Is virtual bookkeeping or outsourcing better?

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The difference between employing a virtual bookkeeper and outsourcing your bookkeeping tasks is that one option offers greater value than the other. Read this article to learn which one.

Virtual bookkeeping and outsourcing have several benefits in common, which can make it tough to figure out if one is better than the other when it comes to meeting your accounting firm’s needs.

Those benefits include cost savings and business continuity. We’ll explore these and other benefits in greater detail in this article, so you can answer the question, “Should I hire a virtual bookkeeper, or should I outsource my bookkeeping tasks?”

Virtual bookkeeping and outsourcing involve remote work

Firm owners can choose to hire either a virtual bookkeeper who is self-employed or works for an accounting or bookkeeping firm, or hire an offshore bookkeeper employed by an outsourcing service provider. Both options serve clients remotely.

A virtual bookkeeper may be located across town, across the country, or on a different continent. Bookkeepers provided by an outsourcing company are usually located in another country.

Either way, you would grant the individual remote access to your software and financial documents so he or she can do your work.

Now let’s break down the benefits of both virtual bookkeepers and outsourcing.

Hiring a virtual or offshore bookkeeper means you won’t have to provide him or her with a workspace and equipment.

Benefit No. 1: Cost savings

Whether you employ a virtual bookkeeper or one provided by an outsourcing service provider, you’ll be saving on costs.

The bookkeeper won’t require a desk or computer equipment. If they’re self-employed or work for a firm, they will likely already have the equipment and furniture they need to work effectively.

An outsourcing service provider like TOA Global will provide their bookkeepers with a workspace and equipment, and with other usual company benefits, as well, such as paid vacation days. TOA Global even provides its offshore team members with continuing education to keep their skills and knowledge current, and with HR and IT support to quickly address any issues. This may not be the case with a virtual bookkeeper who is working from his or her dining room table.

Which brings us to …

Benefit No. 2: Business continuity

If your firm’s data is stored in the cloud and your remote workers can access that data, you can rest assured they can keep working if, let’s say, a fire or flood damages or destroys physical files kept at your office (of course we hope that never happens!)

An outsourcing service provider will also have data security measures in place to protect your financial information around the clock, as well as power and internet redundancy for safety and business continuity.

And even though an outsourcing service provider may be located on the other side of the world, your outsourced bookkeeper will likely work a shift where he or she is on duty at the same time you are.

Local account managers support clients on their outsourcing journeys.

Benefit No. 3: Local support

If you hire a virtual bookkeeper who is self-employed or employed by a firm, you can certainly expect a level of support with any issues that may arise.

A good outsourcing service provider, whose very business is to serve clients in the best way possible, should offer local support. This support can consist of account managers and client service managers, to help clients grow and manage their offshore staff. What’s more, these professionals will likely have a solid understanding of local market conditions.

Benefit No. 4: Skilled talent

In hiring a self-employed virtual bookkeeper or a bookkeeping firm to help you, you’ll be taking the time to recruit, do interviews and reference checks. You want to be sure you hire the best person for the job, right?

An outsourcing service provider will save you time recruiting top talent because it does the recruitment, candidate screening and assessments for you. (TOA Global will even save you time onboarding, since we help onboard team members, too).

The outsourcing company will then present you with a list of top candidates. You’ll be able to review their resumes and test scores, and then choose who you would like to interview and add to your team.

You can use the time saved recruiting and onboarding to focus on responsiveness, servicing demand, or growing your business without worrying about hiring, especially in a highly competitive market for talent.

Even though they may be on the other side of the world, a bookkeeper provided by an outsourcing service provider can work the same hours you do.

Conclusion

So which is better, virtual bookkeeping or outsourcing? While both offer the same benefits – cost savings, business continuity, support and skilled talent – outsourcing has the edge because its benefits offer greater value in the form of:

  • HR and IT support for your bookkeeper
  • Dedicated local support
  • Time saved recruiting and onboarding

If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of offshore accounting or bookkeeping and how they apply specifically to your firm, book a free strategy session with TOA Global today.

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