Options for Outsourcing Your Bookkeeping
Outsourcing the role of bookkeeping is a good choice, particularly for small businesses that do not have the resources to hire an in-house bookkeeper.
It may be time to outsource your bookkeeping if:
- Doing it yourself is taking up more time than you want to spend
- You often fall behind in logging your financial transactions
- You have a hard time staying on top of your cash flow
- You’re not tracking accounts receivable and payable well
Beyond day-to-day operations, having your bookkeeping taken care of by an outside professional reduces the risk of internal fraud, and expedites tax filing.
With outside bookkeeping, you also get regular access to the reports and financial statements every business owner needs to make informed decisions:
- Balance sheets
- Income statements
- Cash flow statements
Types of Outside Bookkeeping Services
Outsourced bookkeeping services come in two main forms: local and virtual.
A local bookkeeper is a person or team based close to your business. This is a great choice if you want to meet your bookkeeper face to face on occasion.
Local pros include freelancers and firms:
- A freelance bookkeeper is a solo practitioner who works with you one-on-one. They may work online, in-person at your business or both. Freelancers have varying levels of skill and experience.
- Your second option is a bookkeeping firm. They may charge more than freelancers, but usually offer extras that solopreneurs can’t:
a. Their bookkeepers may be professionally certified.
b. In the event the person handling your books has to take a leave of absence, another bookkeeper can take over right away, so there won’t be any service gaps.
Virtual bookkeeping combines the best parts of bookkeeping software and traditional bookkeeping. With a virtual service, you get bookkeepers who manage your books and software to monitor your finances.
Virtual is a good option if you:
- Use online banking and are comfortable on the web
- Want online access to your financials via a mobile app
- Prefer chatting online or over the phone to in-person communication
Working with an online service means your data is securely stored in the cloud, and you can access your financial info from anywhere, any time.
Virtual bookkeeping companies connect you with bookkeepers via a secure, online account. A highly-regarded service will download your expenses automatically through online banking and your merchant processor.
Local Virtual Companies: The Best of Both Worlds
Some bookkeeping firms, like BookWerks™, work virtually and serve both local and distant clients.
We connect with your bank accounts, credit cards and merchant providers to automatically import transactions and update your financial reporting. If you have any questions or concerns about your finances, your dedicated bookkeeper is always available with a few hours’ notice.
- Try to find a source that offers secure, immediate access to your financial reporting in accounting software you like.
- Make sure you can trust whomever you hire to handle bank and credit card information and other sensitive documents.
- Never let your bookkeeper handle investments, check-signing or online payments/wire transfers; you should be the sole authority for these functions.
Why Can’t Your Tax Accountant Do the Bookkeeping?
Many accountants offer bookkeeping, or are willing to get you caught up before tax season. But a CPA will generally charge substantially more than a bookkeeper.
Hiring a bookkeeper is more cost-effective, and you’ll get year-round access to invaluable financial data that can help you manage cash flow and make informed decisions.
They can provide tax-ready documents for your accountant at tax time.