Controllers across the country and around the world are valiantly fighting to keep the lights on—even if those lights are merely shining on empty offices. Cash flow is tight, and even if we are beginning to take steps toward some kind of normalcy, getting to that point is still going to take a lot of work. A lot of work—often with less staff.

Leveraging a Bare Bones Staff in a Challenging Time

You’ve probably needed to make cuts in the form of furloughs and layoffs to keep the business afloat, which, despite providing necessary cash, has also exposed you to some risk. Even if your staff is the best of the best, putting 400 hours of work into a department that used to have 800 hours to spare each week presents a high risk of burnout and a lot more high-pressure workloads—two factors that often result in mistakes.

This is made even tougher by the workplace you’re returning to. You still have to keep track compliance with PPP requirements, ensure that any layoffs you had to make didn’t expose you to risk, and continue to pay the employees that are still around.

Add this to the fact that someone has to start thinking about what’s next, and the burden can become overwhelming. Activities need to contribute to survival and put you in a position for recovery—meaning you need to be putting as much focus as possible into value-adding activities.

HR Outsourcing: Improve Compliance while Embracing Cost Savings

There are many ways to focus more effectively on these value-adding activities. Whether this means increased use of automation and technology to facilitate time-consuming processes or looking for expert help to take over complex tasks, one option for controllers is HR outsourcing.

HR outsourcing can do a lot for your business. It can save you money. It can help your HR staff focus more closely on strategic initiatives. Better yet, it can reduce your risk and can provide you a wealth of additional information about your employees.

Defined by HR Zone, Human resource outsourcing (HRO) occurs when a business instructs an external supplier to take responsibility (and risk) for HR functions and perform these tasks for the business. So what are some of the benefits and why should you consider an HR Outsourcing initiative? Accounting Today recently provided four key reasons:

Free up Money

The obvious benefit of outsourcing an HR department is the cost savings. For example, replacing well-paid employees tasked with something like payroll is going to provide direct cost savings. If you’re like the 62% of businesses that, according to Paychex, are looking to reduce spending in the wake of the pandemic, this might be an area to look.

Remember, the next few months may require more focus on HR compliance—health and safety requirements may present challenges, maintaining PPP compliance will require oversight, and layoffs may require an unbiased outside view. This likely means you need more resources in HR.

According to Accounting Today, “During a time such as this, when establishing comprehensive employee leave and safety procedures are more important than ever, hiring an in-house HR manager, or labor attorney, can be timely and costly. Outsourcing those services is an alternative way to help meet those critical needs, while minimizing overhead costs.”

Transfer Risk

As the person in charge of accounting, you may feel like you’re the only one who spends a ton of time on nuance in standards. HR is a close second. Another core selling point of outsourcing your HR processes is the risk management aspect. Not only are these companies explicitly focused on HR tasks, their employees likely spent a lot of time planning for the changes that are affecting businesses returning to work.

By bringing in outside HR expertise from an HR solutions provider who has staff focused on these compliance updates, business leaders can help to protect themselves by confirming required policies are properly implemented and in place before reopening.

Increase Productivity and Efficiency

You’re hiring laser-focused professionals to do specific tasks—and it’s likely they know how to do the work more efficiently than you do. Bringing employees back might require them to fill out or update paperwork, and this is one of the many processes that could be improved through automation.

Get an Unbiased and Well-Educated View of Your Processes

Hiring an expert not only delivers cost savings, risk mitigation, and efficiency, these firms might be able to point you toward even more improvement. Like any outside consultant, these firms have no personal attachment to their work and are willing to recommend changes that your internal staff may have overlooked or ignored.

For example, you may learn that a policy in your handbook exposed you to unnecessary risk or that you weren’t properly enforcing something. Your outsourced firm will tell you and show you how to fix it. With now the perfect time to evaluate and update policies (i.e. firming up a long-term work from home strategy), the right partner can help you get there.

Help Your HR Staff Focus on What Matters

Like automating your own processes, the removal of manual, low-value tasks can help decision makers focus on the internal challenges and strategic initiatives. Rather than trying to make sense of a benefits spreadsheet, your HR staff can work towards building out a safe return to work plan. Rather than spending dozens or hundreds of hours on payroll each week, your staff can think of making the full transition to normalcy.

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Additional HR Resources

Planning Your Reentry: HR Tips for Getting Back to Work

How Controllers Can Approach HR Initiatives During the COVID-19 Outbreak

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