What are outsourced accounting services?

Outsourced accounting services are provided by accounting firms to help businesses meet their accounting & compliance needs while letting them focus on the core activity of their organisation. Outsourced accounting services include from bookkeeping, management reporting, compliance and tax planning. Practitioners can assist their clients whether they need a full outsourced solution, interim support during busy periods, or specific technical resource to assist with complex accounting matters.

What does an accounting services manager do?

The accounting services manager’s main responsibility is to manage the team on a day-to-day basis and to develop and maintain strong external and internal client relationships. They manage portfolios of clients and are responsible for fee negotiations, billings, contracts and cash collection. For each assignment, the accounting services manager determines resource requirements, monitors the team’s progress against budget and sets timeframes. They will review and approve the work of more junior staff and resolve any issues prior to director or partner review. The accounting services manager will also contribute to business development by proactively seeking out new opportunities for the team.

Key responsibilities

Responsibilities will vary, but examples include:

  • Managing client assignments - determining resource requirements, monitoring progress against budget and timeframe, reviewing work completed by junior team members and resolving all project issues prior to partner/director review.
  • Managing the team on a daily basis.
  • Managing a portfolio of clients including client take-on, agreeing scope, fee negotiations, control of billings and cash collections.
  • Acting as first point of contact within the firm for the client together with the partner - anticipating and responding quickly to client needs, keeping them informed of progress.
  • Ensure that the firm’s risk management and quality control procedures are adhered to.
  • Recruiting, managing and developing team members.
  • Requesting feedback from clients and acting promptly to improve client service.
  • Escalating potential overruns.
  • Contributing to business development opportunities.
  • Building and maintaining strong relationships with existing clients.

Why are they important?

Companies may outsource their accounting functions to reduce costs, to benefit from high quality staff and an improved level of performance, or to reduce their risk. It also enables organisations to focus essential internal resources on core activities that will drive their business forward.

Skills needed for this role

Accounting services managers must be proactive and flexible with excellent communication skills, numeracy and attention to detail. Strong interpersonal skills are key in order to build and maintain good relationships internally and externally and they also require good people management and leadership skills.

Strategic Professional Options examinations linked to this role

Advanced Financial Management

Advanced Performance Management

Career opportunities presented by this role

Accounting services manager roles are widely available in accountancy firms. Opportunities range from positions in smaller, specialist practices to roles in large established teams in top tier accountancy firms. Accounting services managers can progress to more senior roles such as head of accounting and outsourcing. Depending on their business development and stakeholder management skills, opportunities all the way up to partnership are available.


High level competencies required include:

  • Advisory and consultancy

    A. Gathers and understands financial and non-financial information to develop complete knowledge of the client business and the environment in which it operates.

    B. Provides expert advice that will add value to the business and gain advantage.

    C. Identify and advise on business partnering to develop strategic relationships to create opportunities, improve performance and solve business problems.

    D. Prepare and present business plans and advise on the actions to implement these plans.


  • Corporate and business reporting

    A. Prepares financial statements, corporate financial and integrated reports for external stakeholders using appropriate technology.

    B. Leads effective decision making through analysing, evaluating and communicating performance and position of entities.

    C. Prepares financial statements for groups of entities using appropriate technologies.

    D. Monitors, critically evaluates, and advises on the relevant accounting standards, regulations, conceptual and financial reporting frameworks.


  • Data, digital and technology

    A. Identifies strategic options to add value, using data and technology.

    B. Analyses and evaluates data using appropriate technologies and tools.

    C. Applies technologies to visualise data clearly and effectively.

    D. Applies scepticism and ethical judgement to the use of data and data technology.



  • Leadership and management

    A. Applies appropriate leadership strategies to effectively deliver business objectives.

    B. Leads, motivates and manages people to optimise performance and effectiveness.

    C. Collaborates, supports and works to achieve the objectives of the organisation, applying appropriate digital technologies.

    D. Acts proactively and thinks strategically, in anticipating organisational needs, recognising the wider business environment and dynamics.

  • Stakeholder relationship management

    A. Positively develops relationships with internal and external stakeholders.

    B. Communicates and gains commitment from internal and external stakeholder.

    C. Uses emerging technologies to collaborate and communicate effectively with stakeholders.

    D. Applies professional and ethical judgement when engaging with stakeholders.

    E. Aligns organisational strategic objectives with stakeholder needs and manages expectations.