What should a small business’s back office look like, and how should it function? I sat down with TAPE’s Executive Vice President/General Manager Ted Harrison and we put some thoughts together.
A small start-up business has evolving needs as they begin and grow their business. These needs are ever changing but here are just a few functional areas that will need some attention and thought from the beginning.
IT: Information technology is probably an easy thing to keep simple in the beginning. Each employee should have their own email on a company domain name (e.g., tape-llc.com), and this can be set up fairly cheaply.
You can implement a shared cloud-based suite for collaboration such as Google Drive or Apple iCloud. These solutions are often enough to support a very small business’s needs. You can also take advantage of the benefits of Microsoft Office 365, which can grow with you.
As the company begins to grow and protection of IP against cyber threats becomes more important, you will want to look at investing in an IT network either through outsourcing or internal support. (CMMC is just around the corner!)
F&A: In the beginning, your finance and accounting needs can be managed through QuickBooks or other rudimentary finance software.
When payroll and AP become more complex and the company requires bank capital to operate, management by a dedicated accountant will become necessary.
Once the accounting department grows to several people, it will be time to consider oversight by a controller. Outsourcing this function may be most cost effective in the early stages as you grow.
HR: The human resources function can be outsourced from the beginning, if needed, to ensure that all Federal and State regulations are satisfied. It is fairly inexpensive to outsource the recruiting function.
Once requirements increase including payroll, recruiting, and employee relations, it may be beneficial to have an HR director to manage the function.
Contracts: A small company can often rely on expertise from the SBA, PTACs or other small business support entities, but once contracts grow it will be beneficial to have a dedicated contracts manager to ensure compliance with FARs and DFARs.
Your small business’s infrastructure will grow and change as your business evolves. Pay attention to where you’re feeling stretched so you can get the right support in place well before it’s needed.