The virtual practice offers many advantages for accountants and bookkeepers. You can work with your clients at any hour of the day or night. Virtual accounting firms can work with any person in the country. This is an advantage if you are looking to niche down into a particular sub-industry.
Virtual practices allow you to work with more people than you. Virtual practices allow you to incorporate contractors and employees from all over the globe and seamlessly integrate them into your practice.
These benefits come with their own challenges. Marketing becomes more complicated when you try to reach prospects nationwide rather than locally. Flexible working hours can be both a blessing and a curse. It is important to strike a balance between your work and personal lives. Virtual employees can also present a challenge to many bookkeeping and accounting professionals. These challenges can be overcome and virtual practices can thrive.
Blueprint Accounting has been online since the beginning. These are some key tips that will help you on your virtual journey.
How to set up your virtual accounting firm
You must embrace the online model to succeed in virtual bookkeeping and accounting practices. You can do this by investing in basic tech tools to allow you to interact with clients, colleagues, and employees online and provide bookkeeping and accounting services virtually.
This is, in short, being “in the cloud”.
SaaS (software-as-a-service) apps allow you to log into cloud-based software from anywhere. These tools include everything you need, from an accounting platform such as FreshBooks, to communication and project management such as Slack and Karbon. You can integrate many to save time and money.
These programs are hosted on the cloud and not installed on your computer. This makes them easier to use and share remotely.
Let’s now take a look at some of the top tools for virtual accounting and bookkeeping services. These have been very useful for our all-virtual company.
How to work with clients virtually
A successful online business requires communication. Your clients, who are business owners, must keep you informed about the status of their business. You also need to get details from them promptly. Although it can be tempting to download a lot of apps, it is best for your company and your clients to concentrate on the ones that do the job.
GET THE RIGHT TOOLS FOR VIRTUAL CLIENT COMMUNICATION
We have come to rely on email and phone calls for our communications. Clients can reach us easily without needing to learn new technology. Anyone can easily set up video calls (we use Microsoft Teams but Zoom also works) and join the call from any computer or smartphone.
Online calendars that can be shared reduce the amount of back-and-forth involved in scheduling meetings. We use Microsoft Bookings because we are a Microsoft-based company. However, Calendly is another cloud-based option. It’s even easier to make it easy for people to book time with you by including the scheduling link in your email signature.
It is possible to reduce the number of meetings by communicating information more asynchronously. Loom has been a great video messaging tool for our company. It allows us to take screenshots of our faces, and it also lets us share our screens as we work through financial reports.
The client can easily email the link to the video and view it whenever they want. Even if one-on-one sessions are still necessary, most of the questions can be answered via video, which makes the meeting more efficient.
Virtual accounting is paperless. Both you and your client might prefer to keep hard copies of the documents, but you will need an online way to share them. It is easy to find the documents you need by using a secure file-sharing portal such as Liscio. A workflow app such as Pixie, which was specifically designed for small accounting firms can help you organize everything.