As I’m sure you know by now, I’m an accountant so I’ve done my fair share of bootstrapping and looking for frugal ways to get stuff done…
WITHOUT cutting corners when it comes to quality.
A lot of times when we are making an effort to simplify our lives and build our team… we can’t seem to think of the things that our team members can do.
This can be especially hard when we are so used to doing everything ourselves.
This is an issue that I’m continue to work on myself.
You know the issue. How to stop being an entrepreneurial Superwoman.
I think it’s time to retire my cape…and maybe it’s about that time for you too so, here are a few tasks that you can have your virtual accounting team take care of for you:
#1 Bill Pay
Let’s face it. Paying bills is NOT on the top of the list.
Most people HATE paying bills…that’s why automation is a can of awesomeness.
But you can’t just stop with autopay, you have to make sure that you’re actually not overpaying with autopay.
With your virtual accounting and bookkeeping team, making sure that your finances are taken care of is part of the job so let them do it.
#2 Light Payroll
A lot of small business owners outsource their payroll processing to companies like ADP or Heartland but they still actually administer the payroll and input the information.
This is another area where you can get some team assistance.
Your virtual accountant could:
- process the payroll/create checks & direct deposit
- keep employee information up to date (W2s, I9s, etc)
- process Federal/State payroll tax & withholding deposits
#3 Invoice Preparation
If you provide custom services and need the invoices prepared/sent to your clients, you could have your team do that too.
Until you get the system down, you could have them prepare a draft invoice for you to approve and send to your client.
#4 Payment Followup/Light Collections
Now that the invoices are sent, it’s time to get paid.
Another thing that you can hand on over to your virtual accountant… FOLLOW-UP.
Some accounting systems have automations for this. An email sent out on day 3 or day 7, etc. but sometimes you need someone to pick up the phone and actually call your client.
That someone doing the payment follow-up and light collections could be someone from your virtual accounting team.
Note: I refer to it as light collections because most small businesses don’t have a lot to do in this area. However, if one of your clients is chronically late or slow to pay or doesn’t pay, it may be time to reevaluate your late payment policies and time to hire a collections agent.
#5 Project Cost Management
Budgeting and goal setting are super sexy.
Especially when you hit your target income and you stay below projected expenses.
This is especially rad when you budget ahead of time. And when you do forecasts ahead of time.
Once you have these setup and good to go, you can have your virtual accountant keep you on target, on task and under budget by watching the income and spending.
And pull your coat tail when you start going off the rails.
Consider them your early warning system.
#6 Data Entry
This is “regular” territory for a bookkeeper…entering your financial data into your tracking system.
This counts as the normal stuff that you should be handing over to your bookkeeper to get done for you so don’t be afraid to step aside and let them work their magic.
#7 Data Review
This is a task on top of data entry…
Once the data entry is, you want to review to make sure that it’s done correctly and finances have been categorized properly.
This too is a “regular” task for a bookkeeper.
#8 Interface/Systems Testing
If you have any type of online presence, you know the importance of automating the processes of your business.
And I’m also sure you know how much of a headache it can be, especially when the pieces of the puzzle don’t want to play together nicely.
When the plugins “break” your site or don’t talk to your accounting software like they should.
If your virtual accountant is particularly techy (like me), this task may be one that gets them excited.
Helping you test and tweak your systems and software…creating and monitoring your tech stack.
#9 Financial Statement Preparation
Amazingly, a lot of small business owners do not know their numbers.
They do not know the financial status of their businesses.
And it’s not completely their fault.
Why? Because they rarely have their financial statement prepared…nor do they review them nor do know what they are looking at (some of you, not all of you).
FYI, you should at least review your financials on a quarterly basis (minimum).
#10 Your Taxes
Tax time can be stressful, if you allow it to be.
If you are prepared (and have help), it can go quite smoothly.
Your virtual accountant can help you:
- prepare/review year-end payroll & vendor statements (W2s, W3s, 1099s, 1096s, etc)
- prepare your books/documentation for your tax accountant
- Answer any questions your tax accountant may have
I hope this got your creative outsourcing, team-building juices flowing.
Can you think of MORE things you can give your virtual accounting team?
I bet you can…Let me know what you come up with.
Until next time,
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August 2014 and has been completely revamped and updated