The number of tasks that can be done online nowadays is huge. You can order your dinner, pay your bills, and check your account balances all while sitting in your home comfortably. So, why not check out virtual bookkeeping.
If you decide to hire a virtual bookkeeper to handle your accounting services, you can rest assured that your finances are in great hands. Letting the experts take over the tedious duties of tracking and organizing your finances frees you up to focus on your business in other ways.
Virtual Bookkeeping (also called remote bookkeeping), like most things, has its possible shortcomings along with its many advantages. This article will go into more detail about what virtual bookkeeping can and cannot do, which will hopefully help you decide if it would be beneficial for your company.
A virtual, or remote, bookkeeper is exactly what it sounds like, a bookkeeper who does your bookkeeping tasks remotely. This means they could be in a different city, state, or even a different country than where you reside. Just like a bookkeeper that you would meet in person, or that would work in your building, a virtual bookkeeper would be able to organize your financial transactions and prepare the financial statements for your company.
While virtual bookkeepers work with several clients at once, they are always able to make time to address your questions and discuss any of your business’s financial matters. These professionals will give your business the same care and attention as a full-time, in-house bookkeeper, but on a part-time budget.
Go virtual or stay local?
Honestly, nowadays the overall difference between local bookkeepers and virtual bookkeepers is small. While you may be more comfortable hiring an in-person bookkeeper, you might be surprised how little you would actually need to interact with them. Instead of physically handing over your financial data every month, most everything is done online.
Local bookkeepers, most of the time, even use the same software as virtual bookkeepers. Either way, you give access to your financial accounts and the bookkeeper will record and organize the transactions, then produce the financial statements.
Although local and virtual bookkeepers work similarly, there are some key differences to take into consideration.
- Physical Papers – If your business has a lot of paper records, such as receipts, invoices, etc., these can be easily hand delivered to a local bookkeeper. If you had a virtual bookkeeper, you would have to take the time to scan all of those documents to create a digital copy to send to them.
- Software Choices – Local bookkeepers tend to use mass-produced accounting software, which you will also need to purchase and become familiar with. Virtual bookkeepers can use either the off-the-shelf software or, like Remote Books online, provide a customized user-friendly platform.
- Mobile Access – Services like Remote Books Online have a mobile app, so you can access your financial reports more readily. Local bookkeepers are less likely to be able to provide this feature, depending on the software they use.
- Experience with Online Businesses – A local bookkeeper may or may not be familiar with industries such as ecommerce or online services such as PayPal. Virtual bookkeepers, on the other hand, tend to have knowledge and experience with online business, as they are online as well.
- Tax Season – A local bookkeeper will not file your taxes; they will hand off the financial records to a CPA. While online freelancers also tend to hand off your data to an accountant, services like Remote Books Online can either work with your CPA or file your taxes themselves.
- Payment – Local bookkeepers tend to charge hourly and have a minimum monthly rate, the same goes for online freelance bookkeepers. Remote Books Online, however, charges a flat monthly rate.
- Cost – Local bookkeepers tend to be more expensive than virtual bookkeepers.
Virtual Bookkeeper Candidates
When you are looking for possible virtual bookkeepers, there are a few things to look out for.
Online Presence: If you are researching a potential virtual bookkeeper and you are finding that their online presence is lacking, they probably would not be the best choice for the job. A virtual bookkeeper should have a website and online profile, they work virtually, so an online presence is important.
Online Reviews: Most virtual bookkeepers will have reviews/testimonies listed on their website or social media. If you are having trouble finding any, you can always ask the potential bookkeeper if they can provide some.
Relevant Experience: It is a good idea for any potential virtual bookkeepers to have experience in your specific industry. They will be more knowledgeable when it comes to tax time and deductions and have an easier time categorizing all of your financial data.
Software Selection: If you are already comfortable with a specific software for your bookkeeping needs, finding a virtual bookkeeper that can use that software will allow for an easy transition into your bookkeeping relationship.
This is a crucial decision on which the future of your firm may rely. So, take all the time you need and decide as per your needs and requirements.