In not-so-recent history, outsourcing services such as bookkeeping or accounting was perceived as limited to just the basics—data entry, processing reports, and automated functions. While some companies, such as our own AccountingDepartment.com, went well above those limitations by engaging trained professionals and full accrual accounting, the fact is that capabilities have evolved alongside both training and technology. With our eyes firmly on what can be done in 2021 and beyond, we’ve pulled together the top virtual accounting services you should expect in 2021.
Comprehensive Financial Dashboards
We’re not saving the best for last in this list—we’re starting with it. The best virtual accounting services offer financial dashboards that help you see not just where your business is, but where it is going. Our clients utilize dashboards to get real-time snapshots of everything from their revenue year over year to their gross margins and operating income and expenses. They’ve got a direct connection to the pulse of the company, with the ability to compare budgets to actuals and check on KPIs at any time. This is a “must-have” virtual accounting feature for any company that plans to grow.
Key Budgets & Forecasts
Quick—where do you stand on your breakeven revenue for this month? How about last month? If we asked you what your gross margin was for three months ago—along with your operating expenses, actual revenue, and breakeven revenue—could you tell us? Companies who have the best virtual accounting services in 2021 can do this—because they’ve got their budgets and forecasts all set up. Financial ratios? Yes, those too. And they’re accurate—because the best virtual accounting services are leveraging both the best technology as well as the best-in-class professionals and processes to ensure the integrity of the financial data behind it. The technology powering forecasting tools creates direct, unfettered access to key margins and financial forecasts.
Trends and Shifts
When the pandemic hit, businesses throughout the country rippled, with some growing at unprecedented speed and some shrinking out of existence overnight. While most shifts don’t happen that dramatically, the fact is they happen—and the best virtual accounting services provide forecasting models and data reporting that can identify trends and possible opportunities to pivot. For example, if your sales pick up rapidly, are you prepared to meet production or service demands? Will you know how many people you’ll need to hire, what that will do to your operating expenses, and what your income expectations will be? Will you know when it is time to expand or scale? Can you anticipate a downturn and take measures to protect your employees and culture? If you cannot, you’re missing out on one of the best virtual accounting services to come out of 2021.
Automated Bill Pay
Can you pay your company bills with your phone? Do you get reminders when bills are due? And do you have approval processes in place that enable you to route bills to the appropriate approvers? (Hint: You should). In 2021 and beyond, the best virtual accounting services are setting up clients for success with online bill pay that works for them. Invoices, approval status, due dates, amounts, and vendors can be sent in snapshots and accessed wherever you are. Not sure about an invoice? Need to wait to pay something? They’re all there for your approval or decision—and never require you to be at your desk to review, sign, or otherwise.
Integrated Expense Tracking
If your employees are still using excel spreadsheets to submit expenses, we’re guessing someone out there is wondering why—and why there isn’t a better way. Except there is, and it has made our list of the best virtual accounting services in 2021. Savvy companies are using integrated expense management programs to pull in expenses directly from credit card statements, create easy processes for submitting receipts, and make it seamless to code and track every expense to budgets and reporting. It eliminates countless hours of categorizing and reviewing—and even provides substantial support for processes and procedures around employee expenses. From leveraging expense policies to automated tracking and coding of each item, integrated expense tracking and management is mission-critical to successful virtual accounting services—and your company.
The truth is, there are way more than 5 top virtual accounting services in 2021. These are just a few of the highlights our clients express appreciation for—but we’d love to hear from you… what is your top virtual accounting service?