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Building Your Outsourced Accounting Team: Which Roles To Hire First

Do you want to build an outsourced accounting team but aren’t sure where to start? Fractional services offer tons of benefits like cost savings and efficiency. But it’s essential to follow accounting department structure best practices to make sure you hire the right roles in the proper sequence. This way, you can be confident in your team’s ability to operate optimally and support your business growth. Keep reading to learn more about outsourced accounting services, best practices, and the benefits of going this route.

Accounting Department Structure Best Practices: FAQs

Knowing how to structure an accounting department is the first step in building an outsourced team. Here are some frequently asked questions to help guide you.

How Do You Structure an Accounting Department?

It depends on the current size and growth stage of your company. If you’re just starting out, you may only need a bookkeeper to handle basic financial tasks. As your business grows and reaches around $1 million in annual revenue, you might need to hire a senior accountant to manage more complex accounting functions. For larger companies, adding a controller to oversee financial operations and a CFO to provide strategic financial insights becomes essential.

How Do You Set Up an Efficient Accounting Department?

Efficiency depends on timing and hiring the right positions in the right order. A phased approach ensures your accounting capabilities grow alongside your business. It’s also important not to task people with tasks outside their role. A CFO isn’t responsible for handling your books. And a bookkeeper isn’t providing long-term financial insights.

How Many People Should Be in an Accounting Department?

There are four key roles in an accounting department: bookkeeper, senior accountant, accounting assistant/junior accountant, and controller. Depending on the size of your business, you might have multiple people in some of these roles. For smaller companies, a single person might handle multiple roles, while larger businesses may require several individuals in each position to maintain efficiency and accuracy.

4 Key Accounting Department Positions

It’s important to understand the key roles in an accounting department when building your team. Whether you opt for outsourced accounting services or hire in-house, you’ll need to fill these four essential positions in this order.

1. Bookkeeper

A bookkeeper typically handles a company’s day-to-day financial transactions. They record sales, purchases, receipts, and payments. In most cases, a bookkeeper needs at least an associate degree in accounting or a related field. They play a vital role in maintaining accurate financial records.

2. Senior Accountant

A senior accountant typically oversees the accounting department and ensures compliance with financial regulations. They prepare financial statements, conduct audits, and manage budgets. This role usually requires a bachelor’s degree in accounting and several years of experience. Senior accountants also provide guidance to junior staff.

3. Accounting Assistant/Jr. Accountant

An accounting assistant or junior accountant typically supports the accounting team by performing clerical tasks. They help with data entry, invoice processing, and account reconciliations. An associate degree is often sufficient, though many have a bachelor’s degree. This role is ideal for those starting their accounting careers.

4. Controller

A controller typically oversees all accounting operations within a company. They manage financial reporting, budgeting, and internal controls. This position requires at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting and significant experience in the field. Controllers ensure the accuracy and integrity of financial information.

The Role of CFO in Your Accounting Department

You may be wondering why we don’t have “Chief Financial Officer” on our list. That’s because, while a CFO partners with the finance team, they aren’t an accountant. They typically use their knowledge and expertise to provide higher-level insights, focusing not on day-to-day operations but on the bigger picture.

For example, while a Controller ensures accurate financial reporting and compliance, a CFO develops strategic plans to drive the company’s long-term financial goals. A CFO analyzes market trends, oversees investment decisions, and provides guidance on mergers and acquisitions. Their role is pivotal in shaping the financial strategy and steering the company toward growth and profitability.

Benefits of Building an Outsourced Accounting Team

If you hire each of the above positions in-house, you will incur significant costs for salaries, benefits, and training. If you use outsourced accounting services, you can access experienced professionals at a fraction of the cost. By taking it a step further and using Next Level Now, you don’t have to hire positions individually. 

Our enhanced Fractional CFO and Outsourced Accounting program offers a skilled team of outsourced accountants led by an expert fractional CFO. You build your entire finance function in one easy step. Here are a few of the benefits our clients get that you can experience, too.

  1. Start Right Away with Little to No Training: Our team of experts is ready to hit the ground running, minimizing delays and ensuring a seamless transition for your financial operations.
  2. Access to Specialized Expertise: Benefit from a diverse team with specialized skills and knowledge that might be difficult to find in a single, in-house hire.
  3. Scalability and Flexibility: Easily scale your accounting resources up or down based on your business needs without the hassle of hiring or reducing staff.

By choosing Next Level Now, you gain a comprehensive, efficient, and cost-effective solution for your accounting needs. You can get a full stack controller, accounting services, and a CFO, having our fractional firm act as your whole finance department. View our recent client case study to see how we deliver exceptional financial management and strategic support for Constellations Behavioral Services. 

Build Your Outsourced Accounting Team With Next Level Now

Do you want to experience the benefits of a full-scale finance function without the complexities of traditional hiring? At Next Level Now, we understand accounting department structure best practices and have designed our services to provide you with a proficient and scalable financial team tailored to your business needs. We’re ready to help you streamline your accounting processes and drive your financial success. Learn more about our outsourced accounting services, and contact us to get started.

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