I have a calculator but I’m not an accountant: the case for outsourcing

July 6th, 2018

By Stephanie Lyon, Business Development Consultant, Stratus.hr

I have a calculator and pencils on my desk, a spreadsheet on my computer, a short stack of ledger paper in a drawer somewhere, and a working knowledge of how to pay for things. I’d be a great accountant, right?

Wrong. I’m missing one thing — skills. Make that two things — I’m also missing the desire to be an accountant.

Truthfully, there’s no one who would disagree with me. Yes, I can balance my checkbook, but If I were working as an accountant, I’d be slow, make mistakes, hate my job and would spend any money I save by DIY-ing it on Ben and Jerry’s for emotional support.

Here’s the problem, though: I see this scenario playing itself out all the time at businesses I work with. It stems from a natural tendency every one of us would have if we were starting or growing a company — keep costs and commitments low by doing everything yourself. Even if those tasks aren’t in your wheelhouse.

But when you’re the outsider looking in, like I am, you get to see the real cost of not outsourcing these tasks. Either nothing else gets done because there’s no time (for example, when you decide you’re the person to design and code your own emails) and the business growth languishes, or the task you’re posing as proficient in goes horribly awry and someone else (or, possibly, a whole legal team) has to step in to fix it and the costs skyrocket.

The result is never good for business.

My philosophy is simply this: think of tasks that aren’t your strong suits as prime opportunities to bring in the expertise you don’t have. Don’t look directly at the sticker price until you’ve assessed the value of someone doing the job right. We all do this in our personal lives already whenever we go to a hair stylist, hire a painter, have a caterer handle our party and more. It’s not like we don’t have scissors, paint brushes and frying pans. We just know that there’s a pro who will do it much better.

Doesn’t your business deserve the same treatment?

Stephanie Lyon is a business development consultant Stratus.hr. When she’s not helping businesses find an affordable solution to manage payroll, compliance and employee health insurance, Stephanie is either volunteering with 1 Million Cups and Inspiration Hospice or recharging with a good read. Reach her at stephanie@stratus.hr.

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