As the owner of a small or growing business, we know that you’re always concerned about ways to make the operation run more efficiently. It’s frustrating, we know. There’s so much that you need to do in order to develop your business - bringing in new clients, developing your product offerings and your brand, and so on. But at the same time, the more you grow, the bigger your administrative responsibilities become. So it makes sense to outsource as much as you can of tasks that don’t fall under your core competencies. Virtual accounting continues to grow in popularity as a solution which will get some of that work off of your plate, and free up your time for more valuable uses.
If you’re already convinced or at least interested in the idea, you’re going to need to choose a virtual accounting firm to handle your books. There are more than just a few of them out there, and since the work is done remotely, you don’t need to limit your search to local firms. Here are a few points to consider when you’re trying to identify a virtual accountant:
Size of their staff
Generally speaking, you’ll only need one person at a time working on your books. But one of the real advantages of a virtual accounting firm is that you have access to a whole team of skilled professionals on your accounts. This will ensure that if additional support is needed (in busy seasons, or if you hit a rapid growth phase) there will be sufficient resources to grow with your company. You’ll also want to have some level of comfort that there’s always backup available if someone assigned to your books is out sick or goes on vacation.
Their experience with clients in your field
We like to think that it doesn’t matter what your business is to us as accountants. Dollars are dollars, whether you make them selling software or doing landscaping, and our work as a virtual accounting firm is the same, in most cases. However, we all know that every type of business, be it a restaurant, a law firm, or something else, has its own unique qualities and subtleties. Working with accountants that are familiar with your industry and its nuances is certainly going to make things easier.
What services they offer
Virtual accounting is a rather broad field, so you’ll want to make sure that the firm you contract can provide all the services that you need. Most will offer bookkeeping services. Find out if there are higher-level accountants on staff, or whether you’ll still need to retain an accountant for matters of planning. Will they produce your financial statements? Do they offer payroll and other HR services as well?
Get some references.
This should be part of the decision-making process when you hire anyone for almost any type of service, but it bears mentioning in this case. It’s easy to put up an impressive website and make great promises, but ultimately, you need to know whether they deliver. A virtual accounting firm (or any services provider, for that matter) should be happy to give you references from satisfied clients for whom they’ve worked successfully.