Everything You Need to Know About Virtual Bookkeeping Jobs and How to Get into this Exciting Work

Nowadays, more and more small businesses are 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’ll explain what exactly a virtual bookkeeping position entails, including common duties and skill/educational requirements. We’ll also highlight why it’s a good idea to work as a virtual bookkeeper, and give you some ideas of how to build your skill. 

What does a virtual bookkeeper do? 


Virtual bookkeeping is also known as online or remote bookkeeping. Like traditional on-site bookkeepers, virtual bookkeepers manage daily financial responsibilities, such as recording and verifying transactions, creating and analyzing financial reports, processing accounts payable, receivable, payroll, and managing invoices and tax payments. 

The key difference is that a traditional on-site bookkeeper needs to be physically present in an office to carry out these tasks, whereas a virtual bookkeeper handles everything remotely using cloud-based software.

The chart below illustrates the key differences between traditional and virtual bookkeepers’ work. 

Why it’s great working as a virtual bookkeeper

Virtual bookkeeping is easy to learn

Though many of us may fear that virtual bookkeeping is only for those with an accounting background, this job is an open opportunity for both the experienced and inexperienced. 

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. It’ll be a huge plus if you’re detail-oriented, highly organized, and have experience in administrative work.

If you’re a beginner, you can take a bookkeeping course. Normally, bookkeeping courses last from three months to several years, depending on the length of the course. You can either learn through an online course or get a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting. Online courses take weeks, depending on how many subjects you take on. Meanwhile, it may take up to four years to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting, though some programs offer accelerated, three-year degrees.

You can work anytime 

Typically, most bookkeeping jobs offer the flexibility to work in your own schedule. As there are no fixed work hours, clients can call you only when needed, allowing you to have more flexibility. You can start your day whenever you want, set your own schedule, and take breaks any time. Being a virtual bookkeeper, you have to keep track 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.

You can work anywhere

Being a virtual bookkeeper means you can work 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 at home and take care of them. 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. 

There are also other good reasons for working remotely, including: 

  • Greater flexibility
  • Better work–life balance
  • Higher productivity 
  • Increased motivation
  • Reduced need for office space

You can have a healthy work and life balance

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 though your virtual bookkeeping job is flexible in counting your work hours, it’s still important to have good time management skills.

Virtual bookkeeping jobs pay well

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2021, the median salary of a bookkeeper is $40,240 annually or $19.35 per hour. The actual range falls between $69,000 to $91,000, depending on the employee’s degree. 

A virtual bookkeeper can work as an independent contractor for a bookkeeping agency hired by businesses that need outsourced bookkeepers, or they can work directly for a company in need of their services. Virtual bookkeepers also work as independent contractors with their clients. 

As a virtual bookkeeper, your salary will largely depend on the specific requirements of the job, the number of clients you handle, the level of education you’ve attained, any training and certifications gained, your work experience, and your specialty. 

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.  

What’s more, like most online jobs, virtual bookkeepers can work on the side and earn much more. Freelance bookkeepers with multiple clients can possibly make around $50 an hour.

What are the essential skills and aptitudes to succeed as a virtual bookkeeper?

To work as a virtual bookkeeper, besides having a strong base of basic accounting and finance-related knowledge, you need to be familiar with Excel sheets and accounting programs like QuickBooks, Xero, and Sage.

Remember that when it comes to bookkeeping, practice makes perfect, so before applying for virtual bookkeeping jobs, make sure you obtain proper education, train wherever you can, and master the science of bookkeeping through practice.

Having good time management and organization skills is 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. 

You also need to have an eye for details. 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.  

See more: Your Complete Guide to Online Accounting Jobs

After gaining all the necessary skills and aptitudes to become a successful virtual bookkeeper, how to find your dream job? Our suggestion is to visit some potential websites that are actively hiring for virtual bookkeeping jobs, such as FlexJobs, AccountingDepartment.com, Belay Solutions, Click Accounts, Two Roads, Robert Half, and 1-800Accountant

The bottom line

It’s fascinating how 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. Even if you start from entry-level, you can reach further in this career with diligence and perseverance.

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 features ensure 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. 

If you’d like to explore more engaging success stories, DIY accounting, together with the latest Shoeboxed product updates, don’t forget to sign up for the Shoeboxed blog!

Your Complete Guide to Online Accounting Jobs

While the fallout of Covid-19 continues to affect large portions of the world’s economy, working remotely is becoming a new work trend. Online accounting jobs are no exception. Fresh-graduate accountants, those with a CPA certification, and people returning to work should still be able to find opportunities for remote and virtual accounting jobs. Instead of working in an actual office, virtual accountants work from home or another location outside of the office. 

However, finding those opportunities may take some additional digging to understand which professions and industries are best situated for remote workers. Check this article for the complete guide to online accounting jobs! 

What does a virtual accountant do?

Virtual accountants are in charge of a wide range of responsibilities, depending on their profession. Like the duties of their traditional counterparts, a remote accountant’s responsibilities may include:

  • Examining and verifying financial statements
  • Calculating, preparing, and filing tax returns and other tax-related work during tax season
  • Helping business owners reduce costs and/or improve profits to run more efficiently
  • Keeping the books and financial records up to date
  • Ensuring that accounting procedures adhere to best-practice standards
  • Overseeing payroll operations

Though an outside auditor is usually brought in to review the accountant’s work, for smaller companies an accountant may double as an auditor around tax season. Some other common duties of virtual accountants may include: 

  • Documenting individual expenditures
  • Reviewing financial statements for quality assurance
  • Verifying transaction compliance 
  • Identifying potential internal and external risks for fraud
  • Estimating and evaluating the efficiency of financial operations and decision-making
  • Making best-practice budget recommendations to increase the financial efficiency of their clients

With the given duties, it’s common for employers to seek experienced virtual accountants who are familiar with accounting software and cloud computing. Additionally, some software-based companies like Shopify, Stripe, and TaxJar require their candidates to have technical skills.

See more: What Are the Differences Between a Bookkeeper and an Accountant?

How much do online accounting jobs pay?

Since a virtual accountant is involved in several different tasks on any working day, the salary possibilities for online accounting jobs are wide-ranging and often based on the applicant’s accounting experience, not the job location. 

According to ZipRecruiter, a virtual accountant’s annual salary currently ranges between $44,000 to $63,000, with top earners making $86,500 annually across the US. The average annual salary for a Senior Regulatory Accountant that works from home is $98,833. 

Salaries in certain cities can be significantly higher. For example, in California, the annual salary for virtual accounting jobs varies from approximately $63,000 to $70,000.  

Again, the pay rate isn’t affected by the location of the job but is usually influenced by supply and demand, cost of living, job requirements, and whether the position is full-time or part-time.

Where can you find online accounting jobs?

Given that work situations have changed for so many people and businesses, virtual accounting jobs are available all around the country.

Cloud-based enterprises

Cloud-based companies were thriving before the pandemic hit, and they will likely continue to grow once the pandemic ends. These companies are finding innovative ways to reach new clients, expand their employee base, and transition office environments to remote work. Staff in these companies can work from anywhere across the country, as they serve clients through cloud-based applications, software, or online platforms. 

E-commerce companies

Many e-commerce companies have grown dramatically during the pandemic as buyers have turned to shop online while staying home. Online shopping has become a new global trend that helps consumers avoid going to a physical store and dealing with reduced capacities, empty shelves, or the general anxiety that can arise from catching Covid-19.

E-commerce companies often have a flexible working environment. This allows their accountants to work from anywhere and connect virtually through meeting software. 

Financial institutions

When most people think of a financial institution, they likely think of physical locations such as ATMs, bank tellers, and loan officers. Though most of these locations have stayed open for customers to handle their day-to-day tasks, most of the back-office work of financial institutions can be done remotely. This makes them an ideal option for accounting professionals looking for remote opportunities.

Some popular financial institutions hiring online accounting jobs are Citizens Bank, JPMorgan Chase, and USAA. These financial institutions often hire accountants for various roles, such as audit managers, home lending specialists, and loan underwriters.

Recruiting platforms or agencies

There are plenty of recruiting, hiring, and job-placement platforms and agencies which can help accountants find remote work that fits their job needs and skillsets. Some platforms even focus on specialized roles, such as accountants, financial experts, etc. This helps avoid a one-size-fits-all recruiting partner who sometimes feels like they’re looking for a sale and not the right fit.

Accounting Principals, Kforce, Randstad, ZipRecruiter, and Robert Half International are some notable recruiting platforms for remote jobs. 

Even if a recruiting agency can’t find the right online job opportunity for an accountant, it can still offer many job-seeking benefits. For instance, these agencies can help applicants become aware of available types of work, as well as help match their knowledge and experience level with the best-suited job. This allows the job seeker to make an informed decision about their next place of employment.

Startups

The term “startup” refers to a company’s current status rather than the industry in which it operates. However, startups are often ideal places to look for remote work, especially online accounting jobs, simply because most startups transition the traditional office setting for a more flexible working environment.

Startups also need financial professionals to help them better understand where they are and how stable their finance is. For example, if a startup seeks IPOs (Initial Public Offerings), they’ll need help ensuring their financials pass the audit. 

The bottom line

Many companies found out that they don’t need an actual office to continue running and growing their businesses. On the other hand, they still need accountants to manage the financial aspects of their business. So now is the time for job seekers to be aware that online accounting jobs are out there. You just need to find the right fit.

Shoeboxed is the complete receipt tracking and expense management solution for freelancers, virtual accountants, or small business owners who are looking for the most versatile accounting app. Shoeboxed helps users scan paper receipts into digital data, create comprehensive reports, and prepare for tax seasons. 

What’s more, Shoeboxed offers exceptional features that allow users to track mileage for business, store business cards, and there is even a receipt scanning service. All you need to do is send your paper receipts to Shoeboxed’s facilities in our postage-paid Magic Envelope™. We’ll then scan your receipts and turn them into organized and actionable digital data. Our human-data verification function will double-check to ensure that your receipts are human-verified, audit-ready, and accepted by both the Internal Revenue Service and the Canada Revenue Service. 
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