Remote Bookkeeping: Manage Finances in an Era of Remote Work

The demand for remote bookkeeping continues to skyrocket and it shows no signs of slowing down. Intense labor shortages have forced businesses to be flexible. Employees have the power to dictate where and how they work. Since it’s clear that remote bookkeeping is an upward trend, businesses must evolve their expectations of accounting. Fortunately, this arrangement works out well for businesses. 

Remote bookkeeping significantly lowers accounting costs while allowing in-office employees to focus on more important tasks. Rather than resisting this new trend, businesses should embrace it. It’s not just a cost issue either. Opening the door for remote bookkeeping gives you access to better financial management than what you could get in-house.  

Understanding Remote Bookkeeping 

A company provides remote workers with access to its financial documents and any specialized bookkeeping software they use. Businesses that have already gone digital won’t notice any difference in their everyday processes. Receipts and invoices are scanned and uploaded into secure folders. 

This financial information is compiled into reports that can conveniently be accessed by the necessary in-house personnel. Remote bookkeepers can even pay invoices, handle payroll, and manage every accounting function for your business.  

The biggest challenge with any form of remote work is security. Both the business and bookkeeper must have their ends of the process secure to prevent data breaches and loss of data. That’s why it’s so important for businesses to choose remote bookkeepers who are experienced and can guarantee data security. 

Tools and Technologies for Remote Bookkeeping 

First and foremost, you need a core accounting program to process the information that will be put into the system. Quickbooks Online and Xero are both great cloud-based accounting tools for remote bookkeeping. These programs scale alongside of your business’ growth so they are a great option for any size business.  

A project management tool is next on the list. This is how in-house employees and remote workers stay on the same page. A centralized platform like Trello allows leaders within the organization to hold remote workers accountable. Plus it keeps the entire accounting process organized.    

It’s essential that you create a digital environment where remote workers can easily communicate with leaders within the organization. Video conferencing tools like Zoom are used for detailed meetings while instant messaging is used to share short bursts of information in real time.  

You also need a secure place to store important documents. Fortunately, today’s digital world presents a lot of options. Google Drive is among the most popular. Whatever file sharing method you choose must be secure since financial data is so sensitive.   

Finally, no accounting system is complete without payroll management. Gusto is a popular option and seamlessly merges with other bookkeeping software.  

There’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach to choosing the right bookkeeping tools. What’s important is that you choose scalable tools that allow your business room for growth. These tools must also be easy to integrate into your remote bookkeeping process.  

Best Practices for Remote Bookkeeping 

Develop a process that allows your in-house teams and remote workers to work seamlessly together.  

#1: Develop Clear Bookkeeping Policies 

Keep these policies simple. Don’t write up a 50-page document and expect remote workers to understand it. Develop a policy that’s easy to communicate and clearly lays the foundation. Then build this policy into every aspect of the accounting process so that it’s a natural part of your business model.  

For instance, if you were developing a clear policy for documenting expenses, then it should clearly lay out specific requirements for scanning receipts and define a centralized place to upload them.  

#2: Automate Processes Where Possible 

When everything is centralized, then certain processes can be automated. Adding to our example of tracking expenses, if receipts are all uploaded to a centralized location, then AI systems can automatically review and pull data from these receipts.   

Just be sure you add in quality control checks when automating accounting processes.  

#3: Develop Effective Communication Systems 

Develop a specific process that describes how remote bookkeepers will communicate with in-house workers. Organize all communication channels in a way that clearly defines its use. Each channel should have a specific goal and only include members essential to meeting those goals.  

Communication is a critical part of remote bookkeeping so it must be clearly defined.  

‍#4: Define Data Security Practices 

Develop strict data security practices so that remote bookkeepers understand their responsibilities. Most security breaches happen due to human error so investing time into developing a strict process will mitigate security risks. Only work with partners that demonstrate their ability to protect your financial records.  

Backing up data is another essential element of data security. Develop a plan to address possible malfunctions or errors. Cloud computing makes this easy. Just be sure the proper security measures are in place.    

The Future of Remote Bookkeeping 

Today’s workforce demands opportunities for remote work so you can expect companies to continue developing competitive remote jobs. Bookkeeping will evolve as we move deeper into the 21st century. One of the greatest challenges is data security. We’re at a stage where digital data is still vulnerable so we’ll see new, innovative security tools implemented to protect this valuable data. In fact, data security will likely make up most of the trends we’ll see in the coming years.  

Artificial intelligence will also be engrained into the bookkeeping world. While it can’t replace sensitive tasks that require human intervention, it is unmatched in its ability to process and analyse raw financial data. Plus AI allows businesses to automate repetitive tasks. Businesses will invest in AI and create a symbiotic relationship between AI and accountants.  

Social changes continue to disrupt traditional approaches. We see a shift in the way workers value remote work. People value freedom and flexibility over a traditional rigid work environment. This is so deep-seeded that organizations that are not able to adapt will have trouble hiring top-tier talent.  

Partner with the Right Vendor  

Companies that want access to top-level talent will have to turn to remote bookkeeping. Finding the right vendor is where the new challenge lies.  

The three essential traits to look for when partnering with a remote bookkeeping vendor are experience, certification, and automation.  

As remote work continues to shape the future, remote bookkeeping services become a valuable financial management resource. Stop struggling with old bookkeeping practices and protect the future of your business by partnering with Global Account Corp. 

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