Virtual bookkeeping services are becoming more and more widespread in the world of small-business accounting in Texas, to the point where bookkeepers traveling to meet with clients is becoming more of an exception than the rule. As a matter of fact, as a virtual bookkeeper, I doubt I'll ever meet most of my clients one-on-one.
It's difficult to put your trust in a virtual service with your accounting records, and it's even more difficult to choose which service to use. I'll show you how I manage my virtual bookkeeping and also explain what to look out for in these services so that you can make the best decision concerning your business.
Before we proceed, let's first see the meaning of virtual bookkeeping services and how it can profit your business.
What Is Virtual Bookkeeping Services?
Virtual bookkeeping can be defined as the process where a bookkeeper or accountant works with their client remotely without seeing each other. It is also known as cloud accounting. Accounting software that allows you and your bookkeeper to share an account makes this possible.
With a shared account, your bookkeeper can post your financial transactions, review and update your statements, reconcile your accounts and perform other vital accounting functions without having to meet with you in person. To ensure proper file transfer and communication, the accountant and the company must use the same accounting software in this setup.
As a business owner, the benefit of hiring a virtual bookkeeper is that it is frequently less expensive compared employing someone local to work on-site. The bookkeeper might be hired as a freelancer and work as little or as much as the company requires. Working virtually offers convenience to a bookkeeper in the form of schedule flexibility and the option to work from home. Virtual assistant services can help streamline administrative tasks for businesses.
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How Does Virtual Bookkeeping Services Work?
Working virtually has its disadvantages, but it is now made easier thanks to contemporary technologies. Here's an example of how I can work with clients virtually. It's all about apps these days. These are the ones I use:
- QuickBooks Online.
- G Suite (Google Docs).
This is the "environment" on which my virtual bookkeeping service is built. It is difficult to do your business virtually without these apps. With this important apps, I can manage all of my customers' bookkeeping needs. These apps have their unique purposes for my virtual bookkeeping services. I will briefly explain how they make my job easier.
QuickBooks allows me to conduct real bookkeeping for my clients, Zoom allows me to remotely meet with clients through video, Smartsheet provides for remote project management, Slack is for chatting about issues that don't require video resolution, and G Suite and Google Docs allow for convenient file management.
How to Find the Best Virtual Bookkeepers for small businesses
Finding a virtual bookkeeper for your business is very easy, but can be hard if you are new to working with clients virtually. There are several places to find a virtual bookkeeper. You can find them online, through referral, etc. Read on to find out some factors to consider when hiring a virtual bookkeeper.
1. Find out what kind of software they use for their business
You should begin by inquiring about their application ecosystem. What apps do they use to help in the delivery of their services? They require the following generic structure, which is covered by the apps listed above, in order:
- Core accounting/general ledger app (QuickBooks Online).
- Remote web conferencing app (Zoom).
- Project management (Smartsheet).
- Communications (Slack.)
- File and document management (G Suite).
Some of the apps may be different, but if your potential virtual bookkeeping service can cover these five bases, you're likely to be covered.
2. Make sure you're both using the same accounting software program
If you use QuickBooks for your business and they use FreshBooks or Xero for their services, working with a virtual bookkeeper will be much more difficult. As a result, be sure to inquire about which accounting software they use and why. It's a reasonable question. You should find out why they're using different software and tools, then you can use the information to decide if you actually want to work with them.
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3. Examine the online presence of your virtual bookkeeper
Social media should be used actively by a truly cloud-based business, including a virtual bookkeeping service. They should participate in LinkedIn and Facebook communities. Furthermore, they should be creating material that establishes them as an expert in their field.
In this way, you won't have to rely on their claims about what they can do for you. You'll be able to check if they're giving advice that others find valuable rather than just taking their word for it. If your potential client recognizes the importance of contributing to conversations about their business and services on online forums and social media platforms, it's a solid sign that they'll be genuinely beneficial to your company.
So, you can check up on them before hiring them. Are they uploading videos, creating Podcasts or publishing articles on their blog or guest post? How are they demonstrating their knowledge and expertise?
4. Does your virtual bookkeeper have experience in your industry?
Accountants and bookkeepers interested in running a virtual bookkeeping service should focus on a few industries. This is true of any bookkeeper you hire, whether in person or virtual. This is important as it will determine whether or not the tools they use to conduct business are relevant to and compatible with yours.
Inquire about your prospective virtual bookkeeping service's experience in your field, and if so, how many clients they have there. You might even request a few customer testimonials to ensure that the service is right for you.
5. Learn their process of handling clients
Efficiency is the foundation of virtual bookkeeping services. Are you e-mailing and calling a potential bookkeeper to try to set up a meeting time, or do they use a scheduling app? Are they quick to respond? If they aren't efficient at this stage of the process, it's possible they won't be efficient once you become a client.
Inquire about the company's onboarding procedure. Is there one there? They should be able to walk you through the process. If they can't, it could be a warning indication.
6. Ask About Deliverables With Your Virtual Bookkeeper
Getting reports out through more traditional bookkeeping services was more of a procedure. Someone has to run the report, save it in the appropriate format, and email it out. They should be able to send you information on a regular basis in this age of cloud accounting and virtual bookkeeping services. Don't ask them if they send out reports on a regular basis, simply inquire about the weekly or monthly deliverables. Also ask about reviewing reports with you.
7. Ask about virtual bookkeeping services pricing
If your virtual bookkeeping service is pricing by the hour, then it is not a good sign. It indicates that your virtual bookkeeping service has missed the biggest boat of all when it comes to being a “cloud-based” bookkeeping service. The hourly price approach does not work in this situation. They must provide flat-rate pricing, which is defined as a monthly cost in exchange for great deliverables.
Conclusion: Best Virtual Bookkeeping Services
As someone who works in the cloud accounting industry for several years, I can confidently tell you that many virtual bookkeeping services do not adhere to the recommended practices outlined above. If you don't feel 100 percent certain that your potential virtual bookkeeping service has your back after your initial encounters with them, then say no. Continue your search.
Finally, your virtual bookkeeper should be a business partner who can help you in growing your business on an affordable budget. Just keep this in mind as you look for the best virtual bookkeeper for your small business.