Working with Remote Accountants is something a lot of business people do these days. Though a few still have questions about how it works and is it right for them. I wanted to share some tips on how you can assess whether working with a remote accountant is best for you and what you should be asking them and yourselves about the process. I do understand that it is very trendy approach but with the vast technology options available in today's business world it really is quite simple to implement. Here are the most popular questions we encounter so we'll just approach this through a simple Q&A format.
How do you define a remote accountant? That can be a broad spectrum as well. How I am defining it here in this post is that basically it encompasses any mode of working with your accounting professional other than side by side or face to face at the same physical location.
What are the ways that we work remotely with clients? Our services are customized to meet the individual needs of our clients so we utilize a variety of tools based on their specific needs. Some of the most popular tools that we utilize in working remote with our clients are:
- QuickBooks Online for their accounting software so that the customer and our staff are able to work on live data at any time.
- GoTo Assist allows us to share our desktop or the client's desktop with or without them being at their computer at the same time. GoTo Assist has a couple of different options depending on the client's comfort level and needs.
- Dropbox allows an easy way for sharing documents between clients and staff.
There are a variety of other tools we have used for specific clients including Join.Me, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Skype, Wunderlist, Basecamp, etc. Here is a great resource list of tools available: Check these out
What are some aspects of working remotely that I need to consider? There are a few things to consider depending on the type of service you are needing. I think most of these questions pertain to your overall needs and wants regardless if it is face to face or remote. What are the top 3 pain points you are experiencing and how can these be resolved? Does that require one time training or ongoing services? What solutions can resolve the pain points?
What are the downsides to working remotely? We don't personally feel that there is a downside to working remotely with our clients but we have had a few over the years that liked the option of being able to sit next to you and felt that having you in the same office with them was what they personally preferred. We completely understand that and for those clients we do realize that another solution provider may be a better fit for them.
We've been working remotely with our clients for over 5+ years and have found it to be a very successful way to work with clients all over the US and abroad. For most of our clients, they like the fact that the work can be done remotely without incurring any travel time or fees for either party. As well, we find that productivity increases because we are not spending hours of nonvalue added time commuting. It also allows us to provide our services to clients who can live and work anywhere while we do the same. You can work from wherever you want and we are still here to help you!
If you have specific questions about working remotely with your accountant or with RPPC Inc, please feel free to reach out to me at any time by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
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What is the difference between a Bookkeeper, Accountant and Consultant? There can be many varied lines and crossovers on the services that each offer and what a service provider refers to themselves as. So how do you know? The key is understanding what you need in addition to what the service provider can provide to you.
I want to start off with just giving some generalizations about each. Please understand this won't be an Always or Never kind of situation as each service provider may tweak their offerings and the way they refer to the services they offer so I'll just go with my 20+ years of experience and give you some generalizations. The key as always is to do your homework and find the best fit for you, regardless of their title.
According to Wikipedia:
A bookkeeper (or book-keeper) is a person who records the day-to-day financial transactions of a business. He or she is usually responsible for writing the daybooks, which contain records of purchases, sales, receipts, and payments. The bookkeeper is responsible for ensuring that all transactions are recorded in the correct daybook, supplier's ledger, customer ledger, and general ledger; an accountant can then create reports from the information concerning the financial transactions recorded by the bookkeeper.
A consultant is usually an expert or an experienced professional in a specific field and has a wide knowledge of the subject matter...By hiring a consultant, clients have access to deeper levels of expertise than would be financially feasible for them to retain in-house on a long-term basis. As well, clients can control their expenditures on consulting services by only purchasing as much services from the outside consultant as desired.
Does this help you? Not sure? Here's how I would expand upon it.
Typically bookkeepers are doing the initial data entry of the company's transactions. They may or may not be doing analysis along with the data entry, depending on their knowledge and skill set. I have encountered bookkeepers with years of experience that are quite knowledgeable but don't have the accounting degree and therefore do not refer to themselves as accountants. However, I've also been on the other side of the fence with people who refer to themselves as accountants and can't really analyze their way out of a paper bag. They may be book smart but don't have much real world experience. So don't be attracted or deterred just by the title. As well, some states don't let you say you are an accountant unless you are a CPA (for example Texas) and you don't need to have a CPA to be an awesome accountant.
The key is looking for what you specifically need in the person(s) you are looking to work with.
Are you looking for someone to just do the daily entry of data?
Someone to prepare financials and be able to analyze how your company is doing compared to others in your industry?
Someone who can be able to encompass both these areas along with the ability to guide you through the upcoming waters and ensure you are able to navigate to your fullest potential?
Also realize the pay scale will be quite different for the professionals that you work with based on their skill set too. You don't want to overpay for skills you don't need, but even worse, you don't want to underpay and not get the help you truly need. Typically in our experience, we will see our clients work with varying levels of these professionals as one size/person does not fit all.
An ideal situation is that businesses are having someone with bookkeeping skills do the initial data work who then works closely with an accountant who oversees this data entry and provides them guidance with certain areas that may be out of the normal every day business environment. That accountant then may work with their outside tax professional. The accountant may also be able to expand beyond just the creation and review of reports to help them with areas such as goal setting, budgets, business plan expansion, financial forecasting, etc. into more of a consultant role.
The reason we refer to ourselves here at RPPC Inc as Accounting and QuickBooks Consultants is that we not only know how to do the basic data entry, analyze financials and prepare reports and recommendations but we also work closely with our clients to assess the bigger picture. What is happening in our client's industries, both local and national, as well as the general economy and what do we need to do to help ensure that we operate at our most profitable capacity with good cash flow. The additional frosting on the cupcake is that we have ran our own small businesses in a variety of industries and know that sometimes a "by the book" approach doesn't always work. You have to have a little risk taking as an entrepreneur and be able to pull from the various experiences to navigate the tricky waters. Do you want to work with someone who does it only as they were taught or do you want someone who can take that education, personal and professional work experience and make it work for you? That's why working with RPPC Inc makes a difference...we are so much more than "just" a bookkeeper or accountant.
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Live your passion and the money will follow. I know it may sound like a cliche but here at RPPC, that is truly what we believe in. Often times in visiting with clients, I will ask them why they are in business. If the first thing that they say is to make money, I ask them to dig deeper. We all need money to survive and if you decide to go into business, then we can assume you are doing it to make money. Let's peel back the onion layers and go deeper to what drives you.
What I want to know is what really drives my clients to spend the extra hours working to build their business when most likely they could be making more money immediately working for someone else. Few people start their business making more than whatever they were doing in their "day job". There's no right or wrong as your motivation is unique to you. I just want you to clearly be able to identify what that is.
While we may be consultants who specialize in accounting and financial aspects of your business, we also are realistic enough to know that you have to be passionate about what you are doing. Otherwise, the hours that you will spend simply won't bring you any fulfillment in your struggle to make money right out of the gate. That is why everyone recommends keeping your "day job" until your business gets on its feet because statistically we know that most businesses fail within the first 2 years and those who survive the 2 year mark, only a small percentage of those are still here after the 10 year mark. Check out this article for more details on business success stats.
What keeps people moving forward is that they live their passion and in turn they fulfill a need in the marketplace which brings them monetary success. What are you passionate about that others can benefit from and in turn will turn over their hard earned money to pay you for?
Here are some great resources on how to build your business around your passion:
- Live Your Passion
- The Best Businesses Are Built Around Passion
- How to Transform Your Passion into a Successful Business
When I recommend to my clients to Live their Passion and money will follow, I'm not encouraging people to be irresponsible. Instead, I'm really encouraging them to do some deep soul searching and ensure that they are in business for all the right reasons and that they are building a solid foundation where they love their business passion enough to put in the long hours to reach the financial success that they deserve.
Here's my example: When people talk about retiring and doing things they love. I simply say I'll probably never retire. I love what I do and helping others to achieve success in their business is the ultimate reward for my hard work. I simply want to work less hours as I age to ensure I have a good balance with other parts of my life and continue to help other entrepreneurs indefinitely. It's not all about the money. That's the bonus...it boils down to living my passion! Good luck in living yours!
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