Small businesses are increasingly using virtual bookkeeping services, opening many opportunities for fresh-graduate accountants, professionals with CPA certifications, and people looking for online jobs.
In this article, we take a look at what a virtual bookkeeping position entails, including common duties, and educational requirements.
We’ll also highlight the benefits of a virtual bookkeeping career and give you practical steps that you can take right away to build your skills.
What is virtual bookkeeping?
Virtual bookkeeping performs the same tasks as traditional on-site bookkeepers but remotely or purely online. Virtual bookkeepers take care of routine accounting duties such as recording and validating transactions, producing and analyzing financial statements, handling accounts payable, receivable, payroll, and managing invoices and tax payments.
How does virtual bookkeeping work?
A traditional on-site bookkeeper must be present in the office, while a virtual bookkeeper manages everything remotely using cloud-based software.
What’s in a virtual bookkeeper job description?
A virtual bookkeeper is expected to perform all the tasks of a traditional on-site bookkeeper. A virtual bookkeeper job description will include using online software and remote access tools to maintain the financial records of a company, tracking income and expenses, and reconciling payroll and bank accounts.
What’s the difference between on-site bookkeepers vs. virtual bookkeepers?
The infographic below illustrates the key differences between traditional and virtual bookkeepers’ work.
What are the benefits of bookkeeping work-from-home jobs?
So glad you asked! Here are the benefits of online bookkeeping jobs from home.
Virtual bookkeeping is easy to learn.
The good news is virtual bookkeeping isn’t only for those with an accounting background; this job is an open opportunity for both the experienced and inexperienced in accounting.
Entry-level bookkeeping jobs mainly involve categorizing things correctly and entering financial information into accounting systems. No formal education is required to be a bookkeeper, and only basic math skills are needed. Although, it would be a huge plus if you’re detail-oriented, highly organized, and have experience in administrative work.
You can work at any time.
Typically, most bookkeeping jobs offer the flexibility to work at your own schedule. As there are no fixed work hours, clients can call you only when needed, allowing you to enjoy flexibility. You can start your day whenever you want, set your own schedule, and take breaks any time. However, keep in mind that you will need to stay on top of your client’s daily financial transactions thoroughly in order not to be overwhelmed later on.
There may be, of course, times that your clients need you to work extra hours in a day, like during the tax season. However, if you have excellent time management skills, this won’t be as stressful.
Part-time work-from-home bookkeeping jobs
Want to earn extra? You can also do part-time virtual bookkeeping jobs in your free time aside from your 9-5. This will give you an added source of income and grow your client base once you decide to commit to doing online bookkeeping full-time!
You can work from anywhere.
Being a virtual bookkeeper means you can work from anywhere. All you need is a good laptop equipped with accounting software and a stable internet connection.
If you have young children, a remotely located job allows you to work from home and care for them at the same time. If you have school-aged kids, you can do your tasks from any computer, including outside your home, such as in a coffee shop or a co-working space, while waiting for them to finish school.
Being employed as a virtual bookkeeper offers you more freedom as you can bring your work with you, making sure your job doesn’t consume your entire life. Not to mention, working in different environments can help you stay motivated and focused on tasks.
Other good reasons to work from home include greater flexibility, increased productivity and motivation, and reduced need for office space.
You can have a healthy work and life balance.
If you’re wondering whether bookkeeping is a stressful job, you don’t have to worry! Virtual bookkeeping jobs offer you flexible working hours, allowing you to maintain the work-life balance you want and need. Since you don’t need to travel long distances and hours to work and don’t necessarily have to work exactly from nine to five, you’ll have more time for family, friends, and other habits.
However, do keep in mind that even though your virtual bookkeeping job might be flexible regarding when you perform your work, it’s still important to use good time management skills. ??
Virtual bookkeeping jobs pay well.
So you may be asking, how much can you earn as a virtual bookkeeper? As reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual median wage for a bookkeeper is $40,240, or $19.35 per hour, as of 2021. Although actual numbers still vary based on the employee’s qualifications.
A virtual bookkeeper can either work exclusively for a bookkeeping firm to manage their clients or work directly with companies who need to outsource their bookkeeping as an independent contractor.
Your income as a virtual bookkeeper will highly depend on the scale of the project, the size of your client base, as well as your credentials and expertise.
Working as a virtual bookkeeper also brings you some economic benefits depending on certain factors. By making your home your office, you may be able to reduce commuting or lunch costs. Some virtual jobs even allow you to claim certain work-from-home expenses.
You can also work as a freelance virtual bookkeeper while working remotely, which is an extra bonus! Being your own employer allows you to handle more clients with the potential to make $50 per hour. You can even do this as a side hustle to boost your income.
How do I become a virtual bookkeeper?
Always keep in mind that practice makes perfect! Before applying for virtual bookkeeping jobs, ensure you have the right training, education, and expertise.
Now that you know all about virtual bookkeeping and you’re interested in starting, here are the essential skills and aptitudes you’d need to succeed as a virtual bookkeeper:
Have a solid foundation
It is good to have knowledge of fundamental accounting and financial principles.
Mastery of financial tools and accounting software
For instance, proficiency in financial tools such as Excel and Google Sheets. And experience in using accounting software such as Xero, QuickBooks, etc.
Good time management and organizational skills
Good time management and organization skills are also important for a virtual bookkeeper-to-be. Write a thorough and organized to-do list and check it as you go; this small action will help you manage your time and work much more efficiently.
An eye for detail
Bookkeeping is a game of numbers, so there’s no room for error! A single wrong number can throw off all the work that you’ve already done, making things more difficult and making you untrustworthy to your clients.
How do I start virtual bookkeeping with no experience?
Take an online certificate course.
There are a lot of online certificate courses available to get you started through sites like Coursera and OpenLearn.
Graduate with an Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree.
If you’re interested in completing and have college training, you can pursue higher education in Accounting.
Sign up for internships or training.
You can also look for virtual bookkeeping opportunities that offer on-the-job training through internship programs to get hands-on experience.
How to find virtual bookkeeping jobs
After gaining all the necessary skills and aptitudes to become a successful virtual bookkeeper, how can you find your dream job?
Scout across job sites
There are many job sites for virtual bookkeeping hopefuls. Don’t forget to scout for good opportunities online. These sites provide accounting and bookkeeping on-site roles, as well as remote job opportunities.
- Belay Solutions
- Click Accounts
- Two Roads
- Robert Half
Join communities and forums
Search Facebook groups for virtual assistants or remote work-from-home-jobs to look for job opportunities. Consider serving a niche sector, such as bookkeeping for truckers or bookkeeping for the real estate industry.
Keep up to date on the forums or communities for bookkeeping to stay on top of trends and also access job postings from potential employers.
Utilize LinkedIn! Build your profile and network with people. You might just find someone in need of your service or can point you in the right direction.
Don’t forget to foster good relationships with your clients. This might lead to potential referrals from them too!
Frequently asked questions about virtual bookkeeping jobs
You can find online accounting and online bookkeeping jobs on the following job sites:
• Belay Solutions
• Click Accounts
• Two Roads
• Robert Half
Search online groups and forums for internship opportunities, which will allow you to grow your skill while also giving you on-the-job experience. Consider taking an online bookkeeping course or getting certification for your skills, which will improve your chances of getting hired. Here are a couple of options that you may wish to consider:
• Bookkeeping Certification by the National Association of Certified Bookkeepers
• Certified Bookkeeper (CB) Program by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers
There are many advantages and possibilities virtual bookkeeping can bring to fresh-graduate accountants, those who earned a CPA certification, and people looking for a remote job.
Don’t forget to fully use all the amazing virtual tools available to you! The Shoeboxed app is a tailored accounting app for freelancers, accountants, bookkeepers, and small business owners to simplify their accounting and bookkeeping processes. Shoeboxed helps users free their desks and drawers from piles of receipts and turn them into digital, clearly categorized data. You can easily scan your receipts, manage expenses, store business cards, track mileage, and so much more with the Shoeboxed app.
Additionally, Shoeboxed’s OCR (Optical Character Recognition) function and human verification feature ensures that your receipts are clearly scanned and well categorized, resulting in human-verified data that are legibly accepted by both the Internal Revenue Service and the Canada Revenue Service.
Try Shoeboxed for free today!
Originally published on March 2, 2022. Updated on August 26, 2022.