Virtual bookkeeping is a hot topic as of late. As businesses try to find ways to keep costs low and maximize efficiencies at every turn, they may be considering business functions that could be outsourced, such as bookkeeping and other accounting-related tasks. A recent report put out by KPMG showed that:
- 59% of U.S. businesses use outsourcing to reduce expenses.
- 65% of U.S. businesses say they plan to increase their outsourcing efforts in the future.
- 78% of U.S. businesses say they feel positive about their relationship with outsourcing partners.
With over half of all businesses tapping into the advantages of outsourcing, the question for businesses grappling with the demands of keeping up with bookkeeping functions remain. Can I outsource my bookkeeping? The answer is (perhaps obviously) yes! This guide will help you understand the benefits and provide some real-world tips for getting off to a strong start with virtual bookkeeping.
Your Quick Guide To Virtual Bookkeeping
Weighing the pros and cons – This is the logical first step to assessing whether virtual bookkeeping is the right next step for your business. Let’s unpack the case for and the case against outsourcing your books.
Advantages of Virtual Bookkeeping:
- Overhead – At the tops of any case being made for outsourcing of any kind is related to overhead. By outsourcing your bookkeeping, you’ll save on overhead associated with having a full-time employee. These variable expenses can be some of the highest for any business, including sick leave pay, payroll taxes, recruitment and training costs, employee benefits as well as office space and equipment.
- Less Time Managing – Full-time employees come with variable costs, but they also require time in management, training and, in some cases, the costs associated with frequent turnover.
- Technical Expertise – Your in-house bookkeeping team may not have the needed skills to use your accounting software to its fullest capability. From backups to troubleshooting problems to upgrades and maintenance, your knowledgeable virtual bookkeeper will have the resources to help relieve you of these technical challenges.
- Pay Only For What You Need – Your virtual bookkeeping needs may not require a large commitment, especially for small businesses. You may be able to opt for a small package that fits your budget, fits your bookkeeping needs and has room to grow as your company scales.
- Less Risk Of Falling Behind – Your virtual bookkeeping, if you choose a quality company, will not get bogged down with other tasks and will keep your books up to date. An added benefit of this for the business owner is that he or she can peer into the company financials at any time with confidence, gaining clear insights into performance.
- Complete Compliance – Rules and regulations change frequently. From local requirements to federal tax changes, your virtual bookkeeping source has their eyes on the ball to help you stay in complete compliance as things change as well as helping you to reduce your tax liabilities whenever possible.
Cons of Virtual Bookkeeping
- Offsite logistics – You’ll need to develop a workflow with your virtual bookkeeping service that works remotely. There are countless tools available to make this seamless, although some setup may be required.
- Weakened Data Security – Whenever you allow an outside party into your business systems, it should not be done so lightly. Of course, with proper safeguards in place, you can feel confident in providing access to your outsourced bookkeeper.
- Lack of Industry Experience – Your virtual bookkeeping service may lack industry knowledge and experience. While you can likely mitigate against this with training and communication, it may come with a slight learning curve.
Choosing The Right Outsourced Bookkeeper
Now that you’ve weighed the pros and cons of virtual bookkeeping, your next logical consideration is how to find the right one for your business. While budgets are always in the decision matrix, be sure to weigh out quality and service considerations as well, such as:
- Years in business
- Technical expertise and systems in place
- Client review and testimonials
- Accessibility of the team for questions
- Hidden fees in the pricing contract
- Ability to grow with your business
- Unique experience related to your business
- Certifications, trainings, and credentials
Setting Up A Strong Relationship
Once you’ve found the right virtual bookkeeping service for your business, it’s time to build a strong relationship. Here are some tips that can help get things off to a strong start:
- Assign a point person, so the virtual bookkeeper has one point of contact for questions.
- Provide access to systems and processes so they can do their work.
- Offer comprehensive training to get them up to speed.
- Set up routine reviews to ensure things are working properly.
If you’re the owner of a growing business who needs bookkeeping support but is not ready to commit to an in-house, full-time bookkeeper, virtual bookkeeping might be the perfect solution for you. Agile Planners specializes in assisting businesses with their bookkeeping needs on an outsourced basis. The Agile Planners team is made up of customer-centric professionals with the certification and applied experience to support your business objectives. Enlist our services to free up resources, gain better insights into your business, and improve your bottom line.