About 60% of small business owners think that they don’t have the knowledge or expertise when it comes to finance and accounting.

It’s no wonder why most businesses fail because of cash management issues. Small business owners tend to manage the books themselves, but they don’t have the expertise to do it well.

That leaves many businesses chasing money from one month to the next. That’s no way to run a business.

The solution is to find the best online bookkeeping services and hand bookkeeping over to them. What should you look for in a virtual bookkeeping service?

Read on to find out the benefits of bookkeeping services and how to find an online bookkeeper.  

1. Understand What a Bookkeeper Does

What is a bookkeeper? A bookkeeper handles your day-to-day financial management. They enter and send invoices, collect funds and apply them to the correct accounts.

They also print reports and keep your books clean so you can hand them off to a CPA during tax season.

Online bookkeeping is the same as virtual bookkeeping services. They typically work in a small office or from home and handle several clients at the same time.

They operate in the same way that in-person bookkeepers do. Instead of dropping off a box of receipts, you send them remotely to your bookkeeper.

Bookkeeper vs. Accountant

The biggest source of confusion for small business owners is understanding the differences between accountants and bookkeepers.

Accountants have a degree in accounting, and many are Certified Public Accountants. Bookkeepers aren’t required to get certified or go to school in business finance.

You usually think of accountants as the people who do taxes. They can also help you make financial decisions. They look at the information the bookkeeper provides and can help you decide when to hire a new employee or cut operation expenses.

As you assess your needs, you need to examine the roles of a bookkeeper vs. accountant. You might want to work with an accountant that also handles bookkeeping tasks to keep everything in one place.

2. Types of Bookkeeping Services

Bookkeepers offer a broad range of services. There are bookkeepers that just handle data entry. Some make collections calls and send invoices.

Bookkeepers also handle payroll for clients. Not all bookkeepers offer the same suite of services. You have to know what your bookkeeping needs are and make sure the virtual bookkeeper offers those services.

3. Experience and Certifications

A bookkeeper doesn’t have to be certified, but it does give you confidence that they take their work seriously. Ask your bookkeeper if they are certified.

If they’re not, don’t let that be a dealbreaker. Ask them about their experience. If they’ve been working as a bookkeeper for years, it’s a sign that they know what they’re doing.

Other areas of experience are industry and software experience. It’s best to have someone familiar with your industry working.

You should also know if your bookkeeper works with your accounting software. If you don’t have accounting software, ask the bookkeeper if they can set up a system for you.

4. Accessibility

You can’t drop in on your online bookkeeper like you would with an in-person bookkeeper. However, your virtual bookkeeping service should be accessible.         

You want to know how to communicate with your online bookkeeper, the hours they keep, and how to connect with them.

Some have firm boundaries about email communications and text messages. Others have used Slack or another messaging service to communicate with clients.

5. Data Security

Cyberattacks affect every business. Since you’re working with virtual bookkeeping services, you have to keep your data secure.

Your bookkeeping service has to take data security seriously. Ask the service provider about their data security methods.

You can also ask them about data backups to make sure that you don’t lose data if a cyberattack happens.

6. Bookkeeping Management Process

Every bookkeeping service has its own way of working with customers. Compatibility with your own way of doing things helps you and your bookkeeper.

Ask your bookkeeper about how to provide receipts and financial documentation. Ask them if they provide reports and when. The more you understand their process, the easier your working relationship will be.

7. Customer Reviews and Results

You want to know what others have experienced with virtual bookkeeping services before you hire them. Look online for customer reviews.

Better still, ask prospective bookkeepers for client references. You can contact the clients and ask them about working with the bookkeeper.

Why are you looking for the best online bookkeeper? If you’re like most business owners, you want to save time. You might want to hire an online bookkeeper to save money or deliver an ROI.

Whatever your reasons are, you should determine what they are so you can measure your success. This prevents you from looking at the bookkeeping expense each month and wonder why you’re spending the money.

It also makes your bookkeeper accountable. If you hire them to save time, but you find that you’re still very hands-on, you have to look at the relationship.  

Find the Best Online Bookkeeping Services

Financial management isn’t the reason why you got into business. You started a business to do what you do best and help your customers.

It’s hard to do when you’re always stressed about your finances. Hiring the best online bookkeeping services is an affordable way to save time and have someone else manage your finances. The tips in this article tell you exactly what to look for in virtual bookkeeping services.

Are you ready for more helpful tips to manage your business? Check out the other business articles on this site today!

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