What is BPO?
 

A question we hear frequently is "What is BPO?" The acronym BPO stands for Business Process Outsourcing. BPO involves contracting your non-primary business activities to a third-party provider so that your primary business receives the attention it deserves. Business functions like payroll, human resources (HR), legal and accounting require expertise to operate efficiently and effectively to benefit your company. 

BPO = Business Process Outsourcing

Some BPO services may also be referred to as Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) or Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO). BPO is the over-arching umbrella for the industry that includes ITES and KPO. Countsy is a provider of BPO services that include ITES and KPO, which sounds professional and a bit impersonal. So let's talk about what Countsy's services mean for you — the Founder & CEO of a venture-backed startup. 

Countsy provides expertise and human capital from your OnDemand CFO to your supporting team of Accounting and HR professionals, aka KPO. These professionals leverage a collection of industry tools or ITES to efficiently execute our business operations in a scalable and timely manner. Countsy teams stay abreast of all the innovative technology, implement best practices under the guidance of your assigned CFO. This ensures you receive optimal results from our BPO service. Many early-stage companies see the value of investing in a BPO and are set up for future success by having a scalable infrastructure. The earlier you can get set up on a dependable BPO service the better to allow for future growth seamlessly and painlessly.

 
Lee Bellon
Scalability without losing Focus.
 

The VC backed startup needs an array of experienced professionals in order to grow rapidly. Deciding what to outsource and what to hire for can be challenging for any founder. And even if the decision to outsource is clear, the implementation of a scalable outsourcing infrastructure is imperative. Making that process as streamlined as possible can save you critical time and energy. You are supposed to be focused on innovation, not buried in operational and back office tasks. 

The value of choosing the right partner that uses the right tools and approach is greater than the sum of its parts. For starters, make sure you get a dedicated CFO to work with you to understand your short and long-term business needs, not as an outsider, but as an inside ally and true business partner. Choose a CFO that is experienced in the nuances of venture-backed startups. You don't want to get template answers better suited for massive corporations. This familiarity aids your CFO in working with your Board of Directors, communicating financial updates and strategic plans. It also provides peace of mind. And because this CFO is available on demand, you can trust that you'll have the operational guidance you need to drive your company forward when you need it.

Under the guidance of your CFO, make sure you have a dedicated team of experienced professionals utilizing innovative systems to keep your business operations running smoothly even as you scale up your hiring and increase volume. Allow them to grow your accounting and HR function across all critical areas while remaining a fractional resource. Choose the right partner, and you will find that everything else will follow smoothly. 

 
Lee Bellon
Outsource your back office — without sacrificing access and attention.
 

Operational disciplines and processes are what your startup relies upon to survive and thrive, but it’s not your primary business nor core revenue activity. Outsourcing your startup's Accounting, Finance and HR saves you from having to fund more personnel, office space and equipment, particularly as you grow. 

Now more than ever, outsourcing your startup's essential back office functions makes economic sense. But as the CEO, what about accessibility to your business-critical data and insights from an experienced operations leader? 

Thankfully, today’s cloud-based software allows for always-on information and easy collaboration. Modern Accounting and Finance solutions provide the same level of accessibility and visibility once achieved only by in-house staff. 

Venture-backed startups can also leverage a dedicated, outsourced, on-demand CFO rather than overspend on another executive package. A reliable outsourcing firm vets its CFOs based on experience, relevance and capabilities to ensure you have a knowledgeable and competent business partner throughout your startup's evolution. Someone who's available whenever you need and always sharing the information you require to make snap business decisions.

Whether you think of it as extra brains or muscle, outsourcing can provide advanced technology and crucial human capital to support your startup from day one — all without forgoing access to your business information or guidance from experts. The right outsourced solution shouldn’t feel distant or uninvolved. Rather, it should feel present and proactive. 

Devote all your attention to innovating and delivering products that delight your customers. It's time to take advantage of the new era of outsourcing your Accounting, Finance and HR. Outsourcing your startup's back office functions as opposed to hiring full-time Accounting, Finance and HR employees typically results in a 30-40% cost savings.
 

 
Lee Bellon
How outsourcing your back office functions such as Accounting and HR can benefit your startup
 

 

As Founder and CEO, you need a support team capable of scaling operations alongside the rapidly changing landscape of your startup. Outsourced solutions are often the most efficient and cost-effective way to go when starting your company. Mainly because you only pay for what you use, both in time and level of desired skill set allowing your startup to reserve capital for developing its core business. 

  • But how do you decide the level of skill you need? 
  • Then how do you find time in your schedule to continually transition less experienced contributors to more experienced personnel? 
  • And ultimately, how do you prepare for what you don’t know?

Quite simply, you can’t be prepared without having an expert on your side. You need a partner experienced in growing startups who is committed to seeing you, the Founder and CEO, succeed. At launch and during early stages of the business, you need a proven Accounting and HR team, not one trying to "reinvent the wheel" in the often unpredictable environment. 

The right outsourced solution provides you with both a reliable, dedicated team of professionals and modern enterprise technology. To provide you measurable results, the team and technology should be high-quality, proven, and operate within industry best practices.

At times a single hour of CFO support is all that’s needed, and other times demand more effort and resources to facilitate the growth of your company. The right outsource provider can dynamically scale with your ever-changing needs.
 
A back office solution, whether for a five-employee company or a 100-employee company, must be agile enough to keep pace with the forecasted growth of the company. A costly mistake startups make is to hire full-time staff in these departments way too soon. While every startup grows and scales at its own pace, it’s important to hire at the right time. Until the workload necessitates a full-time internal staff, consider fractional staffing. 

The amount of work seen in a high-growth startup environment can ramp up in tsunami type waves, overwhelming even the most experienced practitioners without support and automation. Outsourcing your back office provides a solution that can resize itself for your current needs without continually playing catch up as your business grows. 

More importantly, outsourcing Accounting and HR allows you as the Founder to focus on more mission-critical initiatives—like raising your next round of venture capital or developing the latest technology for your product. 

 
Lee Bellon
Don’t get derailed now that you have venture backing
 

You’re entering a great phase of your company. Your startup finally has the capital it needs to accelerate development and growth. It also means that you have a lot more on your plate as the Founder or CEO. 

Startups are often so focused on developing their products, they forget about the importance of building back office functions for the non-core activities of the business. High-growth startups depend on successful back-office functions that scale seamlessly when they experience rapid growth in revenues and employees. While each startup is unique every venture backed CEO needs functions like accounting, finance, administration and human resources to move forward. To give you an idea of just how integral and overwhelming the tasks involved can be let’s get a bit more specific on the back office functions a VC Backed CEO needs. 

Some of the more critical functions include:

You could hire a PEO to manage all the HR activities or a staffing agency that handles the accounting believing they will scale with you, or even a smaller bookkeeping firm to handle your part-time demand, but you’ll still be short the guidance of an advocate ensuring both are acting in your best interests. So, you’ll need to add a part-time CFO to handle reporting, financial projections to name a few. Each step along the way eating away time and focus from product development and sales without ensuring confidence that operations are going to scale in a seamless fashion, whether you go from 5 to 10 employees or 50 to 100 employees.

Once you have secured your venture capital, it’s important to think strategically about the back office functions of your startup. Formulating a plan is critical, to not lose focus and time on product development so you can start to scale your company.  

 
Lee Bellon
Policies and Procedures for Startups
 

Every organization needs a manual that tells folks “how things work around here”. Having brief and succinct policies and procedures in place right from the start answers a lot of questions before they come up. As a venture-backed startup, employees need it (e.g. How much can I expense for my meals when traveling?), your management team needs it (How much am I allowed to sign off on when placing a Purchase Order or making a commitment of the company’s funds?), the Accounting function needs it (who should approve invoices and other expenditures?). Having documented Policies and Procedures in place helps set the tone of the organization and puts controls in place to ensure the money you have raised is being spent in a reasonable and appropriate manner. 

No one-size fits all solution exists for building financial controls and accountability. However, a great place to start is to have a well-documented Policy and Procedure manual in place that covers everything from who can commit the company’s funds to what are considered to be appropriate and reasonable types of travel expenses.

Your Countsy CFO can help a company build its financial controls and accountability in an on-demand format, allowing your company the best advice from experienced and qualified resources right from the start, and through every phase of your startup’s growth.

 
Lee Bellon
There is more to Accounting than AP… more to HR than Payroll
 

As Founder or CEO of an early stage company, activities like Accounting and Human Resources are often over-looked in order to focus solely on product development, sales, and engineering. While it’s true a sound business concept and plan are essential to starting, key back-office functions like accounting and HR must not be ignored. As quickly as money is invested, spent, and allocated — proper booking and recording of it is essential. As your VC-backed business starts to grow, the basic bookkeeping function must quickly transform into a professional and scalable accounting function. To arm the business down the road with detailed analyses such as a financial model, cash flow statement, and the basic ability to understand the business and its performance — implementing a good accounting function is critical. 
 
Isn’t accounting just a simple process to track basic functions like Accounts Payable (AP) and Accounting Receivable (AR)?
 
While the foundation of accounting starts with posting debits & credits and handling the transactional side such as AP and AR, it goes way beyond these core activities as you continue to grow and scale your business. If one of your investors asks questions around cash runway or your strategy related to minimizing your expenses, how can you provide an answer unless you have been properly tracking the numbers and taking the time to understand what they mean. This is just one way in which accounting is more than handling your AP for example. Every business has its own cadence to its growth curve, but there is a lot more to accounting than simply processing AP. Additionally, your accounting function will consist of Month-end Close, Credit & Collections, Budgeting & Forecasting, and Cash Management.
 
Similarly, your Human Resources function is more than just processing payroll. While this may seem like the most important aspect of HR, it’s just one of the aspects of creating a strong HR function. In the aforementioned description of why Accounting is more than AP, building and maintaining a scalable HR function is equally as important. From hiring your first employee, there are many tasks to consider including implementing the right benefits program, selecting a 401(k) plan, creating an Employee Handbook, etc. Especially in a good economic climate, such as the current one, it’s vital to offer an attractive and competitive package for your employees. In a tightening labor market for core positions such as engineers, designers, app dev, it’s critical to develop an HR function to be able to hire and manage your employees. 
 
While Accounting and HR may seem like back-office functions that aren’t relevant to the growth plan and future success of your business, they are in fact very important to align with core activities. Taking the time now in the early stage, startup mode to think about and set up Accounting and HR will help propel your business for future success.

 
Lee Bellon
Accounting is not the same as Bookkeeping for Startups
 

Bookkeeping (Accounting) for startups can be considerably different than that of a small business, a difference that often requires the guidance of a CFO to ensure books are GAAP compliant and audit-ready at due diligence time. In fact, we believe that as a venture-backed startup you don’t need a ”bookkeeper” you need an accountant. Your current flow of payables and receivables may not require the full-time in-house support of an accountant, (you may not even have an active revenue line yet) but you still need a dedicated and accessible accounting service to ensure your business doesn't get tripped up along its accelerated growth path. Outsourced accounting services familiar with startup needs can provide you the expertise and reliability you need to streamline operations and focus on growth.

Experienced services like Countsy exist to make light work of the accounting for startups. Staying on top of payables, receivables, sales tax reporting, payroll tax reporting, banking and credit card reconciliations and balance sheet reconciliations in preparation for your monthly close. In addition to getting the job done, you also gain the confidence of a dedicated Countsy CFO and the team of accounting professionals well versed in best practices and systemizing your financial processes. All are keeping your monthly close and payroll on track, ramping up their efforts alongside the growth of your company. 

A startup's human capital is crucial to its success. As CEO you need to be recruiting and onboarding the right players to accelerate growth and innovation. With a dedicated Countsy CFO and experienced support team, you save money over hiring in-house, freeing capital to be used elsewhere. You gain the guidance of talented professionals who want to free you from the operational burdens of the back office, by employing the right skills, best practices, and most efficient tools available. All leaving you worry free to focus on product development, business growth, and team cultivation. 

 
Lee Bellon
Accretive Solutions Announces its Startup Outsourced Accounting Business is now Countsy.
 

 

(SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, May 22, 2017) Accretive Solutions, a leading provider of Consulting, Search and Outsourcing services, is pleased to announce the launch of Countsy (countsy.com). Starting today, the firm’s startup Accounting, Finance and HR Outsourcing Business, which has been a leading practice in the firm for its 15+ years of existence, will operate as Countsy, an Accretive Solutions company. 

From its early years as the back office accounting function for startups such as Facebook, to its leading market position working with hundreds of today’s rising startups, Countsy has grown into its own. For decades, Accretive Solutions has been cultivating the practice with its intimate experience navigating the startup world. The firm’s leadership and Board of Directors recognizes the importance of investing in this top performing business and providing a stronger path to capitalize on the changing landscape within the venture backed startup outsourcing marketplace.

Accretive Solutions’ CEO Kerry Barrett says, “This is a very exciting time for our firm. It is evident that this is the right time for Countsy to emerge as its own brand and business. This launch, accompanied by an investment in infrastructure and enhanced go-to-market game plan will dramatically expand Countsy’s reach among the entrepreneur community, and will further champion its quest to help emerging companies focus on growing their businesses.”

Mairtini Ni Dhomhnaill, founder of Countsy and a long-time member of the Accretive Solutions Executive Team describes the evolution of the Countsy business as a natural result of listening to clients, understanding the intense demands of startups, and delivering those much needed services. “Venture backed startups share many common back office needs, yet remain unique in their growth trajectory and culture. Countsy will continue to offer seamless back office functions that startups often lack, by providing a dedicated CFO and a support team of experienced professionals utilizing a scalable technology platform.”

The Countsy name is new, but the solid track record of supporting thousands of startups over the past decade – including Asana, Facebook, Quora, Zenreach, Shift, Intercom, June, Instagram, to name a few – is not new.

 
 
Lee Bellon