Virtual Bookkeeping

Virtual bookkeeping means freedom and efficiency; freedom from client visits and having your tools of the trade close at hand.

If there is one thing we learned from the 2020-21 Pandemic is that effective work can be done without a commute and travel.  We all became adept at using online communication to do our job and maintain relationships.  This, of course, includes providing bookkeeping services.

So, how is it done?

First, I’m assuming you are a trained bookkeeper with accounting software.  Although QuickBooks Online (QBO) isn’t the only software to use, it is one of the better ones that can be mastered as a QuickBooks Specialist.  It permits downloading transactions from the client’s bank account directly into the software so that you don’t need to rekey much of the data.  The software is even able to assign a category to common charges and income items.

Getting the source data and backup is probably the most complicated process.  There are a few things you can do:

1)      For income, as much as possible, the process should be computerized in a fashion that you can access.  If that’s not possible, a snapshot will work.

2)      For expenses, train the owners and anyone that works with invoices/credit card charges to send you a snapshot of any documents.  These pictures can be attached to the QuickBooks charge as backup.

3)      If you will be preparing the payments to vendors, have the invoices sent to your address or emailed to you.

Once all the information is entered into the accounting software, you can print all reports into a pdf document and email them, as an attachment, with a note of their contents, concluding with an invitation to call you if the client should have any questions.

Using a document management system to exchange documents and pictures, such as eFileCabinet will reduce paper and time.

Having an in-person meeting once a quarter is a nice touch, if practical.  This will enable you to sell your services, seek any recommendations for new clients, and refresh your professional relationship.

To learn more about how to start and run a successful virtual bookkeeping business, be sure to check out Universal Accounting’s Professional Bookkeeper program as well as the Virtual Bookkeepers Roadmap.

Why is Bookkeeping Important to a Business?

The absence of bookkeeping in a business is like a road without signs because you’re likely to arrive at a different place than intended. Any large business learned the value of financial records produced by bookkeepers is crucial for proper management.

Bookkeeping is essential to every business for both financial and legal reasons. Without record keeping, it is difficult to get a business loan, and impossible to do taxes. Even more importantly, without the information that bookkeeping provides, wise decision-making is tricky and can lead to disastrous conditions.

There is a close correlation of success with those that realized the importance of bookkeeping and those that did not. Those that thought bookkeeping was an unnecessary luxury judged the success of their business by the amount of money in their bank account. Their thinking was “If I have money, I must be doing well.” That assumption, all too often, caused them to always be in the “fire-fighting” mode of management. Unfortunately, a lack of a bookkeeping system would end disastrously for the owner, with mortgages on their home, and bill-collectors hassling them. It even led to bankruptcy too many times.

Certainly, bookkeeping does not guarantee success. Nor is it all that is needed. Yet it leads us to information that can help us make well-informed decisions. Allen Bostrom, in his book “In the Black”, states “You hear a lot about the importance of making decisions based on data. What I have learned is that decisions should be based on wisdom, not necessarily data alone.” He goes on by describing the Wisdom Pyramid which is a triangular shape with “Data” at the bottom and topped by “Wisdom”. In other words, data leads to information, information leads to knowledge, and knowledge leads to wisdom.

In summary, the difference between achieving entrepreneurial dreams and disaster for a small business owner is often based on their appreciation or lack of appreciation for the information coming from a bookkeeping system.

10 Reasons to Start a Solo Bookkeeping & Tax Business

Are you thinking about starting a tax services or bookkeeping business of your own? The time is right for entrepreneurs with these kinds of skills. Here are some of the reasons an accounting-related startup makes sense.

Clients Are Plentiful
No matter what niche of the wide field of accountancy you choose to specialize in, you will not be at a loss for customers. In every kind of economy, people who can keep accurate financial records, prepare individual or commercial taxes, or offer an eclectic menu of services are in high demand. The trick is deciding where your skills lie and what you enjoy doing.

You Can Earn a Degree While Working
When you run a one-person enterprise, you make your own schedule. That means it’s much easier to earn a college degree even while working full-time. Many sole practitioners use weekends and evenings for taking online or in-person courses, and pay all the expenses with a student loan from a private lender. Tuition and fees can add up, even if you’re just needing to add an extra year of credits to sit for the CPA exam. Private lenders offer competitive rates and their online applications easy to fill out.

Business is Year-Round
Because many individuals file their returns in April every year, there’s a misconception that the entire field of accounting is highly seasonal. Nothing could be more inaccurate. For example, among entrepreneurs, most filing is a quarterly affair. Many other in-demand services are enjoying year-round demand, like bookkeeping, tax planning, preparation of financial reports, loan applications, and countless more. Even the personal taxation season is much longer than it used to be in the days when the majority of citizens waited until the last minute to transmit their returns. In the digital age, when online filing is simple and quick, and when most working adults receive W-2s electronically, the busy season for preparers now runs for nearly four full months.

You Can Specialize in Tax Resolution
For better or worse, there are thousands of individuals and businesses that are facing huge bills from the IRS. Sometimes, their best hope is to get an OIC (offer in compromise) or one of several other settlements that prevents payment of the entire amount owed. This niche of the taxation services sector is highly specialized but also quite lucrative for practitioners who want to hone in on a narrow field of operation. And because there's never a shortage who owe large sums in back taxes and penalties, accountants who do resolution work rarely have difficulty keeping their schedules full.

Adding EA and CPA Credentials Will Expand Your Clientele
If your business card carries an EA (enrolled agent) or CPA (certified public accountant) designation, clients will notice. Even though the EA designation is newer and not well-known to individuals, the letters are familiar in the world of small businesses. Having both credentials prove to prospective clients that you are adept in the wide field of accounting but have special expertise in preparing tax returns such as a Professional Tax Preparer (PTP) and/or Professional Bookkeeper (PB).

Most Entrepreneurs Avoid Taxes and Bookkeeping
Except for the occasional startup or small business owner who majored in accounting, few entrepreneurs want anything to do with filing tax returns, keeping books, or installing purpose-designed software for the job. Like legal, payroll, and security functions, most small business owners prefer to hire someone else to take care of their monthly books, maintain tax records, and handle core accounting functions. That’s one of the central reasons that accounting service providers of all kinds have done well as solo operators and small partnerships for more than a century. It’s just a fact of human nature that people who are good at sales, management, and entrepreneurship don’t want to be bothered with number crunching.

You Have Full Control
As an owner, you make all the key decisions about what kind of clients to seek out, how many hours to work, what combination of tax, bookkeeping, and other services you wish to provide. If you choose to take on a partner, that too is your decision, as is the choice of office location, what software programs to use, and what functions to outsource. Solo owners have 100 percent control of the operation, which is one of the most attractive aspects of working alone for the vast majority of people who choose to do so. As a solopreneur, you dictate who to work for and when, and what to charge.

Long-Term Industry Prospects Are Excellent
Unlike many other entrepreneurial business sectors, taxation-related services will be in high demand for many years to come. No matter which political party is in power, the constant tax law changes, amendments, and enhancements mean that the entire body of the legislative code is not static. Individuals and small business owners need professional guidance and are willing to pay for the best advice possible.

You Can Outsource Tax Season Overload
One challenge many new owners face is the deluge of work that appears from early January through mid-April. How best to handle tax season if you run a one-person shop and manage perfectly well the rest of the year? Often, the most effective approach is to hire as many temp workers as needed. Or, you can simply outsource your overload to a local firm that accepts batch jobs during the busiest months of the year. The main thing is to be prepared for several weeks of intense work and identify temps or outsource assistance before the filing wave hits.

Office Expenses Are Minimal
If this is your first foray into solopreneurship, it’s important to know that you can handle a sizeable number of clients from a bare-bones office setup. It’s fully up to you whether that means renting a small office or operating from home. In fact, for many one-person-shop bookkeepers and tax specialists, rent isn’t even close to being the primary expense. Expect to spend more, especially during the first year, on software, new computers and peripherals, and advertising. Of course, if working alone is not something you enjoy, or if you see an advantage in teaming up with a partner, consider other options besides going it alone. But, of all the business professions, accounting is perhaps the one that most readily lends itself to a solitary pursuit of profits.

Don’t wait, get started now on your journey.

How to Become a Bookkeeper: An Overview

Bookkeeping has been a critical part of our world, from the importance of record-keeping for early trading cultures along the Silk Road to helping to anthologize information throughout the Industrial Revolution and the rise of capitalism. All along the way, we have had bookkeepers manage accounts, produce reports, monitor spending, track revenue, invoice, and serve other vital organizational needs. Bookkeepers are essential.

It is important to distinguish between a bookkeeper and an accountant; bookkeepers record daily financial transactions for a business, whereas an accountant’s job is to interpret the financial transactions. As a bookkeeper, you will use software to process spreadsheets and record the entirety of the financial data.

There is a lot of appeal to becoming a bookkeeper today, especially compared to how bookkeeping has changed with the rise of technology. One of the main reasons that bookkeeping is an excellent option for a career is that you can work remotely if desired. Many companies have shifted to remote work to accommodate the global medical crisis, but there is a slim percentage of other remote full-time jobs that would provide better pay than working as a bookkeeper. Another appeal of becoming a bookkeeper is the ability to pursue a career in the world of accounting without a mandatory college education.

Education

If you’re interested in starting your career as a bookkeeper, you will need to meet some fairly typical standards for education, starting with a high school diploma or GED.  Do not be intimidated by getting your GED. No matter what your age, there are programs designed to help you succeed. Attending a university is a great experience, but most companies do not require it when hiring bookkeepers. However, an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree in business administration or accounting does allow you to work for employers who expect a higher level of education.

You need to be savvy and confident in math skills and problem-solving, have thorough attention to detail, and be highly organized to be a thriving bookkeeper. There are plenty of other options in the world of information than traditional education via a college or university as long as there is a strong will to learn. If you are particularly self-motivated, you can obtain a lot of the same information through textbooks pertinent to accounting, but the cost of this literature is usually relatively high.

The more you are willing to invest in your future career, whether monetarily or temporally, the more desirable results you will find. At Universal Accounting School, you’ll have access to personalized assistance.

Training

To become a trained and well-prepared applicant, you will want to familiarize yourself with accounting software. We offer a Professional Bookkeeping certification designed in response to the increasing demand for small business bookkeepers. Using our educational content, you can become a self-taught bookkeeper in a relatively short time, depending on your schedule and how much time you are willing to put into the process. If you are willing to invest in your future within this field, starting with our Professional Bookkeeper certification course is a step in the right direction and is compacted into a few lessons. This course is designed to take three to four months, and you will be able to start looking for work after you complete the course.

If you are eager and have taken steps to prepare yourself, entry-level bookkeeping jobs are pretty ubiquitous in our society, as businesses are everywhere, and they all require the attention of bookkeepers. Many full-time starting positions will offer a training period of up to six months to get their employees up to speed on the software they use, their clientele, and other factors that contribute to their work environment.

Work Environment

There is no better training than direct experience. Although it can be intimidating to find work in the large world of business administration and accounting, many employers are willing to train individuals who are committed to becoming successful bookkeepers. Confidence, a positive attitude, and a plethora of applications will eventually land you a position with a company.

After you are hired as a bookkeeper for the first time, you should plan to stay with a company long enough to become a professional in your field. That amount of time can look very different to different people, but typically, new bookkeepers will want to spend a few years with the same company. However, this does not mean you should continue to offer your time to an employer that does not see your potential and help you reach it.

You might want to become a freelance bookkeeper, which is a common transition for many long-term professionals. This option is appealing to many because freelancers set their own rates and schedules, and have more deeply connected relationships with their clients.

As a freelance bookkeeper, you will be setting your rates and working for multiple clients simultaneously. Clients expect a range of services, including the ability to oversee payroll, solve wage and deduction management calculations, and manage accounts receivable, loss reports, and expenditure reports, so you will need to be highly organized and well-rounded in your capabilities.

Should You Become a Bookkeeper?

If this information resonates with your goals, you should not hesitate to step on to that path, doing everything in your power to succeed. You do necessarily need to commit to higher education, and the timeline for becoming a working bookkeeper is very flexible. Review the programs we offer, then contact us to discuss how we can help you succeed.

Why Bookkeeping Courses Lead to Great Work From Home Jobs

How a Bookkeeping Course Can Enable You to Work From Home

A professional bookkeeping career can be both lucrative and rewarding, especially if you take the time to investigate available bookkeeping courses online that could empower you to be your own boss and work from home. Every business in the United States, big or small, needs an accurate and detailed set of financial books. While many companies have in-house accounting teams, other businesses may outsource their bookkeeping to professional bookkeepers, many of whom work from home.

Whether you already work as a bookkeeper or want to start a new career, the right bookkeeping courses online can streamline your career path and help you build the accounting career you’ve always wanted. If working from home sounds like an attractive way to build your bookkeeping experience, consider how online bookkeeping courses can help.

 

Why You Should Consider Bookkeeping Courses Online

Establishing yourself as a professional bookkeeper and finding employment opportunities is more difficult than you might expect without the proper qualifications. Completing typical courses at a local school while maintaining your current job can be extremely challenging, especially if you have a family. Bookkeeping classes online can make it easier to obtain the qualifications for the type of job you want to have in the future; you can complete your coursework in a matter of weeks instead of months.

Online courses from Universal Accounting are streamlined and flexible enough to fit your current schedule, but robust enough to provide with the tools and guidance to build a professional bookkeeping business you can manage from the comfort of your home. The freedom and flexibility that come with working as a professional bookkeeper from home does mean more responsibility than you typically would have at a corporate accounting department or as an in-house bookkeeper for a local business. However, Universal Accounting offers a streamlined introduction to the tools and skills you need to manage your home bookkeeping practice effectively.

Time is another critical factor for many modern accounting professionals. Bookkeeping classes online from Universal Accounting offer you the ability to complete your Professional Bookkeeper certification in weeks instead of months, further streamlining your career path and making your services more attractive to potential clients.

 

Benefits of Working From Home

Modern technology has made telecommunication more feasible than ever before for professionals in various industries. This new trend of remote work not only allows employees to enjoy more flexibility in their day-to-day work, but also provides employers with a vastly larger pool of talented individuals who can work remotely. Bookkeeping is no different, and many professional bookkeepers are opting for working from home in lieu of traditional employment with a nine-to-five schedule.

The accounting world will continue to grow and provide invaluable services to countless other industries, but the professionals working in the accounting industry will forge new career paths and develop new ways to work on their own terms. Remote work can be incredibly rewarding with the right training and guidance. If you to pursue a career in professional bookkeeping but do not relish the thought of a nine-to-five shift in an office setting, developing your own bookkeeping practice from home could be the ideal solution. Working from home as a professional bookkeeper offers several tangible benefits:

  • Flexibility in your workdays. You get to decide what days you work, how many hours each day you want to work, and when you want to take off. There’s no need to navigate paid time off rules or use up vacation time when you need a break; simply let your clients know when you’re available.
  • Freedom to be your own boss. Working in any type of corporate structure can feel oppressive at times, and micromanagement from supervisors can diminish enthusiasm and degrade the quality of any professional’s work. When you are your own boss, the responsibility of fulfilling your clients’ needs comes with the ability of completing your work on your own terms.
  • Easier work-life balance. Working from home is especially beneficial to young professionals with families and young children. You could potentially save thousands of dollars each year in childcare costs by working from home while caring for your kids.
  • Minimal overhead. All you need to run a successful bookkeeping practice out of your home office space, a comfortable place to meet with clients if you plan to have face-to-face meetings, and the ability to manage your own business finances and marketing. You won’t need to worry about interviewing, hiring, training, or payroll for additional staff until your business grows large enough to need them, and only if you want them.
  • Virtually unlimited potential to grow your practice. Do you prefer a small, easy-to-manage list of dedicated clients or do you dream of building a full-fledged accounting company of your own? Bookkeeping courses online can empower you to grow your business in almost any direction.

Flexibility and freedom are the biggest benefits to working from home in any field. Professional bookkeepers who complete the online classes available from Universal Accounting not only obtain the certifications they need to attract new business and serve their clients effectively, but also the tools necessary for attracting new clients, managing their operating expenses, and growing their practices.

 

Enhance Your Professional Bookkeeping Career With Online Courses

Universal Accounting offers a multi-module program aimed at providing students with Professional Bookkeeper certification and a full range of tools to empower them for the future. Working from home not only offers comfort and convenience for everyday work but can also become the groundwork for a successful and lucrative business in professional accounting services.

Whether you plan on building a comfortable side job for extra income or want to take your home bookkeeping business to the next level and grow your own accounting firm from the ground up, the online courses available from Universal Accounting provide you with the tools you will need for professional bookkeeping success.

Universal Accounting provides a streamlined Professional Bookkeeper course that provides you with the certification and training to attract and retain new business as well as guidance for marketing your business, managing your operating budget, and developing new techniques for handling customer issues. If you’re interested in a flexible and robust Professional Bookkeeper certification course you can take online, contact Universal Accounting today at (877) 833-7909 for more information.

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