Virtual bookkeepers are becoming a very popular option for small businesses.
They are able to:
And most importantly, they can do practically any virtual bookkeeping jobs from home.
When you’re tired of putting in the long hours to manage the books of your business, maybe it’s time to hire a bookkeeper. But how can you integrate a virtual bookkeeper into your workplace? How do you get them to comprehend how your business operates and how every dollar and dime is organized? How do you even know where to begin?
Below are five easy steps to integrating a virtual bookkeeper into your workforce.
If you think you’ve found ‘the one’ virtual bookkeeper to take over the day-to-day budgets and finances of your business, it’s time to meet and greet to make sure!
It can often be difficult to gauge the essence of a person through email or text. This is why a meet and greet is very important. If possible, try to meet your new virtual bookkeeper in person. Not all virtual bookkeepers are in other countries, some may simply live a short drive away from your location. If it’s possible to introduce yourself in person, it’s a great first step.
Other options can include Skype video calls or even by phone. It’s during this meeting that you can essentially know whether they fit into your business and do what’s best for it.
A meet and greet session is also a good opportunity to find out your new virtual bookkeeper’s weaknesses and strengths. This can help you keep an eye on their work, at least initially, to be sure it’s up to your standards. This is not to say it won’t be, but when you’re aware of their weaknesses, you can at least double-check information where necessary.
After the meet and greet, the real work begins. Your second meeting (which can be done over Google Hangouts, Skype, or other apps) should include a job outline about what is expected of them while they work for you.
It should also include any tasks, goals, guidelines or base information needed to complete their day-to-day tasks. The majority of bookkeeping virtual assistants are hired part-time, but some work full-time. Clarify the hours they are expected to work.
It’s during this meeting that you should also discuss:
There are many accounting software options available for both you and your bookkeeper. The key is to operate using the same software.
Options could include:
There are many other desktop or cloud-based options. Choose the one which best suits your needs as the business owner. Although both are convenient options, cloud-based accounting software is the better choice for virtual bookkeepers. Cloud-based options simply require an invite to be sent to another user of the same program in order to see the data. Desktop-based accounting software, however, requires the user to send all files associated with the programme via email, Dropbox, other file share programs or even by courier. If you need to avoid delays with transporting data, definitely opt for cloud-based programs.
Once both you and your new virtual bookkeeper have established the means of communication and data transfer, it’s time to get started. By now, your new staff member should know exactly what virtual bookkeeping services are required of them. You can then carry on with your working day, sending all relevant financial data at the end of the day or week. Make sure you maintain regular contact with your virtual bookkeeper in order to receive updates on their progress. Keep the lines of communication open. Once data is processed, you should then receive financial reports outlining all work that are completed as well as what it all means for you.
Even though you may have complete faith and trust in your virtual bookkeeper, it still pays to be constantly in check. This is to accommodate any concerns, ideas and information to be put on the table and have to be worked out between the employer and the employee. It’s also a good opportunity to go through the tasks assigned for that period and whether they were achieved. If they weren’t, find out why and adjust the next task accordingly.
Largely though, the purpose of the meeting is to discuss the previous period’s bookkeeping activities and what the financial situation forecasts for the months going forward. As a business owner, you need to be kept in the loop about what your financial position is, and what could be altered for next time.
It may also be a good idea to time these meetings with end-of-month tasks and quarterly tasks in order to make sure you both have clear ideas and expectations. With any business, end-of-month financial reporting and invoicing is a crucial time and you need to make sure your bookkeeper is up to the task.
Virtual bookkeeping works for so many small businesses – especially those which don’t have the desk space or budget for a full time in-house accounts staff member. Although it can seem like a logistical nightmare in the beginning, once you have established a good working relationship and routine, the rest will fall into place.
Have you hired a virtual bookkeeper? How did you integrate them into your workplace? We’d love to hear from you!