Recruiting vs Outsourcing: Finding the right solution for your business


Businesses are facing more complexities than ever before when trying to identify, hire, and retain qualified accounting talent.  Challenges include demographic shifts, such as an aging workforce and shifting priorities for millennial workers, historically low unemployment rates, lower participation rates, the profession brand image, and the return-to-office discussion. The list could go on!

With all of that said, it is vital to make strategic hiring decisions for continued growth and the financial health of your business.

The good news is that whether you’re a small startup or a large corporation, navigating accounting and financial talent acquisition can be done! There are ways to navigate the complexities of this market!

In this article, we will look at the differences between recruiting firms and outsourced accounting firms, and when it may be best to engage with one.

What is a recruiting firm?

Recruiting firms mainly focus on talent acquisition and placement. Regularly, a solid recruiting agency maintains a network of skilled professionals across various roles and sectors including finance, accounting, technology, or administration. This specialization allows them to possess a nuanced understanding of the skills and qualifications for roles in their ‘wheelhouse.’

These firms connect businesses with qualified and skilled talent on a temporary, temp-to-hire, or direct hire basis, depending on the clients’ specific needs. Partnering with a recruiting agency provides cost savings, flexibility, and helps to streamline the hiring process for the employer. For employees, a recruiting firm offers access to a wider range of job opportunities and personalized career guidance based on long-term goals.

What is an outsourced accounting firm?

An outsourced accounting firm is a service provider that handles a range of accounting and financial functions on behalf of a client. These firms typically employ a team of skilled professionals who manage different accounting tasks and functions. Sometimes, businesses may choose to outsource their entire accounting department or only choose to outsource specific components such as bookkeeping, tax preparation, and payroll processing. These firms allow businesses to access the expertise without the need to maintain full-time employees, reducing costs.

Choosing the Right Option

The decision to engage a staffing agency or an outsourced accounting firm depends on the specific needs and goals of your business.

Below, we’ve listed different scenarios and our recommendation for engaging a staffing agency or an outsourced accounting firm.

Scenario: Your accounting team faces unexpected absences, and you need skilled professionals to quickly fill the gaps.

Solution: A recruitment or staffing agency can quickly provide qualified candidates, ensuring smooth workflow during staffing shortages.

Scenario: Your company has a short-term project requiring specific expertise, such as implementing a new ERP system.

Solution: A recruiting agency can source individuals with necessary skills for project duration, which will allow you to avoid the need for long-term commitments.

Scenario: Your company can’t afford to have an in-house accounting or finance team, either due to quick scale-up growth or economic downturns.

Solution: An outsourced accounting team eliminates the overhead cost of managing the internal team and will allow you to save.

Scenario: You’re unsure about bringing someone on as an FTE (full-time employee) for an open accounting position.

Solution: The Contract-to-Hire model in a recruiting agency gives you the ability to ‘try before you buy’, allowing you to assess performance and work style before making a permanent commitment.

Scenario: Your company requires independent internal audits for compliance, risk management, or process improvement purposes.

Solution: In some circumstances, it might make more sense to use an outsourced accounting firm for their internal audit services, providing an objective assessment of internal controls and processes. Ask your outsourced accounting firm or your recruiting firm for their recommendation on this one.

Scenario: Your company needs interim financial leadership because of recent M&A transition or departure.

Solution: A recruiting agency can provide experienced ‘been there done that’ financial leaders on an interim basis, ensuring continuity of financial oversight.

Wrap Up

Before moving down any path, it is crucial to look at your business, including your technological capabilities, processes, procedures, and most importantly, your people. Figure out what is going on in your accounting or finance department. Figure out how your team is utilizing the technology. Figure out what your teams or departments are capable of.

Ask for referrals from different companies that have used staffing firms and outsourced accounting firms. Evaluate and meet with several firms and ask them about their approach to providing services before selecting and sticking with one.

Our hope is that we've brought you some new understanding around the differences between outsourced accounting firms and recruiting firms, and that you can feel confident about your decision when it's time to engage an agency.

At Accountants One, we recognize the importance of finding, hiring, and retaining the perfect accounting and financial professionals for your needs. The right partnership can make a world's difference in achieving your goals.

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