Top Outsourced Accounting Services for Start-ups in San Francisco

San Francisco, better known as the Silicon Valley is one of the prime place of interest for businessmen. The Bay area of the city is mainly known for its renowned business houses and other establishments that are ruling the world.

Distinctive features of San Francisco

Until the Mexican American war in 1848, San Francisco was of Mexico. The bay area of the city is world famous for big business ideas like Google, Apple, Facebook and others. Major industries that prosper here are technology and financial services. It is so great in financial services that during the depression none of the San Francisco based bank failed. It homes to more than 30 international financial institutions.1

The unique features of the city makes it a more lucrative place for the entrepreneurs to start up business as everywhere in the city one will find business minded people.

Start-up culture in the city

No doubt that a city where every day new business ideas have prospered for years will provide one of the best culture for those starting up new businesses. The city area is 7×7 that is it is 7 miles by 7 miles2. Hence a lot of companies get clustered in the same area. As every inch of the city is busy with business, when you want to start up here you have to keep in mind that the cost of the establishment will be high, quite high!

For start-ups it is best to get outsourced accounting solutions as the space is really constrained to set up your own accounting men. There are many accounting services for start-ups available in the city that makes things simpler, during those early days.

What is outsourced accounting service?

For any start up managing the core business area and the books of accounts at the same time may not be easy. They need to concentrate on their core business that will be the source of income generation of the business. Thus, a non-core activity like accounting services is handed over to a third party who is an expert in dealing with accounts.

With the help of outsourced accounting solutions it is possible for the business to maintain and manage their books of accounts in a more efficient way. There are many accounting software for start-ups but sometimes they may seem tough for a businessman who is expert in technical ways.

Accounting firms from San Francisco

In a city like San Francisco where business is innovative and needs an cutting edge to expand, there are many accounting firms that provides accounting services for start-ups. Some of them are

  • Armanino McKenna LLP
  • Shea Labagh Dobberstein
  • Burr Pilger Mayer Inc.
  • Ernst & Young LLP
  • Harb, Levy & Weiland LLP

Apart from using accounting software for start-ups, these firms provide business consulting, CFO outsourcing and tax planning services and along with cloud-based accounting and bookkeeping for startups.

Important Financial Metrics and Equations for a Startup

As a startup, you have to take up a lot of challenges. Among the different challenges that one may have to face, managing the finances efficiently is one. You need to manage your expenses and divert your savings in such way that you are able to make a further investment with the savings.

Thus, for any startup, it is important to understand the financial metrics. Here it is for your reference.


Managing sales is important as it earns revenue for your business. Things you need to consider are:

Revenue run rate, that is how much has your income increased over last year. Is there sufficient increase in comparison to the investment made?

Next, consider the Average Revenue per user or ARPU. It will help you understand how different client is contributing towards your revenue. Is there different segment among your client base? Which customers are providing average contribution and which segment needs a further push.

Marketing expenses are your most important external expense. Thus, it is important to know how much are you allocating there and how much return are you getting to that.

Client Base and Scalability

Once you have an idea about the ARPU you will be able to know Customer acquisition cost or CAC. It is important to know as with it you can decide whether you will scale up now or wait for the CAC to be better.

It is also important to understand that whether you will retain it, customer? Is it costly to retain a customer or get a new customer? Depending on the figures that you get you can decide what customer policies should be introduced or changed.

Finance/Cash Flow

Finally, it’s time to look inside the business.

Know the Burn rate that is what is the number of time you are enjoying the current level of sales? Are you at break even or have started earning profits? It is a practical way to understand when it is the right time to scale up.

You also need to track the Selling, General and Administrative Expenses (SGA) ratio to the sales figure. It is important to judge out that how much profits are you able to earn for certain level of expenses. If you can know about the revenue per employee you can actually work on the whole thing.

You will come across terms like Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. EBITDA is a figure from which you need to deduct respective expenses so that you get the gross profit, another important metrics in finance.

Duties of Modern Day CFO

The CFO or the Chief Financial Officer of any organization is responsible for financial issues of the concern. It may be related to managing the day to day financial situation or taking any strategic decision. They are considered as the most reliable source in a company from where the right information about the finances of the company can be gathered.

The duties of CFO have evolved over the last 20 years. Earlier everything was not computerized and hence after the computer has taken up the place of merely recording daily accounts, there is a change in duties of the CFO.

Right-hand executive of the CEO

The CEO remains in the charge of running the organization smoothly and the CFO is there to support him doing that successfully. The CFO is not merely a guardian of the financial health of the organization but something beyond that. They are to formulate strategies along with the CEO and implement them successfully for the growth of the concern. they are to share the values and ideas for running the business but must have an alternative perspective to view things in a different way.

Strategic Advisor

A modern day CFO is no more an executive liable for implementing the financial decisions of the board of Directors. They work beyond that scope also. They are the part of the strategic management team of the company and one primary duty of the CFO is to be the strategic advisor mainly because they have the best clear picture of the financial aspects of the business. In order to play the advisory role, they have to be a business executive along with being a financial executive.

A facilitator

The modern day CFO also needs to be a facilitator in the sense that they must be able to facilitate the management with necessary information when required.  It is their duty to increase communication and enhance the flow of information in the top management of the business. Their duty no more remains limited to funding and managing the funds of the company.

Balance pressures

A CFO is also responsible for balancing the short term pressures while managing company’s cash and profitability position. It is their duty to comply with the regulatory developments like the corporate responsibility, financial reporting, and communication among investors. The duty of a CFO is to manage the financial aspect of the business and ensure that it is undergoing profitability.

Maureen O’Connell, Scholastic Inc., talks about the aspects that modern day CFOs have to deal with. Check out the blogs here.