Virtual Bookkeeping Assistant for Your Business - How to Hire and Why

There are two certainties in life: death and taxes. While you can’t do much about the former, there’s a lot you can do about the latter. But high-quality bookkeeping is about more than taxes. It’s about the everyday flow of your business.

The problem: you’re too busy growing the business to always handle bookkeeping yourself. You need outside help.

Enter virtual bookkeeping services. By working with a virtual bookkeeper—defined simply as someone who helps keep your books from a remote location—you can streamline various portions of your daily routine. 

You don’t have to be beholden to a daily routine of invoicing, monitoring accounts receivable, and other repetitive bookkeeping tasks that keep you away from your most important work. If you can find a skilled professional to take on these tasks, you can build a more efficient business. 

That said, you don’t want to turn over your online accounting to just anybody. You won’t streamline your financial reports and improve your balance sheet if you hire the first virtual bookkeeping service you find. Here’s a guide to finding the right virtual service to match your industry:

Here’s What You Can Do with a Virtual Bookkeeping Service

Virtual bookkeeping services have never been more in demand. These days, 58% of large companies use cloud accounting. With cloud accounting, it’s possible to bring in a virtual bookkeeping service with minimal onboarding required. That means you can simply create an account, allow your virtual bookkeeper to log in, and you’re ready to outsource countless bookkeeping tasks.

Here are some of the amazing things you can do if you use cloud accounting:

  • Get help with your accounting software. Admit it. As much as you’d like to think you have everything wrapped up neatly inside some great accounting software, that software isn’t always as intuitive as it could be. Sometimes, it’s downright confusing. Having a virtual bookkeeping service helps you understand your way around QuickBooks and other accounting software so you don’t have to wonder if you’re doing it right. 
  • Get cash flow reports. You’re in charge of your business. But how much control do you have if you don’t know your own cash flow? If you want your virtual bookkeeping service to provide you with regular reports—such as cash flow reports, invoicing updates, even credit card usage monitoring—you can route that through a virtual bookkeeping service.  
  • Outsource your payroll services. Cloud accounting makes payroll management easier than ever. Having a virtual bookkeeper keep tabs on your most important data means you don’t constantly have to measure your payroll services. A virtual bookkeeper can also generate reports on what you can expect in terms of the payroll tax, giving you more accurate measurements of where your company stands.
  • Outsource data entry. Have a lot of expense receipts that you’d like to get into the system? Need to fill out an Intuit table, or prepare for tax filing? Need to do bank reconciliations that require poring through absurd amounts of data? You don’t have to do all the data entry yourself; outsource it.
  • Monitoring financial transactions. Your financial transactions are the lifeblood of your business. They not only determine your overall financial data, but they paint a picture of what your company’s doing every day. You can keep a bookkeeper’s eye on financial transactions while you focus on productive work.

How to Incorporate Online Bookkeeping Services into Your Business Routine

You may already be familiar with how accounting software works; over 64% of small businesses use some version of accounting software already.

Incorporating a virtual assistant with accounting and bookkeeping experience might seem as easy as adding them to your software and telling them to go to town. But before you kick off that process, try to consider the ways that virtual bookkeepers work best:

  • Bring financial data into single reports. An easy time-saver: let the bookkeeper bring together your data and bring multiple variables into a single report. This will keep you abreast of the latest developments at your company with minimal interruption to your daily schedule.
  • Ask for assistance with tax preparation. Tax preparation is an important part of doing business, and it’s not only one season. You’ll have to file quarterly estimated taxes. Your virtual bookkeeping service can help you understand how much money needs to be set aside for these payments.
  • Keep up to date on the latest developments. We recommend working with a virtual bookkeeper with the same home country as you—or at least expertise in that country. You’ll want a virtual bookkeeper well versed in the tax laws of the United States if that’s where you pay your taxes.
  • Outsource your most basic accounting services. Sick of handling invoicing yourself? Or approving expense reports? These are tasks that you can outsource immediately.

Why bother? As it turns out, outsourcing to a bookkeeping service will do more than free our time.

The Benefits of Working with a Virtual Bookkeeper

The idea is simple: move some of these key bookkeeping tasks to a virtual accounting service and you’ll be free to focus on work. But if you’re still on the fence on hiring someone to take on your accounting tasks, consider that there may be more benefits than you realized.

Male Virtual Assistant

For starters, you might save a tremendous amount of money. According to Best of Budgets, some virtual assistants can save up to 78% of operating costs per year. That’s not factoring in the potential for money-saving opportunities that come with an experienced bookkeeper overseeing your expenses, income, and taxes. With a truly skilled bookkeeper, you may be able to identify key areas of spending that you can immediately cut back on.

You’ll also notice that there are other intangible benefits for hiring someone to stay on top of your numbers. 30% of small businesses view their accountants as their most trusted advisors. Having an extra set of eyes looking over your expenses is an invaluable way to evaluate where your money flows every month.

There’s also the intangible issue of saved time. Best of Budgets notes that many employees only perform up to three hours of truly productive work per day. But hiring a virtual bookkeeping service can ensure that you’re paying only for the work you need. Rather than onboard an entire accosting department, virtual accountants can stay true to your budget.

Saving time is great, but keep in mind that a virtual bookkeeping assistant will have unique skills that you may not have yourself. They can identify errors in your bookkeeping, help prevent problems from developing, and give you a more streamlined way to conduct your business—often in ways you never would have seen by handling your bookkeeping yourself.

How to Get Started With Your Own Virtual Accounting Service

Business owners might be reticent about the process of outsourcing something as important as their financials to someone else. But as it turns out, the process is simple, safe, and secure. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Sign up! Register with Delegated to gain access to experienced virtual bookkeepers, even if it’s just to pique your curiosity and poke around. You’ll be amazed at the qualifications of the bookkeepers and their experience in handling this kind of work for small businesses like yours.
  2. Communicate with our customer success manager. We don’t want to leave you hanging. You won’t simply sign up and figure it out yourself. Our customer success manager will step in and tell you exactly how you can match with the appropriate virtual bookkeeper you need.
  3. Select your virtual bookkeeper. Browsing Delegated’s list of highly-skilled, local virtual assistants, you’ll be able to pick out someone whose individual experience suits your precise needs. 
  4. Onboard your bookkeeper. If you use cloud accounting software—as more and more businesses do—then it won’t be difficult to get your virtual bookkeeper up and running. But you should focus on the specific tasks you’d like to delegate to them and create an onboarding document that explains exactly what you need.

Interested in working with a virtual bookkeeper so you can focus on running your business? Sign up for your first month today.

Get Started with Our Virtual Bookkeeping Service

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FAQ for Virtual Bookkeeping Services

With something as important as bookkeeping, it’s only natural that you’re going to have questions. That’s why we’ve taken some of the most popular questions about working with a virtual accounting assistant to help clarify the process:

What types of businesses are ideal for virtual bookkeepers?

If you file taxes—and we sure hope you do—then you’re a candidate for a virtual bookkeeper. Any business needs to get a hold of its finances, and any small business owner who no longer has the time to keep the books needs to think about outsourcing this vital part of their business. 
If you own a growing business—or even if you’re a self-employed freelancer or contractor—keeping your books in order is an essential part of that growth. A virtual bookkeeper goes beyond simply delegation and enhances your bookkeeping with their specific accounting skills.

What’s the difference between a virtual bookkeeper and having my own accountant in-house?

There are two key differences here. First, a virtual bookkeeper will be able to work remotely, which means that you’ll be able to contact them via phone or email. In specific circumstances, you may reach out to Delegated for supplementary services if your primary assistant isn’t available. An in-house accountant that you hire specifically to handle your books is going to be physically present.
The second difference is that an in-house accountant will likely be far more expensive. A full-time accountant will require job benefits, a full-time salary, and access. For a virtual bookkeeper, you’ll only pay them for the hours they work.

What limits does a virtual bookkeeper have?

In the digital age—the age of cloud accounting software—there’s very little an experienced virtual bookkeeper can’t do for you. They’ll be limited by physical presence, so that means they can’t come in and meet with you face-to-face. But most of the business of keeping the books can be done online these days, and many businesses run their bookkeeping 100% online. As long as the numbers are there, a virtual bookkeeper can review them.

I know nothing about bookkeeping. How will I know which virtual bookkeeper to hire?

It always helps to find a bookkeeper with specific experience in your field, but it’s not necessary. We understand that choosing a bookkeeper to hire can be a unique challenge, which is why we’ll assign a customer success manager to help you when you’re in the selection phase. They’ll help guide you and will answer your questions about hiring a virtual accounting assistant, even if this is your first time.

What if I have a bookkeeping emergency?

At Delegated, we provide contingencies if your primary assistant isn’t available on a certain day. This will give you the peace of mind that even if your assistant isn’t available on a deadline, you’ll still have someone to whom you can turn with your bookkeeping questions. But with Delegate’s dedicated staff, you’ll usually have someone available during U.S. business hours who can help.