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Questions

Q: Iíve got a bookkeeper now.  The bills are getting paid and our invoices are going out on time.  Why do I need your services?


A: More than 85% of private startup companies fail within their first five years of operations.  Every year thousands of small businesses fail.  Virtually all of these companies had an accountant.  Often these businesses fail, not due to a fundamental weakness in the business itself or even the changing economics of their industry, but due to a lack of even the most basic financial management.  Without sound financial management, companies are simply not able to realize their potential or manage risk.

Small and emerging businesses need the full spectrum of finance and accounting services but have limited economic resources to staff it.  It is rare that any one person, whether it is a bookkeeper, controller or CFO, possesses just the right skills and experience necessary to fill all these roles.  And even if this person has qualified experience, this situation requires constant shifting between transaction processing and strategic management issues, which can often result in low productivity and lack of financial focus for the individual and the company.  Reliance on one financial person can often lead small business owners to fail to recognize and understand that weaknesses may exist in their basic financial management.

The BlackWood team offers comprehensive financial management.  We provide instant infrastructure for strategic planning, measurement of performance metrics, a menu of standard financial reports and a defined schedule for producing and reviewing reports. BlackWood instills fiscal discipline and develops, documents and adheres to processes that are customized to your company.

Q: Iíd really like to keep the accounting function in-house.  Iím thinking of using a part-time bookkeeper, a part-time controller, and a part-time CFO as I grow.  How would your services be a better option?


A: Building an in-house department of part-time professionals requires you to spend a significant amount of time and effort to hire, coordinate, train and manage a group of individuals who have never worked together before. BlackWood offers a team that you can plug into and draw out the appropriate levels of expertise and service when you need them.  This structure provides a much better value for a similar or lower cost.  You can focus on your core business and we will focus on ours.
Q: I already have a CFO, but we want to outsource other accounting functions.   Could BlackWood provide these other functions for my company?


A: Yes, we can work with your CFO to build and support the appropriate accounting infrastructure for your company.
Q: How much does this type of outsourcing cost?


A: The cost depends on the unique character and volume of your companyís finance and accounting requirements.  Typically, it would be similar to the cost to employ a mid-range controller, and far below the cost of a team of seasoned professionals.  The economies of scale as well as economies of skill of the BlackWood approach, i.e. our ability to match experience level to the job function, allow us to offer you lower costs and higher value.  
Q: Who would be working on my companyís behalf?


A: BlackWood currently has a team of experienced professionals that includes MBAs, CPAs, and degreed accountants and many years of combined financial and accounting experience. Each member of our team, working in their area of specialty, may be serving your company.
Q: How would we work together?


A: BlackWood applies a three-phase approach to the implementation of services.  During Phase I, we work closely with you to completely understand your business and to determine how, when and where the finance and accounting functions will be performed.  Any functions to be performed offsite will be transitioned at the rate and level that is acceptable to you.

During Phase II, any required adjustments and enhancements to computer and telephone systems will be made to make the physical location of our services transparent.  Additionally, we will establish a schedule for attending management meetings and to communicate and address developing financial issues, distribute and review financial reports, coordinate with other managers, and provide financial oversight and guidance as business decisions are discussed and made.

In Phase III, the BlackWood team becomes fully operational and takes responsibility for the finance and accounting functions.  You will complete a monthly performance evaluation of our services based on metrics established in Phase II to ensure that your expectations and requirements are being met.

Q: How can I protect against embezzlement?


A: Theft, in its many forms, is a major issue for small businesses. Many small businesses, because they have only one person keeping the books, are particularly vulnerable to embezzlement and fraud. BlackWoodís strict adherence to separation of duties, meticulous record-keeping and delivery of comprehensible reports virtually eliminates the possibility of theft in any form. We invite all of our clients to have an outside accounting firm review their books and records at any time.
Q: What if I need a check immediately?


A: If you need a check immediately, rest assured we would do whatever it takes to get a check in the hands of whoever needs it.

However, by imposing a methodology to the finance and accounting function and by building systems and procedures that are designed to meet the needs of all departments in the organization, BlackWood is able to minimize the number of emergencies that occur, including the emergency of needing a check immediately.
Q: How can I reach you quickly?


A: Whether we are working on or off-site, the BlackWood team is committed to being accessible to you at any time, no different than for in-house professionals.
Q: What about computer systems? Would I have to switch accounting software?  How and when would I be able to access accounting information on the system?


A: System applications will depend upon the nature and complexities of your operations.  Current technology allows on-line access to most applications whether they are maintained on your server or ours.  Furthermore, all systems will include security measures to adequately safeguard electronic data.
Q: How many other clients would you be serving?


A: To ensure high quality and client satisfaction, BlackWood is selective about who we offer our services to. Our capacity can be scaled as demand dictates and we are not limited in the number of clients that we can serve at any one time.