The Accounting Department Blog

Outsourcing for sanity!

Many Australians have made the choice to be self-employed, small business owners, entrepreneurs, and medium to large enterprise owners. Owning your own business and working in that business is often rewarding and exciting. However, we often find ourselves doing things we don’t want to do or are really not proficient at.

My first business (1996) was cash-based. It seemed easy enough to run - keep a ledger, write down the income and the expenses, give the clients a tax receipt ripped from a pre-printed tax invoice book, and hand it all over to the tax accountant at the end of the year - easy!

Some may say it wasn’t really a business in those early stages - no policies or procedures, no staff and no contractors. Business was good and growing, but I needed some help, as I was selling my time and quickly running out of my own time to sell. Introduce a part time resource to help - simple! Well it was for a while. I brought in a contractor to help, who could invoice me and provide her own insurance. But now I had to write cheques, think about policies and procedures and restrictions of trade, manage the contractor, ensure I was still making a profit and that the contractors invoices match the time worked and the revenue generated.

Given my business was based on selling my time and now selling my contractors time, every hour I spent selling was less time I could spend at the table making money directly from my time. So I needed to sell more time, bring in more contractors and build the business. The reduction in what I would call the work of the technician, was replaced with more work - accounting, financials, contractor management, policies, procedures and management of people. None of which I had any real experience or interest in. Great problem to have, after all, the business was growing, but I was no longer doing what I loved - I was too busy working on administration and sales.

Build it and sell it, that was the great plan, and that’s how it worked out three years later (1999). I built it and sold it for a commission on all revenue and an end payment if I didn’t return to work in the business. I outsourced the labour to bring about the end result, but I lost the part of the business I enjoyed, the hands on work of the technician.

Retrospectively I should have outsourced the administration, accounting and compliance as it was not my area of expertise, and I am sure I made a lot of mistakes. I was a good technician who stopped doing what I loved and became the administrator in my own business and I am sure I am not alone.

Often we need to take the time to consider which areas of a business that we start or run we are going to do ourselves, and where we can outsource so as to improve focus on the business and enjoyment of the work we are doing.

For your sanity I’d recommend taking the time to work out what you can take off your workload to allow you to concentrate on building the business while still enjoying what you love to do.

Posted By: 
Tony Metcalf