Virtual Bookkeeping – Finding A Great Virtual Bookkeeper For Your Business
Getting a bookkeeper is a logical step for a business owner who simply doesn’t have the time to balance their budget at the end of the day, along with handling the various tasks and documents which could simply be delegated to a virtual bookkeeping professional.
In today’s world of business, many owners have been resorting to remote workers in order to secure an excellent working wage and due to the ease of communication in the digital age. Barriers which would halt a rational business owner from hiring somebody online in the past have been alleviated by the many different online platforms for communicating and sharing information that we have today.
Virtual Bookkeeping: Difference Between Traditional & Remote Bookkeepers
Hiring a virtual bookkeeping professional has proved to be a recipe of success for many businesses. Although many business owners are typically concerned with basic issues like trust and being able to communicate easily with their employees, the presence of countless trustworthy and effective employees who simply prefer to work remotely has made it much easier for a business to delegate daily financial responsibilities to somebody who doesn’t even live locally. Although there are many great virtual bookkeeping professionals on the job market, those who prefer a traditional bookkeeper will still be able to find one.
What is a Bookkeeper?
If you choose to hire a bookkeeper, you probably also need some help handling the records for your daily business expenses. A bookkeeper will help you to compile and organize this information into documents and statements, account for factors like sales taxes, and help you prepare important financial documents. Although bookkeepers typically have worked from a business HQ in the past, recent trends and technological developments make it much easier (and safer) to potentially hire a bookkeeper who can work remotely.
What are the Job Requirements of a Bookkeeper?
Usually, a bookkeeper is only expected, at the bare minimum, to handle four important financial statements. This includes general organization of all revenues and expenses (income statements), continuously determining the total business net worth (balance sheets), having detailed reports of where business cash goes (cash flow statements), and routinely updating your current business equity (statements of changes in equity).
- Income Statements
- Balance Sheets
- Cash Flow Statements
- Statements of Changes in Equity
- Other Special Agreements
Although the above financial documents are very basic job requirements that just about any qualified virtual bookkeeping service will provide, it’s important to understand that you can still ask for additional services from the bookkeeper. This usually includes things like handling sales taxes, sending out monthly payrolls, sending invoices to contractors and collecting payment, balancing your budget, and much more. For best results, a bookkeeper should handle basic job requirements along with any special tasks that your business needs.
Does a Bookkeeper Need to Work from Your Office?
Although a bookkeeper is traditionally a person working from an office inside your business headquarters, it doesn’t necessarily have to be this way. Once both sides are comfortable with the bookkeeper’s ability to handle things on their own, the need for them to be physically located in an HQ office becomes a lot less important. After all, if your business uses digital and online tools for all financial actions, then so can your bookkeeper. If nothing but an internet connection is required to adequately do the job, then you should consider hiring somebody remotely.
Can a Virtual Bookkeeper Be Just as Effective?
One of the most important reasons that a business owner may choose to have a traditional employee, rather than a virtual one, is the sensitiveness and delicacy in this type of job. If you hire the wrong person and subsequently hand them the keys to your business’ finances, things can quickly turn sour. As countless businesses already know, a trustworthy virtual bookkeeping professional can be just as effective as a traditional one, especially if they know what they are doing, have the proper background, and are a trustworthy person with a proven background of being so.
Top Related: Online Bookkeeping
Consider Your Business’ Budget and Other Needs
If you need a bookkeeper for a large corporation, the needs and daily tasks of your bookkeeper will naturally become a lot more strenuous. For a larger corporation, having somebody located physically at your headquarters may be ideal. This way, you can always have somebody around to answer financial questions. However, keep in mind that hiring the right person to work remotely may prove to be more beneficial and effective than you might have imagined. Keep your budget and personal circumstances in mind as you decide which is best.
Virtual Bookkeeping: 10 Reasons to Hire a Remote Bookkeeper for Your Business
In the past, finding any sort of remote worker was simply not possible. After all, without the ability to communicate and stay in touch with your employee, it could never work out. If you are still on the fence about being able to find a great virtual bookkeeping professional for your business, here are 10 reasons for you to consider so that you can be confident that a remote worker will be your preferred option.
1. All documents are digital and easily shared.
Whether you want your bookkeeper to work from your HQ or to work remotely, one thing that will remain constant is the fact that they will prepare all financial documents digitally. This means that you will still have access to the same documents. It is crucial that your potential bookkeeper knows how to prepare everything digitally in the first place. However, it becomes quickly evident that you don’t need your bookkeeper to work from your office in order to prepare financial statements.
2. Communication is still very effective.
When you have an employee who works from your office, all you will need to do is knock on their office door to communicate with them. When you hire a virtual bookkeeping professional, they will be very understanding of your need to easily be in contact with them. Typically, employees will keep their Skype, Google Voice, or personal cell phone handy during business hours. In all reality, this is something you should expect from remote workers in the first place.
3. Fewer responsibilities are placed on the business.
If you have hired employees in the past, you are well aware of the many different steps the business must go through to keep them and the government happy. This can include health care, retirement, and extra benefits. However, if you hire a remote contractor, you don’t need to meet requirements like this. The most paperwork you will need to do will be any sort of written agreement or contract that both parties determine to be necessary. Of course, they will probably be the one who handles the paperwork when tax season comes around too.
4. Services are typically more affordable.
Remote workers have the freedom to determine who they work for and where they work from. They might also work for various different employers, granting them the ability to work several jobs. If you hire a virtual bookkeeping professional, it will be a lot more likely that they are one of these people. Outside of the money saved which would otherwise be spent on health insurance and benefits, remote workers are usually capable of working for lower rates than what you can receive from a local full-time worker, especially if you hire somebody who lives in a country with a low cost of living.
5. Enjoy less stress on both sides.
A typical employee needs to spend a considerable amount of time on their daily commute and any sort of time investments that may come up at the office. Then, there is the potential for conflicts and stress that result from personality conflicts and having to be constantly around other individuals daily. Of course, hiring a remote worker means that variables like this are removed from the conversation. No commute is necessary, and communication is limited to professional video chats, phone calls, and emails.
6. Employees save money and time.
When you work for a company and need to work from a specific location, there is a considerable amount of investment which is necessary. Specifically, the most common expense that can burden your employees is the transportation requirements with commuting back and forth from work. In many instances, the biggest burden for people like this isn’t necessarily the money. The time which they spend commuting could have otherwise been spent on work tasks or personal hobbies.
7. Gain access to more talent and candidates.
Opening up a position for virtual bookkeeping means that you won’t be limited to a handful of individuals who live in your local area. Those who hire people locally will clearly have a lot fewer candidates to choose from. This can also mean that the most qualified individuals on the market may never even apply. However, hiring somebody remotely means that you will instantly have access to the most qualified individuals all around the globe.
8. You can still check background and credentials.
You may want to hire somebody digitally but don’t necessarily like that there is a lot less transparency on both sides. However, there will always be ways that you can ensure that each virtual bookkeeping application that you consider is from a legitimate and trustworthy person completely qualified for the job. Ask for any sort of certifications, transcripts, degrees, and relevant professional contacts that each candidate may have. You will still be able to properly verify and confirm each job application as you would with locally based applicants.
9. Enjoy higher company diversity and cultural exchanges.
Hiring remote workers can prove to be a learning experience for both sides. Since many people enjoy diverse environments where they can hear from people with new perspectives and worldviews, having a set of remote workers around the globe will help you produce this sort of working atmosphere. As an example, you may like to wish your employees a Merry Christmas and grant some sort of bonus each December. On the other hand, this employee may let you know it will be harder to work during the month of Ramadan since they will be fasting. At the very least, you will learn some basic cultural norms from each other.
10. One job can quickly become a long-term partnership.
Remote workers tend to really love their field of work. After all, they have the ability to work from a location of their choosing. Although there are many instances where remote workers may be untrustworthy, absent, or difficult to reach, they can also prove to be some of the most loyal workers you can find. When you find the right one, it is very possible to develop a working relationship which lasts several years. The strangest part of these sorts of working relationships is that it is possible that employee and employer never actually meet face to face.
Pros & Cons of Virtual Bookkeeping Service
In order to find the best virtual bookkeeper for your business, it’s important that you understand the many different benefits and potential setbacks of hiring one. Specifically, recognize how these potential benefits and setbacks compare with a traditional bookkeeping service in which an employee works for you locally.
Top Related: Small Business Bookkeeping
Benefits of Virtual Bookkeeping
Hiring a virtual bookkeeping professional can be a great choice for businesses that already have a system in place for digitally handling financial statements and payroll. All you will need to do in this instance is hand over access to these items, and a qualified virtual bookkeeper will know exactly what to do. Here are some of most relevant benefits for hiring a virtual bookkeeper:
No Extra Insurance, Benefits, or Taxes
Depending on which country your business is based out of, you will probably have other requirements that you have to meet. However, independent contractors (virtual bookkeepers) don’t always have the same requirements, especially since they are normally considered temporary workers. In many cases, hiring a remote worker means that you don’t have to pay as many benefits, insurance plans, and taxes.
Save the Office Space and Extra Desk
Hiring a remote worker comes with the immediate benefit of not providing the tools for them to do their job. They will be expected to have their own computer, working environment, internet, and so on. This comes with some great benefits for the business. Outside of the money saved on not providing these sorts of things, you can also use the extra space for bigger and better projects.
Access to More Candidates & Talent
As briefly discussed, this is one of the best reasons for choosing a virtual bookkeeper over a traditional one. Since each candidate doesn’t need to be locally based, you will have immediate access to a higher number of individuals. This will typically also mean that there will be a larger number of heavily qualified people for you to consider. Online talent will always be able to present their portfolio along with any relevant information that can prove their qualifications.
Everything is Permanently Saved Digitally
One of the immediate benefits of using a virtual bookkeeping service is that any sort of financial statement can be immediately pulled up when it is needed, even if the document in mind hasn’t been accessed in years. Since each of the statements will be saved digitally, all the files can be put in a permanent folder where you will always have access to them. The benefit of solely keeping digital files will pay off in the long run with less printing fees and 24/7 access.
Freedom of Location for Both Sides
Employers and employees alike value freedom. This is something which makes us human. As we all know, having a job and income are vital components of a successful life. If you really dislike the lifestyle of being tied down to one location for your business, then getting a remote bookkeeper is really a no-brainer decision. After all, it will grant you both the ability to continue living your lives as you see fit and to work from a location of your choosing.
Setbacks of Virtual Bookkeeping
Although there are clearly many different benefits and reasons why you may choose to hire a virtual bookkeeping service, it’s important to know the potential setbacks that are present. This way, you can make an informed decision. Here are some potential setbacks that you need to keep in mind before you can find a great virtual bookkeeper:
Employee Isn’t Located Locally
There are certain employers who view the idea of an employee very traditionally. This means having them nearby so that they can attend staff meetings, go out for business trips, and so on. However, those who hire remote workers will simply not have this luxury. The candidate that you choose may even be located on a different continent, making them very difficult to see in person.
Communication is Digital
With the increase in technology for communicating with each other around the globe, we have reached a point that face-to-face communication isn’t entirely necessary. After all, we can both see and talk to anybody in the world with the touch of a button. For this reason, digital workers became a lot more common. If you are an old-fashioned person who prefers traditional means of conversation, you won’t like having to talk with a bookkeeper with digital applications and tools.
Requires Basic Technical Knowledge on Both Sides
Due to the nature of this position, both the employer and the employee will need to have some pretty basic technical knowledge. This includes being able to troubleshoot any sort of basic computer problem and having the confidence to rely on financial tools and platforms which are strictly digital. Without some basic technical skills on both sides, working with a virtual bookkeeper will prove to be very difficult.
Language and/or Cultural Barriers
Of course, the ideal virtual bookkeeper for your business will be one that is completely fluent in your language and culture. However, this isn’t always the case. If you hire somebody who lives in a different country and speaks another language as their primary language, you will be a lot more likely to run into barriers based on language and culture. Usually, these sorts of problems consist of small misunderstandings and confusion which are easily cleared up.
You Don’t Personally Know Your Employee
Many employers love the many benefits which come with having employees they routinely see and communicate with. There are many instances where an employer and employee end up having a relationship which is much more than just a professional contact. If you are the kind of person who values getting to know employees and establishing great relationships, then a remote worker may not be your best option.
Benefits & Setbacks of Traditional Bookkeeping Services
Keeping in mind the benefits and setbacks of hiring a virtual bookkeeping service or professional, it’s important to compare these variables to what you will typically find from a traditional bookkeeper that works from your business location. Since much of the information above briefly mentions our major points here, this section will be a lot easier to understand.
Benefits of Traditional Bookkeepers
- Physically present for work.
- Easier to get to know personally.
- Know your local laws.
Potential Setbacks of Traditional Bookkeepers
- May require additional benefits.
- Require office space and tools.
- Usually require a higher investment.
Summary of Benefits & Setbacks of Traditional Bookkeepers
As we can see, the major reasons why a business may prefer to hire a traditional bookkeeper is that they will be locally available, more knowledgeable of local laws and regulations, and a lot easier to establish a personal relationship with. However, this will come at the cost of paying extra benefits, providing the necessary tools for work, and fulfilling any sort of legal or time investments which are necessary for having a traditional employee like this.
Best Places to Find Trustworthy Virtual Bookkeeping Professionals
Finding a virtual bookkeeping professional may not be entirely easy to do, especially for those who value having an excellent employee they can depend on in the long term. However, one thing that won’t be hard is to find platforms you want to use for finding your bookkeeper. Here are some of the top ways countless businesses can find a great virtual bookkeeper:
1. Referral from a Trusted Contact
If you have contacts in a similar industry, they have probably tried to find a similar employee in the past. Those who find employees referred over from somebody that they trust tend to find employees which are a little more trustworthy. After all, they have previous experience with a professional contact you have probably come to know and trust. This will make it a lot easier to trust your new bookkeeper.
2. Freelance Websites
There are remote workers all over the globe who use certain websites as their main means of finding new clients. Although freelance websites are not strictly designed to help businesses find virtual bookkeepers, they are common locations for posting job listings. If you want to find a remote worker, freelance websites may be the easiest means for you to do so.
Upwork is an online platform where freelancers can apply to a job and connect with employers who are seeking a remote worker. Although virtual bookkeeping is not the most typical job listing that you will find on Upwork, it is one of the largest platforms around for connecting remote workers with employers. Posting a job for a virtual bookkeeper on Upwork, at the very least, will provide you with a nice chunk of applications to consider.
Freelancer is one of the largest platforms for freelancers to find jobs and for employers to find freelancers. Like Upwork, this website has a very large number of active users. Accordingly, this is another one of the best platforms that you will find on the path to hiring a freelancer who specializes in virtual bookkeeping. Freelancer stands out from its competitors in that there is usually a lot more competition for each job listing.
People Per Hour
This UK-based company is a great place to find professionals who are typically above average and heavily qualified. Of course, these sorts of candidates can be found on just about any platform. However, the freelancers which are found on this platform are usually very high quality. If you have searched through various freelancing sites and haven’t been impressed by any of your applications, this is another great platform for you to look at.
3. Local Listings or Classified Ads
Although this may not necessarily be your best means of hiring a virtual bookkeeper, placing local job listings can prove to be an effective way to find a virtual bookkeeper. The immediate benefit of advertising locally is that you can potentially end up with somebody who wants to work from home locally. This sort of candidate will immediately remove some of the top reasons for not pursuing a working relationship with a remote bookkeeper in the first place. You will still be able to arrange local meetings and business events with them if you need to.
Top Qualities to Look for in a Virtual Bookkeeper
As you are trying to hire a virtual bookkeeper, there are a certain set of qualities that you should expect to receive. This way, you can get one of the highest quality virtual bookkeeping services for your business. Although there are typically personal concerns you may have, there are some general qualities you should look for. Here are some of the top qualities you should find in a qualified virtual bookkeeping professional:
Qualified & Experienced
Unless you are a gambling person, one of the initial things you need to check is that each candidate is adequately qualified and experienced. Although hiring somebody who is strictly qualified may mean that you can pay a slightly more affordable rate, having the experience and portfolio of success is one of the first things to reference that will keep your peace of mind. After all, an individual who is both qualified and experienced will typically be a better employee right out the gate.
Prompt & Easy to Reach
Having somebody on the other side of the phone line when it matters most is a crucial necessity for any sort of financial service. When a financial crisis or any sort of dire situation develops, the bookkeeper will probably be the first person that needs to be contacted. However, if they are hard to reach, then they are immediately less valuable. If you find a bookkeeper that is willing to talk with you around the clock, especially during an emergency, you have found a great candidate.
Excellent Technical Skills
Any sort of remote position requires both parties to have some basic technical skills. This especially includes basic troubleshooting skills for the bookkeeping platforms, the internet, and any other tools required to fulfill all the job requirements without any sort of delay. Usually, this is an area where you will have little difficulty finding the right candidate. After all, a virtual bookkeeping professional should already have all the technical skills necessary. They might even end up coaching you from time to time.
Great at Meeting Deadlines
The ability to meet deadlines consistently is a trait that can be very hard to find in an employee. However, if you find a bookkeeper that consistently goes above and beyond your requirements and always meets deadlines, this is a sign that they will be somebody to keep around for the long term. However, this is a quality that can be difficult to measure until you have hired your candidate and are in the training stage.
With just about any sort of matters related to finances, being able to trust the individuals around you is so important. Many businesses have fallen victim to extortion and theft from untrustworthy accountants and bookkeepers. However, if you establish trust with your new bookkeeper and a healthy relationship, then you simply won’t have to worry about what they are doing behind the scenes.
How to Successfully Work with a Virtual Bookkeeping Service
If you hire a virtual bookkeeping service or employee, there are certain things to be done on your end. From basic training and expectations all the way up to consistent checkups and meetings, hiring a remote bookkeeper is not something you should take lightly. If you this is your first time working with a virtual bookkeeping service, here are some basic initial steps for you to follow.
1. Grant Online Access to Financial Data
You simply won’t be able to work with a bookkeeper if they don’t have access to your financial activity. Typically, a business will have an online server which records all transactions involving business cards and the business account. This will be one of the first things that they will need access to. As trust starts to build, you can slowly grant them more freedoms, such as the ability to send out salaries each month, pay contractors, and so on.
2. Use the Same Software and Reporting Tools
One of the first things you will need to clear up right away with your new bookkeeping service is choosing the platform the work will be completed on. For best results, even the same version of the software should be used by both parties to ensure there are no loose ends or potential problems.
3. Have Consistent Meetings and Checkups
Although most of the bookkeeping tasks will be done without any sort of communication, it is still important that you consistently communicate with your bookkeeper. As they are doing their job, they will come across many different trends and potential problems you will need to be aware of. If you are sure to have consistent meetings with your bookkeeper, you can start to establish a relationship of trust. It will also be a great way for you to check up on their work and see exactly what they are doing.
4. Establish Specific Job Requirements & Deadlines
Right upon hiring any sort of employee, one of the first things that you need to do is to establish a clear set of duties which need to get done. If you aren’t completely clear with everything that you want, it will be easy for your bookkeeper to eventually become confused and do something wrong.
5. Make Sure they Keep their End of the Bargain
Whether through having routine meetings where your virtual bookkeeper describes everything they accomplished in a certain period or simply confirming that deadlines are met with high-quality work, you need to ensure that your bookkeeper does their job right. In any case, don’t just sit back and assume that they always do things right. Check their work, compare it with your records. Until you have a trusted employee, there is nothing wrong with going out of your way to ensure they do their job right.
Virtual Bookkeeping: Summary & Major Points
Hiring any sort of virtual bookkeeping service can be a stressful experience if you are new to working with remote workers, especially given the fact that this is a job which involves sensitive financial matters. However, if you find the right person for the job, it can quickly turn into a long-term partnership based on trust. Best of all, having a remote worker is a lot less responsibility than what you would otherwise have to deal with. If you can find an employee who is qualified, experienced, and trustworthy, many of the other variables will quickly fall in line. After going through the proper steps, anybody can have a top-quality virtual bookkeeping service to back up their business finances.