How to Choose the Right Virtual Bookkeeper for Your Small Business

Most small business owners are familiar with the idea of a traditional on-site bookkeeper, but could your business benefit from hiring a virtual one instead? There are many benefits to hiring a virtual bookkeeper, since you will receive all of the same services but without the limitations imposed by location and set office hours. Let’s take a look at how virtual bookkeeping can benefit your business and how to find the right online bookkeeper for you.

What is Virtual Bookkeeping?

Virtual bookkeepers handle all the same tasks as their on-site counterparts using cloud-based software. This software allows real-time collaboration from any device, offering you location and time flexibility. This means that you don’t have to schedule office visits and you get to choose from a wider range of professionals, rather than opting for the bookkeeper down the road simply because it’s more convenient to do so.

Furthermore, it’s easier to add additional virtual bookkeepers to your team as you scale up and you won’t have to worry about expanding your offices. This is ideal for fast-growing businesses whose requirements are frequently changing.

How to Choose the Right Virtual Bookkeeper

The ability to choose a bookkeeper from anywhere in the world can make the decision a little overwhelming. Wherever your chosen practitioner is based, it’s important that they demonstrate the following qualities:

1. Responsive

When hiring a virtual bookkeeper, it’s very important to make sure that they are responsive. Since you won’t have regular in-person meetings, it’s important to maintain strong lines of communication. Furthermore, many of your needs may be time-sensitive so you need a bookkeeper who is quick to respond to your queries. Whilst in many ways, the world is your oyster when hiring a virtual bookkeeper, it’s a good idea to hire one that’s in the same or a similar time zone. Make sure to ask a virtual bookkeeper about their contact hours, as well as their preferred channels of communication.

2. Timely

Fast responses aren’t the only thing you’ll need from your virtual bookkeeper. It’s important that they keep your records up to date, rather than creating a backlog of tasks. Make sure that your bookkeeper is committed to tracking your financial transactions and updating your books multiple times per week.

3. Automates Tasks

Virtual bookkeepers who use automation to process your data are likely to achieve faster and more accurate results for your business. Many bookkeepers use artificial intelligence to speed up (and perfect) tasks such as data entry, categorisation and reconciliation in order to create impeccable records in double quick time. This is good news for the financial health of your business and means you are likely to receive your month-end close more quickly, too.

4. Industry Experience

When looking for a virtual bookkeeper, it’s always a good idea to hire a specialist with relevant industry experience. This way, your virtual bookkeeper will already understand the ins, outs and particular quirks of your industry. This can save you both time and money, and reduces the onboarding period since there is no learning curve.

Summary

When hiring a virtual bookkeeper, be sure to ask plenty of questions about their working style to gain a clear picture of what working together will look like. The right virtual bookkeeper will offer your small business a flexible and cost-effective service, as well as skills and experience that are directly relevant to your industry. Furthermore, you will be able to scale the service as your business grows and expands, rather than wasting resources on an in-house hire.

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