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How to Make Your Virtual Accounting Office Efficient and Successful

  • August 8, 2019 by hamiltontharp
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Outsourced accounting services are a cocktail experience – a carefully chosen mix of professionals, curated to leverage their expertise to grow your business. Each firm does things a little differently, but there are a few fundamentals across the board.

  • Remote accountants work in sync with technology to help you do more with less.
  • Virtual accounting is a hybrid of traditional accounting and great software; in fact, virtual accounting is typically considered a software as a service (SaaS) option.
  • Remote bookkeepers use customized software, cloud-based tech, and a human touch to provide optimal solutions.

The most successful engagements begin with the right expectations and proper set up. Many businesses do not take the time to set their office up with right considerations. Here are a few ways to make sure your virtual accounting office is efficient and successful.

  • Virtual means virtual!  If you want to go remote, you will need to establish procedures for sending items (scanning, email, etc.) to the virtual office.  Snail mail is not efficient! Likely, your CPA will have an implementation plan, but if you aren’t positioned to use the cloud, virtual services will be a learning curve. Make sure you have a conversation with your provider to determine appropriate technology integrations.
  • Streamline invoices. Set up a “generic” email for the accounting department so multiple people have access. All invoices should be sent to this email, which can then be routed to a billing platform, like Bill.com.
  • Internal controls. Establishing a system for the virtual approval of invoices and payments will ensure the flow of information is accurate, on-time, and properly classified. Virtual accountants typically have at least two sets of eyes on each step and multiple levels of staff working on one account.
  • Uniform procedures. Make it simple to issue invoices and payments and require the company to follow the procedures with no exceptions!
  • Align communications. Designate an in-house contact person for your virtual team. Without someone in the office physically, assigning a point person will ensure minimal interruption of service.
  • Easy, not absent. Owners must review financials on a regular basis and set up monthly or quarterly meetings with their remote accountants to make sure that everyone is on the same page. Owners have a tendency to turn away from their financials when they think it is all taken care of. This lapse violates the first rule of ownership – always have one finger on the pulse of your bottom line!
  • Accessible Accounts. To be efficient, your virtual office is going to need partial access to bank accounts, credit cards, payroll and routine vendor accounts. Access to view these accounts online should not come as a surprise. After all, how else can your virtual accountant keep track of your income and expenses and reconcile the books each month without it? It is crucial that you take the time to set account permissions correctly. Full access to authorize transactions is not necessary. Providing access to these accounts will allow you to have a much more efficient (and less costly) accounting team!

Regardless of your industry, size or stage of growth, outsourcing accounting services can be a tremendous advantage to your business. When the arrangement is a good fit, it allows business owners to operate more effectively. Starting off on the right foot, with the right expectations is critical to overall success. Our experienced CPAs and consultants can help you get started working with a virtual accounting office. Call us today.

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