A couple factors led Ryan Watson to start Upsourced Accounting.
One, not unlike a lot of entrepreneurs, he yearned to go into business for himself. Two, after working for a Big 4 accounting firm, he was a bit disillusioned.
“Don’t get me wrong,” says Watson, a CPA. “I can’t say enough about my experience in public accounting. Frankly, it’s probably the sole reason I’m in a position to be able to do what I’m doing today. But the one thing I feel like I didn’t get from the Big 4 firm was a sense that I was making a real difference and helping small business owners become more successful.”
So he and Ryan Baker, a former Fortune 100 corporate accountant, launched Upsourced in Columbus in January and began servicing clients almost immediately.
“Traditional accounting shops are inefficient and they’re expensive, Watson says. “Do-it-yourself software is great if you’re positive you’ll never have a complex or technical situation. Otherwise, you’re lost and you’re on your own.”
Upsourced combines existing software applications for bookkeeping, payroll, invoicing, and taxes in a central online dashboard available on-demand. Business owners supply basic accounting inputs while Upsourced staff manipulate, review, and approve the outputs, such as payroll tax withholding, tax filing, and profit and loss statements.
The Upsourced dashboard was developed in-house, Watson says.
“I may be using the term ‘developed’ a hair loosely, though– not because it’s not great,” he adds. “It is. But because what we’ve got is so simple. There are literally hundreds of accounting software applications out there. I’m not sure we physically tried all of them, but it sure feels like we got close. We found the handful that we felt served our clients’ needs the best and we built a simple website around aggregating those applications in one place.”
Clients benefit from the efficiency and cost savings associated with leveraging accounting software, but have the comfort of knowing that a CPA owns the accuracy.
“It’s always difficult for us to quantify exactly how much cheaper we are than our competition, just given how incredibly diverse our competition is,” he says. “I can tell you how much we’ve saved some of our current clients, though. We’re saving an optometry practice we work with approximately 35 percent from their prior service and a local restaurant closer to 50 percent. I’d say that’s a pretty accurate range.”
Upsourced’s client base is fairly diverse, much to Watson’s delight.
“Not only do we service the more traditional small businesses, like dentist offices, restaurants and retailers, we also deliver solutions for freelancers and musicians,” he says, adding that the company has everything from an optometrist with three stores looking to save money on payroll to a local musician who needs a bit of help keeping track of his cash flow from shows and merchandise sales.”
Craig Baldwin, another Big 4 alum, was hired in the spring, making him the third member of the Upsourced team.
“Ryan and I focus on the operations and perfecting the dashboard while Craig builds awareness for the business,” Watson says.
To learn more about Upsourced Accounting, visit UpsourcedAccounting.com.