Irrespective of whether you run a small start up or a medium-sized business, there are undoubtedly arguments for outsourcing some of the tasks that drain your energy and, or resources.  In most cases, in small business start-ups the owners constantly burn the midnight oil doing tasks that would be ideally suited to outsourcing. 
In particular, things like bookkeeping and accounting are undoubtedly best passed on to someone who is accustomed to doing the job day-in and day-out, rather than taking your eye off the business ball to do what you need to. 

When it comes to medium-sized businesses, these tasks can also be successfully outsourced, but in addition, things like payroll, HR and marketing are also perfectly suited to a quality outsourcing relationship.

Choosing which tasks to outsource for very small business owners

There’s no doubt as a very small business owner, you have your finger firmly on the pulse of your annual budget and as such possibly retain more tasks in-house than it really makes sense to do.  If this is the case, then it’s well worth looking at the elements of your business that require you to walk away from your customer-facing or business development activities, but don’t directly contribute to your bottom line.  Typically things like bookkeeping and accounts are likely to be top of your list. 

If you’re in a situation whereby you find yourself sitting at your laptop late at night recording expenses or preparing invoices that are going out later than they should, you should seriously think about getting an expert on board to help you.

Bookkeeping and accounting are necessary evils, even for the smallest of businesses and in fact can be really useful tasks if carried out in such a way that they either improve your management information or your cashflow.  Knowing that you have someone on hand to make sure your business expenses are recorded timeously means that you can take remedial action if costs are rising. Working this way also means you can make sure invoices go out on time and get paid on their due date.  Both of these activities make complete business sense. 

Getting someone to do these tasks for you might involve hiring a local or national firm of accountants with a high street presence or choosing a quality remote outsourcing company.  Thanks to the way remote outsourcing companies work, they are normally significantly cheaper than firms with a high street presence and have streamlined their service so you almost don’t notice that you don’t have a face-to-face contact.

Choosing which tasks to outsource for small to medium-sized business owners

As a small or medium-sized business owner, you’ve probably already accepted that outsourcing your bookkeeping and accounting makes sense, but if not, then the same benefits apply to your business as to very small businesses when it comes to these tasks.  That said, there is probably a really strong argument for outsourcing some additional tasks and here are just some:

ü  Payroll.  If you’re an employer, you won’t need to be reminded of the hefty responsibilities that came along with Real Time Information (RTI).  Introduced earlier this year, RTI calls for business owners of all sizes to be truly on the ball when it comes to reporting payroll to HM Revenue & Customs.  Thanks to the new complexities of payroll and the penalties that will come into effect next year for getting it wrong, payroll is a perfect task to outsource, in order to save you stress and money.

ü  Marketing.  Marketing has changed its face in recent years thanks to the wave of changes brought about by SEO, telemarketing and social networking to name but a few.  Employing someone to help you maximise your business opportunities isn’t normally feasible, even for reasonably large businesses, but thankfully there are a whole host of cost effective and efficient outsourcing solutions in this sector.  Irrespective of whether you choose a freelancer who works from an office in their home, or an outsourcing agency, you’ll be able to draw on marketing expertise that will help you manage and maximise your return on investment.

ü  Human Relations (HR).  There hardly seems to be a day that goes by at the moment without some horror story or another in the press about an employer that has been hauled over the tribunal coals.   This, alongside the increasing HR legislation being placed on employers makes outsourcing HR a great solution.  Staying up to date with ever-changing legislation and making sure you stay on the right side of the law is a tough task and a task that makes little sense on the basis that you can successfully outsource this role to an expert at a very reasonable cost.

So there you have it, these just some of the tasks that both very small and small to medium-sized businesses can outsource successfully.  Over the next few weeks I’ll be interviewing some business owners who have outsourced their way to a more efficient business, as well as exploring some of the deeper detail of outsourcing, so why not pop back to find out more?

About the author: This article was written and submitted by Paul Marsden, [who looks after the Payplus payroll bureau].  By qualification Paul is a Tax Accountant, but these days does little in the way of tax accounting.  In his role as accountant he has worked with small and medium sized businesses for over 25 years; a period that has seen many changes, particularly regarding the accessibility and implementation of technology. 

Paul has an exceptionally strong personal and professional interest in technology and gets a real buzz from helping business owners use technology to become more efficient so they have more time to focus on business growth.

He’s spent the last 5 years running an outsourcing business that provides bookkeeping, payroll and accounting software services to SMBs.  Paul is a member of the IAAITC (International Association of Accountants Innovation and Technology Consultants), a group of UK accountants who combine to promote forward thinking in IT across the accountancy profession.  Currently the IAAITC is developing a framework for SMB’s to deal effectively with Information Security.