There are many reasons to consider starting a virtual accounting firm. Perhaps you are just starting up and don’t have a lot of cash or you want to build up your clientele before investing in a brick-and-mortar office space. Some firms want to help the environment and go digital, while others see the many advantages in flexible schedules and work-from-home employees. Regardless of your motivation, there’s never been a better time to consider a virtual accounting firm.
Today’s technology allows small businesses of all kinds to conduct the majority of their duties online. From sending documents digitally to communicating with clients, virtual accounting offices can deliver excellent service efficiently and profitably. Employees can work from their own home and attend virtual meetings with supervisors who can monitor their productivity via accounting practice management software. Just like many other small businesses today, you can create a virtual team for your firm and achieve massive success doing it.
Here are 10 reasons building a virtual accounting firm can be beneficial:
1. Save on office overhead expenses
It’s expensive to start your own accounting firm but creating a virtual firm means you can be up and running with a fraction of startup costs. You and your employees can work from home, saving you from getting a lease or mortgage on office space. Computers, software, and basic supplies are minimal expenses when compared to setting up actual spaces. Whether you are starting from scratch or want to expand your existing firm into the online business realm, a virtual accounting firm is affordable and effective from start to finish.
2. Expand your client base
When you manage a virtual accounting , you can expand the possibilities of who you can perform accounting work for. For a location-based firm, your service area is generally as far as your employees or your clients can travel. With a virtual accounting office, there’s no limit to whom you can provide service for.
3. Provide modern, convenient services to clients
Taking your accounting firm online with the right tools will not only improve convenience and efficiency for you and your team, but it will also enhance the quality of service you can provide to your clients. Having optimized your business for online work, you will be set up to communicate seamlessly using online tools, exchange documents digitally with your clients, provide intake surveys that are easy to complete and submit, and have virtual meetings. Suddenly your interactions are not limited to office hours, because clients can use a client portal to accomplish all you need them to from their own home.
4. Save on paper and other office supplies
Having a virtual office means that you will not be spending a lot of money on office basics, especially paper. Many companies are moving to paperless spaces anyhow, so it definitely can be done. Just make sure you invest in good cloud-based software that makes it easy to exchange documents and tax forms with your employees and clients. There are many paid online services that offer document storage in the cloud or you can use the unlimited file storage included with Canopy's Practice Management.
5. Hire the best employees from across the globe
It can be difficult to find good employees for an on-site accounting firm, but with a virtual firm, you can expand your search worldwide. It’s even possible to hire employees in cities or states with lower living costs, sourcing talent from anywhere. Many talented people are choosing to work from home and are looking for opportunities such as this. Once you realize you can hire workers from just about anywhere, you’ll certainly benefit from expanding your search beyond your local area.
6. Improve work-life balance for yourself and your employees
How many hours could you devote to your personal life if you gained back your commute time each day? Virtual teams can design their own schedules. As long as work gets done by certain deadlines and as long as virtual teams meet deliverables, virtual employees can enjoy the flexibility of managing their own days. Employees who work from home do not have to factor in long daily commutes and other time associated with going in to an office for work.
7. Make management easy accounting practice management software
You may be worried about how to manage your employees in a virtual office, but with cloud-based practice management software, it’s easier than ever. Accounting practice management software like Canopy can streamline and organize daily tasks for your virtual team, making it easier to manage and lead your employees. With software like Canopy specifically designed for accounting firms, sharing documents, forms, client information, tasks, calendars, and more can be just as easy as sitting next to an employee at an office.
8. Low-risk diversification
With a virtual accounting firm, you can take more risks when it comes to expanding the types of services your business offers. For example, you might want to go beyond traditional taxes and develop a side of your business for estate taxes, forensic accounting, bookkeeping, retirement planning, or business succession planning. You’ll be able to devote your time, resources, and efforts into your new clients instead of worrying about housing new employees and the day-to-day operations issues.
9. Benefit the environment
Virtual offices help out the environment in many ways. They help reduce gas use and toxic auto emissions because there is no commute, nor do clients need to travel to see you. Virtual offices also greatly reduce paper waste because so much of the business is done digitally via the internet. You’ll also be encouraging your clients to waste less because they’ll be receiving digital information and files instead of paper and ink.
10. Manage growth properly
When you have a virtual office, you can expand or reduce the size of the business with more ease than you would for a permanent office. Growth simply means adding more at-home workers without buying a bigger space. Reducing the size of your firm, perhaps in the off-season, won’t require offloading office furniture or getting out of a lease agreement. You can handle the growth of your accounting firm in a more controlled manner.
Want to learn more about virtual accounting firms?
Check out our Guide to Starting and Running a Virtual Accounting Firm.