If your company has a remote work policy, it’s not alone. The Covid-19 pandemic changed the way businesses operate, from Twitter allowing employees to work remotely indefinitely to Microsoft extending their work-from-home programs.
Accounting firms have not been exempt from this trend. Many firms are transitioning to remote bookkeeping services, including bank & credit card reconciliation, financial consulting, and audit & anti-fraud assurance.
This is because businesses are starting to understand the benefits of outsourcing their accounting, such as easier scaling, cost reductions, and better tools, such as CrushErrors (which is like Excel, but specialized for reconciliation and far more powerful).
As a leader in the accounting industry, NextGen has compiled the best practices for remote accounting firms to bear in mind while transitioning.
Introduction to Remote Bookkeeping
Remote bookkeeping involves managing a business’ financial transactions remotely.
Through the use of cloud-based accounting and powerful reconciliation tools, bookkeepers can efficiently and securely store, record, and manage expenses and income, as well as file taxes and prepare financial statements. Such services can be provided by accounting firms or independent contractors.
The core benefit of remote accounting is that businesses can prioritize growth and receive expert advice without being inundated by daily accounting practices.
Remote Accounting Best Practices
1. Remote Accounting Team Communication
Communicating internally with team members will be the first step to effective remote bookkeeping.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution here, so you will need to weigh your options and determine what your team requires. For instance, you may opt for a solution such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom.
If you have the option to create channels, you might want to do so. For instance, you can create an accounting channel, bookkeeping channel, or CPA channel and add the relevant team members.
2. Accounting Time Tracking
To bill clients, many accounting companies track time.
As multiple team members often work on a project, it is recommended to use a common time tracking tool. This will also allow you to analyze where team members’ time is spent so you can better manage your tasks in future.
3. Remote Accounting Workflow
Knowing what you want your workflow to look like is necessary to remote accounting.
You need to:
Set a clear process
Ensure your clients know the timeframe for deliverables, your work patters, and what they can expect from your services
Consider accounting workflow management software to help you keep your workflow standardized and as simple as possible.
4. Don’t Rush in Setting Up Your System
It’s easy to underestimate the time it takes to transition to a remote system.
Among your tasks will be:
Setting up tiered logins
Transferring files to a secure cloud solution
Learning a new system
Expect a few snags along the way – your team will not get everything right on the first go. Having said that, just knowing that the process will take time will set you up for a smoother transition.
5. Get the Right Accounting Software
Getting the right technology is crucial in setting up a remote accounting team.
If you can afford it, don’t settle for technology that isn’t specialized or suited to your team’s needs. Furthermore, avoid technology that is not user friendly – it will only cause problems and confusion.
The correct software, such as CrushErrors, will make your team’s work much smoother by minimizing human error and efficiently capturing data. You can book a demo with your own data for free here.
Remote Bookkeeping Services: Things to Bear in Mind
As with any practice, there are two sides. If you want to make the right decision for your firm, you need to know the potential drawbacks of remote bookkeeping services and see things from your clients’ eyes.
Accounting for businesses will involve sensitive data. Hence, you need to make sure that none of that data is leaked or misused. Gaining your clients’ trust is of utmost importance.
Time & Distance
Not being physically present in your client’s office can mean gaps in communication, which can lead to time-consuming processes and even major errors. Hence, the importance of clear and consistent communication with your clients.
Expect Thorough Investigations
Because you are being trusted with so much sensitive information, expect to be thoroughly investigated by your clients. They need to know you are worth their money and trust.
Be thorough and clear about costs and responsibilities. Clients will not respond well to service providers who aren’t up front about what they charge. For example, they shouldn’t be made to believe they are paying the full cost of a service only to later find out that some of the services would cost extra.
Remote accounting firms have been receiving a lot of attention recently. Make sure that you and your team are in the know about the process. Furthermore, as effective remote bookkeeping generally depends on technology, it is important to familiarize yourself with the tools you will be using.
With the tips above, you will be able to better manage your remote accounting business.
Of course, you yourself might want to outsource bookkeeping. For that,
NextGen Accounting offers credit card reconciliation services, bank reconciliation services, reconciliation automation, financial consulting, financial reporting, and audit and anti-fraud assurance. Our services are specially tailored to firms with vast amounts of data that are extremely difficult to reconcile.
To give you the fastest and most accurate reconciliation, we use our patented software CrushErrors, which you can also obtain as a product if you’d rather conduct reconciliations in-house.