Post signing of the contract, the following is shared between the service provider and the client:
- The data transfer and software access modes are defined
- Mutual introductions of processing staff and supervisory staff at both US and India ends. Also, contact points for escalation of issues are established
- There is also a sharing of list of holidays, work timings among other things
An initial kick-off call is done. The call will mainly focus on understanding the client specific practices, accounting formats, review checklists, and process formats to be used in the process. For e.g. CPAs/CAs may use specific sales tax reconciliation formats or a particular client may have specific month end reporting requirements that needs to be understood. Some processes may require initial training related to software, business practices and accounting procedures of the client.
- Remote Access/ Web Accounting Software: Depending on the technology option chosen, either a remote connection is set-up for accessing the accounting software hosted in client premises or web access is provided for the online accounting software. Remote access is provided using Windows Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) or through third party remote access tools such as GoToMyPC, Citrix, LogMeIn and others. If the client uses a web based accounting software such as QuickBooks Online, then web access is provided by sharing credentials of online web based software.
- Transfer of Data: Data can be transferred to India end through various means depending upon the volume of data, time, ease of use and technology available at client end. The technology options available for transferring of data are eFax, scanned form in emails, through drop box, upload on our dedicated US server, pick-up from client server or through a document management software. The first three methods are recommended only when the volume of data is low to medium volume. The remaining three methods are used in processes that involve high volume of data transfer, multiple sources of data transfer, and when multiple types of data are used.
- Process Formats & Documentations: The India team reviews existing process documentation such as instruction sheets, existing document templates or notes provided by client. Often however, client documentation is scarce or not complete. So the India team builds up process manuals, checklists and notes covering client specific instructions and practices. The checklist is a detailed one covering specific instructions like sales entries, payroll entries, commission entries , recurring transactions, and distribution related recurring entries.
- Reporting Formats: Different reporting formats either pre-defined by the client or prepared by India end are used to communicate work status, prioritize end-client files, highlight issues and meet other client reporting requirements such as billing timesheets. For instance, most clients prefer a summarized weekly status report stating the work done during the week.
Duration: 2-6 weeks depending on scale and complexity of the process.
The objective of the pilot phase is to allow testing of the process in a smaller scale and familiarize client with data-transfer formats and process. Also, in the initial phase (pilot phase) the focus is on handling clients across sectors, so that practices specific to a sector may be understood.
Team will process sample data in software and could initially raise some clarifications related to nature of expense, accounts, divisional codes, allocations or some software related issues. Responses to these queries and our practices questionnaire will be documented as a standard operating manual, which will be updated as and when required.
The feedback generated from the pilot phase is used to assess need for additional training, corrections in process and quality parameters. After successful completion of “Pilot Phase” and resolving of all queries related to processing, the team starts handling complete regular work volume of files.