Provided By Charlie Miracle, CPA at Cordell, Neher & Company, PLLC

Virtual accounting is a carefully chosen blend of professionals selected 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 setup. However, many businesses do not take the time to set their office up with the right considerations. Here are a few ways to make sure your virtual accounting office is efficient and successful.

  1. 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.  Likely, your CPA will have an implementation plan, but if you aren’t positioned to use the cloud, virtual service will be a learning curve. Make sure you have a conversation with your provider to determine appropriate technology integrations.
  2. 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 route to a billing platform, like Bill.com.
  3. Internal control. Establishing a system for the virtual approval of invoices and payments that 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.
  4. Uniform procedures. Make it simple to issue invoices and payments and require the company to follow the procedures with no exceptions!
  5. Align communication. Designate an in-house contact person for your virtual team. Since virtual people are not in the office physically, assigning a point person will ensure minimal interruption of service.
  6. Easy, not absent. Owners must review financials regularly and set up monthly or quarterly meetings with their remote accountants to make sure that everyone is on the same page. Owners will often turn away from their financials after they delegate the responsibilities. This lapse violates the first rule of ownership – always have one finger on the pulse of your bottom line.
  7. Access. If you want your virtual support group to operate with efficiency, you must be ready to give them partial access to bank accounts, credit cards, payroll, and routine vendor accounts. As part of the set-up process, you will need to define permissions for specific accounts. Take the time to discuss these selections and levels of access with your contact before your engagement begins.

Virtual accounting is a tremendous value to business owners. For most, the arrangement is a good fit, allowing them to rely on the expertise of others so they can focus on their core business. Getting off on the right foot, with the right expectations, is critical to overall success. If you are interested in getting started with remote accounting, give our office a call today and ask for Charlie or Diane 509-663-1661.

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