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Virtual Accountant Versus Bookkeeper - Things You Should Know

A Virtual Accountant Is Not The Same As A Bookkeeper

Business owners, especially startups and SMEs, use the terms accountant and bookkeeping interchangeably. This is a mistake. The two are not synonyms. They are two separate professions, and each offers a specific range of financial services. Although there may be companies, who offer both accounting and bookkeeping services online

Now that’s clear, let’s understand who are virtual bookkeepers and who are virtual accountants.

  • A virtual bookkeeper:

These keep track of the day-to-day transactions of your business. This includes the money coming in through sales and purchases and the money flowing out through taxes and payroll. They are responsible for recording everything that adds or takes away from your bottom line. 

  • A virtual accountant:

These help you make better and smarter financial decisions by using your financial data. They look at the bigger picture, generate financial reports, forecast trends, and recommend best practices. 

To make the difference between the two clearer, think of the bookkeeper as a basketball player. The accountant in this scenario is the coach. 

So, can a business use one and not the other. No, virtual accountants and bookkeepers are not mutually exclusive. If you want the best results for your business, then you need to work with both of them.

How Do You Find The Right Virtual Accountant or Bookkeeper In Virginia, USA?

Now that it’s evident that you require both an accountant and bookkeeper to meet your business needs, let’s look at how you find the right one. When searching for a bookkeeper or virtual accountant in Virginia, USA, your business requirements are the first thing to consider. Do this even before you shortlist any options. 

  • If your business just needs support with data entry and other financial processes, then a bookkeeper is the best choice. 
  • In case your business requires more high-level analysis, then you will also need an accountant. 

In the first scenario, a company that just offers virtual accounting will be sufficient. For the second, you need to search for a company that offers virtual accounting and bookkeeping services. 

There is a third option to find an accountant and a bookkeeper who are ready to collaborate with each other. However, this adds hassle for you, and you must ensure that both the accountant and bookkeeper utilize the same software. Therefore, the easy choice is to find virtual accountants who also do bookkeeping.

What Questions To Ask When Hiring Virtual Accountants?

When you go shopping for virtual bookkeepers or accountants, these are the questions you need answers to:
  • What is their area of specialization?
  • Do they have certifications in them? 
  • What is their experience in your business sector?
    • Ask for references to double-check the experience.
  • What tools, apps, and software do they use for accounting?
  • What services will they provide for you?
  • How much will they charge you, and when is the bill due?
  • What steps do they take to ensure the privacy and security of your data?
  • Do they communicate through email, phone, video calls, or in-person?
These are the basic questions that will give you a fair idea if the accountants suit you or not. Pick the one that matches all your expectations, and when necessary, opt for both bookkeepers and accountants. 

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