as an extension of the company’s management team, without necessitating a full-time hire.
Depending on the individual needs of the client and stage in their growth cycle, a CAAS team might offer a combination of “back office” business operations support, outsourced accounting and bookkeeping, tax planning and compliance, IT and cyber security support, and business planning services, or event virtual CFO or Controllership support. Outsourcing these business functions not only helps reduce payroll costs, it also improves the efficiency and quality of the service.
The CAAS team can also draw from a firm’s wider staff for additional firepower when necessary. Services can be added or scaled up as a business grows and its needs expand, without incurring additional payroll costs. For example, many growing SMBs take advantage of more strategic functions, like budgeting, forecasting, and continuous improvement of internal processes. The most valuable feature of CAAS support is the ability to deliver timely and meaningful operational data, supported with appropriate guidance, so that a company owner can make better, more informed decisions for their business.
With the support of an experienced CAAS team, a small business owner no longer needs to “go it alone” in managing their business and financial operations. By choosing to run a leaner, more efficient organization with expert outside support, a business owner can focus more on their leadership role and planning for long-term growth.
Paul Gerry, Jr., CPA, is a partner at Gray, Gray & Gray, LLP where he heads the firm’s CAAS practice group. He can be reached at 781.407.0300 or email@example.com. Jenna Rice, CPA, MSA, is a director in the firm’s CAAS practice group. She can be reached at 781.407.0300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.