A Virtual bookkeeping service is increasingly common in the small-business accounting world. Bookkeepers are increasingly compelled to travel to meet clients, so it is less common for them to do so. Most of my clients will never see me in person.
It can be hard to trust a virtual service and your books. Even more difficult is choosing the right service. This will make the process easier. Let me show you how I manage my virtual bookkeeping business and tell you what to look out for in these services. So you can make the best possible decision.
What is a virtual bookkeeping service?
Cloud accounting is another name for virtual bookkeeping. This is when an accountant or bookkeeper works remotely for a client. Accounting software lets you share an account with your bookkeeper. Your bookkeeper has access to your financial transactions and can review your statements to make updates and reconcile. You can also rely on them to prepare reports and reconcile your accounts. Both the accountant and business should use the same accounting software to ensure files are properly transferred and communicated.
The benefit of using a virtual bookkeeper as a business owner is It is often less expensive than hiring someone to work on-site. A bookkeeper can be hired as a contractor to work as little or much as the business requires. For a bookkeeper, Working virtually offers convenience in the form of schedule flexibility and the possibility to work remotely.
How does virtual bookkeeping work?
Remote client work is not easy, but modern technology has made it possible. Here is an example of how I can work remotely with clients. It’s all about the apps. These are the ones I use:
- QuickBooks Online.
- G Suite (Google Docs)
This is how I run my virtual bookkeeping business. These five apps are all I need to manage the needs of my clients.
QuickBooks makes it easy to manage my bookkeeping. Zoom allows me to meet clients virtually over video. Smartsheet allows for remote project management, while Smartsheet and Slack allow me to communicate with clients via video. Finally, Google Docs and G Suite make file management simple.
How to find a virtual Bookkeeper
Find out which software they use
Start by asking them about their app ecosystem. Which apps are they using to provide their services? In order to provide their services, they need to have the following structure in place. It is covered by the above apps:
- Core accounting/general ledger app (QuickBooks Online).
- Zoom Remote Web Conferencing App
- Smartsheet for project management
- Communications (Slack.
- G Suite – File and document management
While some apps may be different than others, there’s a good chance that your virtual bookkeeping service will cover all five bases.
Make sure you use the same accounting software
If you are using QuickBooks, and the virtual bookkeeper uses FreshBooks, it will be much more difficult to work with them. Ask them what accounting software they use to manage their business. It’s a fair question. If they use different software and tools you should find out why they are doing it and then use that information to decide if you want to work with them.
Evaluate your virtual bookkeeper’s online presence
True cloud-based business, You should actively use social media to promote your virtual bookkeeping service. They should be taking part in forums on LinkedIn or Facebook. They should also be creating content that establishes them as thought leaders.
You don’t have the obligation to believe what they claim about their abilities. If they offer advice that you find helpful, it is better to look at their work than just take their word. Your prospective virtual bookkeeping company should be able to understand the value of joining the conversation. It is a sign they are genuinely interested in your business.
You should check on them. Do they make videos? Podcasts? Blog posts? What are their methods of demonstrating their expertise and knowledge?
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Does your virtual bookkeeper have experience in your industry?
One of the most important things in my company is We teach accountants and bookkeepers how to manage a virtual bookkeeping business. they should be able to specialize in only a few industries. This applies to any bookkeeper, virtual or in-person, that you hire. This is especially true for virtual bookkeepers. This will however determine the outcome. If the apps they use for business are compatible with yours, it is worth checking.
Find out if your potential virtual bookkeeping service has experience in your industry and, if so how many clients they have within your industry. It is possible to request testimonials from customers to ensure that the service is right for you.
Learn their process for dealing with clients
Virtual bookkeeping is all about efficiency. Do you go back and forth with prospective bookkeepers trying to find a time? Or do they use scheduling software? Are they responsive quickly? This could indicate that they are not efficient at this stage of business and won’t be efficient when you become a client.
Ask about their onboarding process. Is there one? You should be able for them to give you the steps. This could be a sign of trouble.
Ask your virtual bookkeeper about deliverables
It was much more difficult to send reports in traditional bookkeeping services. It was a process that required someone to perform the report, save it in the correct format and then send it out. They should be able to send reports to you on a scheduled basis in this age of cloud accounting, virtual bookkeeping, and virtual bookkeeping. Do not ask them if they send reports on a scheduled basis. Ask them what their deliverables are each week or month.
Ask about reviewing reports together. This should be an option in every virtual bookkeeping service. Although it might cost more than the basic level, this option should still be available.
Ask about pricing
This is a bad sign if they charge by the hour. This means that your virtual bookkeeping system has fallen short of the mark when it comes down to “cloud-based” bookkeeping services. Here, the hourly pricing model is not applicable. They should offer flat rate pricing — A monthly fee is paid in exchange for a set of clearly defined deliverables.
Conclusion — Find the best virtual bookkeeping services
As an insider of cloud accounting, I can confirm that many virtual bookkeeping services do not follow the best practices outlined above. You shouldn’t leave your first interactions with your potential virtual bookkeeping service feeling 100% confident that the company has your back then say no.
Your virtual bookkeeper should help you grow your business economically. This is what you should keep in mind when searching for the perfect virtual bookkeeper to help your small business.