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!

10 Common Examples of AI in Everyday Life

While we might think that artificial intelligence (AI) is something futuristic, it already has an enormous impact on our daily lives. Artificial intelligence doesn’t only change the way we work but also the way we live and make decisions. In this article, we’ll introduce the top 10 most common examples of AI in everyday life. 

Virtual assistants

Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, and Microsoft’s Cortana are perhaps the most popular virtual assistants available. These AI-powered assistants help users perform various tasks, from finding and calling a contact, browsing websites, to sending commands to other apps. Artificial intelligence has a significant impact on the way these apps work because they learn from every single user interaction. This allows them to recognize speech patterns better and provide users with results tailored to their preferences. There’s no doubt that virtual assistants will continue to grow and become even more capable of assisting us in our daily lives.

Advertising

Have you ever looked at an online advertisement and realized that you were thinking about buying this product? There is no magic here, and AI isn’t reading your thoughts. Instead, it’s about keeping track of your online activities. The search engines record the products you browse on various shopping sites and provide you with advertisements related to these products.

AI also uses demographic data, such as your age, gender, job, etc., to identify which products are most likely to be of interest to you. Today, more and more businesses are using digital marketing tools to target their preferred customers. 

Robot vacuums

Robot vacuums are one of the most common examples of AI in everyday life. They use AI to scan your living area, pinpoint obstacles and remember the best route to clean your house. The vacuum bot can also identify how much cleaning it needs to do based on the size of the room, and some robot vacuums even come with a mopping function. 

Financial services

The banking and finance industry, which plays a major role in our lives, has been using artificial intelligence to optimize customer satisfaction by simplifying payment processes and providing security features. For example, running to the bank for every transaction has become something of the past. Thanks to intelligent algorithms, we can make deposits, do money transfers, and even open an account from anywhere.

Artificial intelligence also increases security, identity management, and privacy controls. A typical example is the automated emails you receive from banks whenever you make an unusual transaction. AI can detect potential fraud by observing users’ credit card spending patterns. The system can create an alert or a request to validate transactions if there is any unexpected activity that doesn’t fit your user profile.

Chatbots

In the past, interacting with customer service was often time-consuming and stressful. Even today, if a company doesn’t offer 24/7 customer service, it will be difficult for customers to have their concerns addressed outside of office hours. One increasingly popular solution to this problem is AI chatbots. 

AI chatbots are set up with programmed algorithms, enabling them to answer frequently asked questions and take/track orders, which makes interactions between the customer and the company easier than ever. Today, advanced chatbots don’t offer only specific output formats such as yes/no questions. They can answer complex questions that require detailed responses. Additionally, if customers leave a poor rating for the response they receive, the bot will identify the mistake and correct it for next time to maximize customer satisfaction.

Text editors and autocorrect

Have you ever typed a misspelled word, and your phone or computer corrected it automatically? That’s because AI algorithms use machine learning, deep learning, and natural language processing to identify incorrect language usage and suggest corrections in word processors, texting apps, and other digitally written documents. 

Machine learning is taught by linguists and computer scientists, which results in high-quality language data. When you type an incorrect sentence, the editor will catch it and make suggestions to fix it.

Facial detection and recognition

Many of us are probably familiar with using face ID for unlocking phones or taking pictures with virtual filters on our faces. These activities are typical examples of AI in everyday life, in which the algorithms incorporate face detection, which can identify any human face, then use face recognition to recognize a specific face to unlock the phone or make a command (e.g., confirming a transaction). Facial recognition also helps government facilities with surveillance and security.

Maps and navigation

Artificial intelligence has drastically improved traveling. Instead of having to buy and carry paper maps, you can now use Google or Apple Maps on your phone and search for your destination. How does the mobile app know where to go and suggest the optimal route, road barriers, and traffic congestion? 

In the past, there were only satellite-based GPS available. Now, artificial intelligence is being incorporated into these devices to provide users with a much more enhanced experience. The algorithms employ machine learning to remember the edges of the buildings they’ve learned, leading to better visuals on the map and the ability to recognize house and building numbers. 

The application can also understand and identify changes in traffic flow, such as user-reported incidents or road construction, to recommend a route that avoids roadblocks and congestion. 

Rideshare apps

When you use a rideshare app, how do they determine the price of your ride? How do they minimize the wait time once you hail a car? How do these services optimally match you with other passengers to minimize detours? The answer is machine learning, another example of AI in everyday life. Uber’s Head of Machine Learning, Danny Lange, has confirmed Uber’s uses of machine learning for ETAs for rides, estimated meal delivery times on UberEATS, computing optimal pickup locations, as well as for fraud detection.

Entertainment 

If you’ve ever finished a TV show on Netflix, you’ve probably noticed how Netflix immediately suggests other shows you may enjoy watching next. YouTube is another platform that recommends videos or playlists relevant to your likes. This is how AI works: it analyzes thousands of records to suggest movies, TV shows, and videos that you might like based on your preferences and reactions to previous media choices.

The bottom line

These examples of AI in everyday life prove why artificial intelligence is talked about everywhere: it appeared everywhere. AI has greatly affected nearly every part of our daily lives, making us more productive and our lives more convenient. 

The Shoeboxed app is an AI-powered accounting app tailored to freelancers, accountants, and small business owners. Shoeboxed helps users clear their desks and drawers from piles of receipts and turn them into digital, clearly categorized data. Users can scan their receipts, manage expenses, store business cards, and track mileage easily with the Shoeboxed app

From there, you can generate expense reports and send them in emails for approvals. What’s more, Shoeboxed offers an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) function and human-verification feature to ensure that your receipts are scanned, well categorized, human-verified, and legibly accepted by both the Internal Revenue Service and the Canada Revenue Service. Shoeboxed helps you simplify accounting processes and focus more on your business’s core values. 

Don’t forget to sign up for the Shoeboxed blog if you’d like to read more about how Shoeboxed has helped our clients integrate artificial intelligence into their businesses and other engaging success stories, DIY accounting, together with the latest Shoeboxed’s product updates.

Fire Your Accountant: How to use Virtual Accounting Programs to Finish Your Taxes Faster

While small business owners have a quite a few more things to think about compared with the average taxpayer, virtual accounting programs have made it easier than ever to fire your accountant for good.

Back in the day, accountants and tax professional wielded some sort of magical power: you gave them your receipts, held your breath, and a few weeks later they produced the completed 1040 that sealed your tax fate.

With the advent of the Internet and do-it-yourself technology, it’s now easier than ever to do your taxes yourself.

As a small business owner or a self-employed individual, you have a quite a few more things to think about compared with the average taxpayer. However, virtual accounting programs have made it easier than ever to fire your accountant for good. And if you’re tracking your receipts in Shoeboxed, then you’re already one step ahead of the game. Shoeboxed works with numerous online accounting platforms; check out our list of partners.

If you aren’t already using one of these tools for your small business, you’re missing out! Virtual accounting programs allow you to:

  • Track your spending throughout the year – No more digging through old filing cabinets looking for receipts and invoices. Applications like FreshBooks and GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping automatically track what you’ve spent and earned by analyzing your financial transactions. Each transaction is automatically assigned a tax category, making reporting at the end of the year a breeze.

  • Categorize your spending – Instead of analyzing your income and expenditures on a monthly basis, accounting software gives you a live snapshot of your spending for the entire year. Account totals are updated every day, giving you an accurate, up-to-the-minute snapshot of your small business’ financial health. Since every transaction is instantly assigned a tax category, you’ll save hours of time manually entering totals into spreadsheets.

  • Create one-click expense reports – When the end of the year arrives and it’s time to do your taxes, simply log in to your application and create one-click reports based on the criteria of your choosing.

You can generate a report based on what you paid certain contractors, or a report that includes revenue from a certain set of clients. It’s also easy to see how much you spent on vehicle maintenance, travel, education, technology expenses and other IRS-approved deduction categories.

  • Create and manage invoices – All of your invoices are stored in your accounting program, making it easier than ever to find what you need, when you need it. Instantly see how much a certain client paid you last year, or which invoices are still outstanding. You can also compare revenues generated with expenses, making it easy to see how your small business is doing overall.

  • Sync multiple accounts within a single platform – Accounting software can give you an accurate financial snapshot of your entire company through linked accounts. By syncing your software with your bank accounts, credit cards, and Paypal account, the reports you generate will be completely comprehensive and give you an accurate picture of your spending.

It’s easy to forget to calculate totals for accounts you rarely use. With linked accounts, your software will never forget to include out-of-the-ordinary payments and expenses.

  • Painlessly process payroll – As a small business owner, you’re not just responsible for your own taxes. You also have to deal with your employees’ taxes, as well as any independent contractors you may have hired throughout the year.

A virtual accounting program will not only process your payroll throughout the year, but give you the ability to see how much you’ve paid out, determine what portion of that is taxable, generate 1099 forms, and calculate how much you’ve paid in areas like employee health insurance.

Here are additional helpful tips if you’re self-employed or a small business owner.

Are you currently using a virtual accounting program? How do you like it?