So much of accountants’ work is digital these days, from using software to file tax returns to communicating with clients online. 

The rollout of Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT, and the upcoming implementation of MTD for income tax self-assessment, have brought more clients’ records into a digital format and more processes into online accounting software. 

For some accounting firms, especially those that didn’t previously have an online accounting solution in place, this has felt like something of a chore – having to adjust to an entirely new system and bring clients on board with it too.

But going digital brings with it new opportunities and services to offer your clients, particularly if you’ve decided to use a cloud accounting platform. 

One of those services is virtual bookkeeping. 

What is virtual bookkeeping?

As an accountant, you’re already more than familiar with the process of bookkeeping to record, store and organise data on your clients’ financial transactions. 

Virtual bookkeeping – also known as online bookkeeping – is the same thing, only carried out remotely.

This can be done by connecting remotely to your client’s computer, accessing a virtual desktop, or by using online accounting software to which both you and your client have access. 

Any meetings you need to carry out as part of the service can then be done via video call.

Why should you offer virtual bookkeeping services?

Providing your bookkeeping services virtually comes with several benefits. 

For you, there’s the greater flexibility of operating remotely compared to needing to meet your clients in person. You can carry out work for them from any location, at any time, without being restricted by their ability to travel and see you. 

You can also reach a much wider group of potential clients, nationally or even internationally. 

Digital bookkeeping lends itself well to automated processes and more efficient workflows, saving you time and boosting your firm’s productivity. 

And with a smooth virtual bookkeeping process in place providing you with a steady income from a wide pool of clients, you’ve got plenty of opportunity to upsell to more advanced services as needed.

For your clients, opting for virtual bookkeeping offers similar benefits when it comes to flexibility and efficiency. Depending on your pricing structure, it could also save them money – the reduced overheads on your end might make a lower fee possible, and if you choose to operate a pay-as-you-go model, your clients can pay only for the services they need.

Benefits of cloud software for virtual bookkeeping

Virtual bookkeeping requires you to access your clients’ financial information remotely, which can be done in a few ways. But we’d argue that cloud accounting software is the simplest and easiest option.

Compared to more traditional desktop software, cloud software stores data on remote servers and allows you to integrate other information sources, such as bank feeds.

This way, it gives you and your clients a constantly up-to-date picture of their finances at any point in time. 

It can also be operated from any location and any device with an internet connection, adding to the benefits of flexible working that virtual bookkeeping offers.

It’s simple to share information with your clients or talk through the figures: you and your client can both log in remotely, and see the same information without having to set up a virtual desktop or another solution.

And because many online software platforms can integrate with other finance and accounting functions, you can offer your clients a joined-up service that saves time across the whole of their business.

 

Capium’s bookkeeping module, connected with our suite of online practice management and accounting software, makes it simple to start offering a virtual bookkeeping service. See it for yourself with a free trial.

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