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.
As an accountant, you know the importance of setting a budget and sticking to it. Starting your own accounting business will require a disciplined adherence to a budget, and one of the things you need to fit into that budget is branding. Your company’s brand is best described as how your customers feel when they think about your company. No matter what type of brand you’re going for, branding your company is the way you shape how those customers feel. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re branding your new accounting company while staying within a budget.
First, the Name
Your new company has to have a good name that’s easy to say and remember and gives a potential customer an idea of what you’re all about. Many accounting firms just take on the names of their owners, and that’s an acceptable practice; it’s a sign of credibility in the industry and gives you some legitimacy. However, consider coming up with a different name that includes one of these keywords relating to accounting:
These words will help your online branding by helping your business rank higher on SEO, especially if you can find a way to include one or more of them in your company name.
Create Your Logo
Your logo is an integral part of your brand. If you’ve branded correctly, seeing your logo should make your customers feel certain emotions, often without them even realizing it. Accountants usually have a professional type of logo; luckily, LogoCreator.io has a variety of templates for almost every industry, so you can make your very own logo without being too outlandish or unusual for the rest of the industry. People like to see some uniqueness, but you still want them to realize that you’re an accounting firm.
Part of creating your logo is determining your company’s color scheme, another important factor that will help guide any promotional items you might have made to distribute, your website design, or even the interior of your offices. You don’t have to spend money in this step, but it is important to consider what colors you want people to associate with your company. Certain colors are also more or less associated with certain emotions; you can find out more about that here.
Keep Your Marketing On Brand
Now that you have a name and a logo, you can start marketing your company. You will probably want to consider getting on at least a couple of social media platforms, and you might even consider starting a blog on various accounting topics. You have expertise that other people are looking for, and especially in this field, starting a blog can help build your reputation as an expert accountant. Blogs also give you a good amount of content to share on your social media profile, which helps drive traffic to your site. If people in your area are already used to visiting your site for valuable information, that makes them that much more likely to seek out your services too.
However, remember that your content and marketing should be on-brand. This means you need to find a voice and tone for your posts, one that doesn’t clash with what you want your business known for. If you need help figuring out a good voice for your branding, you can find some helpful information at Column Five Media.
Branding really involves getting people to feel a certain way when they hear about or see your business. It’s the face of your company, and it should be something you put some thought and effort into. Branding your accounting business on a budget isn’t difficult; it just takes some thought and planning to get right.
Needed across industries and sectors of the economy, accountants play vital roles in maintaining the financial success of any endeavor. In the not-for-profit world, accountants take on the job of securing resources and reducing operating costs to help task-driven organizations achieve more good in the world.
Many accountants likely see this as a good enough reason to pursue accounting as a career. Through managing nonprofit budgets and expenditures, an accountant can indirectly serve individuals and communities in need. Even ministers have switched careers to capitalize on the amount of good they could achieve through accounting.
But not-for-profit work isn’t the same as traditional accounting work. While many of the same skills apply, accountants in the nonprofit world must hone a unique set of talents. Here’s what you should know.
How Non-Profit Accounting Differs
Many accountants making the transition from work in the for-profit world face a steep learning curve when starting with a non-profit. These economic sectors differ, composed, and driven by different goals and overall missions. While for-profit companies will be more focused on bottom lines, not-for-profits look more at their overall goals and the ways they are using their resources.
Accountants in this new environment must be clear on these differences and explore how alternative goals affect accounting work in general. For instance, for-profit entities operate using an often singular ledger system that details revenues and expenditures in a self-balancing account. Not-for-profits, on the other hand, operate with a series of resources and ledgers that must be balanced for ideal application.
In conducting this work, there are all kinds of varying terms and practices for accountants to learn. For example, retained earnings become net assets and a net income means an excess of revenues. Rather than an income statement, non-profit accountants create a statement of operations.
While these differences may seem primarily semantic, they represent the different goals and practices that drive non-profits versus for-profit businesses. With a non-profit, you don’t want money left over: you want an organization that is doing the most with what it has.
That said, there are many useful skills that a not-for-profit accountant can hone to bring greater success to their organization.
Invaluable Skillsets for Not-for-Profit Accountants
First, while accountants can certainly specialize in non-profit work from their undergraduate program onward, any professional with an accounting degree can translate their skills into success with a not-for-profit organization.
Then, it is simply a matter of learning the differences and finding methods to improve the flow of finances and resources towards non-profit goals. Aside from being adept at navigating the nuances of tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(3) organization, not-for-profit accountants require skills like the following:
Excellent Organizational Abilities
For an accountant, the ability to manage a ledger system complete with all its fluctuating account details is a must. For non-profits, however, the impetus for an ideal organization is even stronger. Nonprofits depend on efficiently maintained records to prove their tax-exempt status and be able to highlight processes for investors and stakeholders.
Auditing experience is a highly desirable trait of a non-profit accountant as a result. With the ability to organize and review records to prove compliance with investor and governmental requirements, accountants can keep a non-profit smoothly functioning.
Effective Management of Tight Budgets
The majority of not-for-profit organizations operate with budgets of less than $1 million. Because of this, accountants in the industry need to keep a sharp eye out for any place they can reduce operational costs while also guaranteeing that donor and grant money goes where it needs to go.
Non-profits are often limited by money given with specific donor restrictions. It is the job of the accountant to ensure that these restrictions are being met and reported within financial documentation. This takes attention to detail and great problem-solving skills.
One of the most important qualities for any accountant is the ability to communicate financial information. This is even more important in the not-for-profit sector, where donors want specific things and your organization has a mission to fulfill.
Honing your communication skills can be one of the best ways to excel as a non-profit accountant. This takes empathy and clarity, as well as a willingness to be open to questions and concerns. Any member of your organization should be able to come to you with a question and come away with a clear explanation. Teammates should also be able to contribute with useful feedback and clarify practices wherever necessary.
Implementing these ideal skills into your own toolset can be a great way to maximize the potential of your not-for-profit. If you’re just getting started in the non-profit sector, demonstrating these skills can help get your foot in the door.
Improving your Status as a Non-Profit Accountant
Getting started as a non-profit accountant requires proper networking and professional qualities. While improving your skills, you can adapt your work and academic experience to write a great accounting resume. In turn, you’ll be able to improve your status as a non-profit accountant and land work with your dream organization.
Your ability to do so, however, will come down to how well you showcase your skills on your resume. Highlight your soft skills like listening and communicating effectively alongside harder skills like experience with certain accounting software. Translate relevant job experience into applicable traits for non-profit work, or express a willingness to learn and adapt.
Not-for-profits need skilled and attentive accountants to streamline the effectiveness of their resources. Demonstrating effective organization, budget management, and communication skills can help you get in the door with the non-profit of your choice.
Then, hone these skills to ensure that your organization does the most good that it is capable of doing. By implementing skillsets and strategies like these, accountants can make a real difference in the world.
Lastly, become a certified Professional Bookkeeper that is both trained and certified in both For-Profit & Non-Profit accounting.
From Learning to Earning in just a few weeks: You get the Bookkeeping, Accounting, QuickBooks, and business development skills with expert support to get the position, pay increase you deserve quickly.
Become a Successful Certified Accounting & Bookkeeping ProfessionalThe Professional BookkeeperTM Certification from Universal Accounting is a unique program, developed specifically for aspiring small business owners. You can complete the entire program from the comfort of your own home and gain the knowledge to get your Bookkeeping and Accounting business off the ground in a matter of weeks.
Delivered through rich and engaging training videos you can view again and again on your own schedule, this flexible program includes hands-on instruction and practice sets to give you the real-world skills you need to advance your career.
Double entry accounting systems for small business
Quickbooks & other tax/bookkeeping software
Specialized accounting for 11 different industries
How to price your services – Maximize income & keep your clients happy
12 proven marketing strategies – Grow your business in a way that’s fun, easy and natural
Successful Accountants do more than report on the past, they help to shape their employer’s future. After completing this program you’ll have the skills to help other small business owners gain control of their finances and take operations to the next level.
We Make It Easy
We also show you how you can successfully work from home. You don’t even have to leave your present job. You can work part-time until you have sufficient income to tell your boss goodbye.
We will customize a program for you based on your career goals, experience level, and budget. Go from learning to earning in a matter of weeks.
Be in business FOR yourself, but not BY yourself
As a member of the Universal Accounting community, you’ll have access to ongoing support. Whether it’s an accounting issue or strategizing about how to attract more clients, you’ll be able to consult with experienced industry experts.
Get Trained. Get Certified. Get Clients.
If you’ve been thinking about that position or promotion you deserve, this course can multiply and accelerate your success and pay for itself from your very first pay increase. In fact, you can get started for as little as $199.
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For more information on the Professional BookkeeperTM Certification Program, and to explore whether home learning with Universal Accounting is right for you, fill out the form on this page. You’ll receive a free introductory video about the benefits and methods of moving your career forward in accounting & bookkeeping.
As students of Universal Accounting Center, UAC, complete their studies and are certified in their areas of interest it is only natural to then have them join associations such as ICB, AASBC, and IPBC that allow them to build additional relationships with peers and stay engaged in the accounting profession. So what is the natural progression that a student may experience:
Specialized Training – often after years of experience doing accounting at various levels and perhaps some schooling such as earning degrees many find value certifying their skills or specializing in the accounting profession. Many choose to expand their employment options as well as start or build their accounting practice earning specific designations such as becoming a:
The VB designation shows that you understand the 8 drivers that determine the worth of a business and know how to work with a client to develop them within the company to build value that can be used to lines of credit, to generate capital or to ultimately merge or sell and get the most value of the business.
Completing and earning the related certifications to the training.
Applying their learning’s
Employment – taking advantage of Universal Accounting’s Job Placement Assistance Program
Getting the promotion or pay increase they deserve after demonstrating their commitment to the accounting profession
Roger Knecht, Universal’s President says, “IPBC and UAC agree that bookkeeping is more than a job or career but a profession that needs to be recognized as such. With proper training, support and experience, bookkeepers can have a profitable impact in any business.”
“Within the United States there is a need for a bookkeeping community that helps bookkeepers rise to a new level of professionalism and gain respect within the accounting line of work and ICB USA is the organization to do just that” said Roger Knecht, president of UAC.
Joining ICB means becoming a member of the largest community of bookkeepers in the world, which has registered over 150,000 students and members in over 110 countries. Membership means being able to contribute to ICB’s voice as we champion the bookkeeping profession to the accounting firms and software companies, small businesses, and relevant governmental organizations of the USA.
Being a member of ICB also demonstrates a commitment to continued learning and professional development, along with independent, internationally recognized certification. Members will be able to use ICB’s own internationally recognized crest as a stamp of approval. ICB sets a benchmark for the bookkeeping profession to live up to in the various countries in which it has been established.
Joining now as an early member means being able to play a part in shaping ICB’s aims and activities here in the US as we focus on our motto of ‘local focus; national accreditation; global recognition.’ ICB encourages and facilitates networking with other bookkeepers, small businesses and accountants, and keeping up to date with industry knowledge, and provides access to regular CPE opportunities through educational webinars and articles.
Comments from our 2015 members feedback (UK) survey:
“I love the ICB they are like an extended family”
“ICB is a great support”
“Keep up the good work!”
“Proud to be a MICB” (Member Level of ICB)
“I have found the whole experience (of being an ICB member) excellent”
“(ICB does) a brilliant job”
95% of students and members who responded to the survey would recommend us to someone thinking of joining. Most commonly reported benefits of membership include a ‘feeling of community’ and a ‘boost in confidence’ among students, and ‘keeping up to date with the industry’ for long-time members.
For this and other reasons Universal Accounting Center (UAC), an accounting school for small business professionals announced their partnership with the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) as they launch their association in the United States.
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