Virtual bookkeeping allows an accountant or bookkeeper to provide accounting services for a client remotely. Telecommuting positions are becoming more common as businesses seek creative ways to find a balance between staffing arrangements and workloads. A virtual bookkeeping arrangement can be beneficial to both the business and the bookkeeper in terms of flexibility and cost.
Virtual accounting is otherwise called remote or internet accounting. Key benefits of virtual bookkeeping include:
More industry-specific accounting resources, including experts with experience with highly specialized verticals.
On-demand insights for key financial metrics for making stronger data-driven decisions.
More timely monthly, quarterly, and annual reports.
Access to an expansive team of CPAs and bookkeepers with relevant industry experience.
How Does Virtual Bookkeeping Work?
- In order for a bookkeeper to do their job, businesses must give access to their servers and their accounting software. The bookkeeper needs to collect all the financial documents such as bank statements and receipts from the employer so that they can complete the bookkeeping task assigned to them. As we live in a world that is heading towards a more “working from home” mindset, bookkeepers tended to work from their computer at home rather than in the office.
- Usually, both parties must use the same means of communication and workflow tools to avoid any confusion and keep track of the work progress. Small business accounting software like QuickBooks Online and Xero are cloud-based apps. If the employer uses either of them, the bookkeeper should be proficient to use that software.
- Sometimes the company will provide all the necessary equipment, tools, and software to the bookkeeper to complete the work, and other times the accountant can simply clock in at his personal computer, complete the job and send the financial reports to the employer through email.
- Compensation for the work can still be as wage or fees paid for the service. If a virtual bookkeeper is hired as a remote working employee by the company, the compensation is the same as wages paid to the regular employees.
A virtual bookkeeper may be appealing to a company because of the cost savings and flexibility associated with this arrangement. Virtual bookkeepers do not require office space or supplies, and those working as contractors require no insurance, benefits or employment taxes — a huge savings for the employer. Virtual bookkeepers offer flexible availability and can work as little or as much as the business needs; this can be especially beneficial for small businesses that may not need a full-time on-site bookkeeper or whose financial services needs fluctuate.
Accountants and bookkeepers may decide to work from home in a virtual capacity for many reasons. The most common is the schedule flexibility that appeals to many workers, particularly at-home parents and individuals with disabilities. The prospect of not having to leave home for work is another appealing benefit as this can save the bookkeeper money on gas, automobile maintenance and child care. Ambitious virtual bookkeepers may opt to work for multiple clients.