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How To Hire The Right Virtual Accountant

Author : Bill Gerber
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Are you convinced that hiring a virtual accountant is the best decision for your fast-growing business? Congratulations!

You’ve taken the first step by researching how a virtual accountant can help your business save time and money in hiring and training a bookkeeper or accounting staff, and you understand the benefits of cloud computing. 

But how do you hire the right virtual accountant to help you lead your company to the next stage of growth? There are several factors to evaluate, and several steps to take before making your choice. 

Call Virtual Accounting Services to Get to Know Them Better
Even though you may never meet your virtual accountant face to face, a phone call is important for the “getting-to-know-you” process. If your virtual accountant is based overseas, this is challenging, at best. The only contact you may have might be through email; six hours or more after you ask a question, you might get a poorly-worded response.

AccountingDepartment spends time with you. You’ll have a discovery conference call with your virtual CPA and sales representative to discuss your business needs and expectations. Then, we will send you a detailed scope of work to show you what we can provide. When you decide to go ahead with us, we will schedule several more phone calls as we establish the processes, procedures and timelines that best fit your business, which will all be outlined in your Client Procedures Manual.

Your virtual accountant is available during office hours in your time zone for questions. We prefer to communicate via email, as it provides a written record of our conversations and it lets our bookkeepers manage their time better, so they can give our clients the attention they deserve. But we are also available via Instant Messenger or, if we’ve gone back-and-forth on email a few times and you still have questions, we’ll pick up the phone to discuss it.

What To Look for in a Virtual Accountant
Once you’ve spoken with your prospective virtual accountant and have had the opportunity to get to know and trust them, , you want to make sure they have the following procedures in place. This shows that your confidence in them is backed up by legal documents to protect your firm. It means your virtual accountant not only “talks the talk” with promises, but “walks the walk” with the right internal controls, processes and procedures to ensure your financial data is safe.

  • They sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) before you show them any of your financial data
  • They draw up a Client Procedures Manual (CPM) that outlines duties and timelines for work to be done
  • A Service Level Agreement (SLA) backs up the CPM with a legally binding document that ensures your virtual accountant will deliver what they promise
  • Your virtual accounting firm carries Professional Liability (E&O) and employee dishonesty insurance to protect you from theft or loss.

Hiring a virtual accountant is a combination of instincts and data, just like accounting and financial controllership services require someone who understands the “black-and-white” part of financial accounting, as well as how to analyze the data and turn it into actionable insights.

Find a virtual accountant you can trust, and make sure they have the processes in place to deliver the service they promise. You’ll see a difference in your business’ bottom line almost immediately

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