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How to start an accounting firm Your checklist for starting a CPA firm Thomson Reuters

virtual accounting firm

Also referred to as a remote accountant, virtual accounting positions are the same as the traditional role except that services are provided virtually rather than in person. A physical office location is not required to be able to deliver on the same services as a traditional accountant. Instead, remote accountants utilize various softwares and tools to help run and manage their virtual accounting firms and teams effectively. While inDinero's base plan may be a little pricier than other firms, its all-in-one accounting services still will save fledgling businesses time and money.

It could be there simply isn't anyone in the area with the required skills, or perhaps the bookkeeper's fees are just too high. When a business instead opts for virtual bookkeeping services, there's a much larger team of professionals who can take on the work as needed. Due to the lack of geographical restrictions, most of the obstacles are removed, thus enabling companies to find the perfect team to assist with their financial needs. Typically, virtual accounting services are less expensive than an inhouse accountant.

Tax & Accounting

And it’s not hard to see why – a virtual accounting firm can be started with very little overhead, and it doesn’t require you to have an office or hire employees. But just because it’s easy to start a virtual accounting firm doesn’t mean that it will be successful. In order for your business to thrive, there are a few things you need to do.

As your skill and expertise grow, so will your abilities to complete tasks quickly. With an hourly fee, this means having to take on more clients to maintain (and hopefully increase) your profits. At, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services. Want to learn more about bookkeeping before you sign up for a virtual provider? Our article on business bookkeeping basics gives you more information on how to do bookkeeping and why.

Steps to Start a Virtual Bookkeeping Business

When businesses have bookkeepers on staff who work in-office, the costs can quickly add up. Companies need to pay for their bookkeeper’s computer or laptop, and other consumables in the office. Not to mention the cost of recruiting, hiring, training, and benefits offered to the employee. However, virtual bookkeeping services work remotely with their own equipment and cloud-based virtual accountant accounting software, and it removes all of the added costs of having a person in the office. Everything seems to be virtual these days, virtual learning, virtual meetings, virtual events, virtual tours, and even virtual accounting. However, virtual accounting has been around for a quarter of a century but has recently gained more popularity as a result of the pandemic.

As a virtual accountant, you can work from home, in a hotel room, coworking space, or coffee shop. Your office is wherever you are, so you don’t waste hours of your day commuting to the office or driving to a client’s office. Many virtual accountants have a dedicated home office, but their office can be anywhere they have a laptop or mobile device and an internet connection. Implementing project management software allows your whole team to be on the same page.

What are the benefits of starting a virtual accounting firm?

This method is not very time-efficient, plus it can quickly become expensive. With a virtual bookkeeping company, cloud accounting is used, meaning all data and records are stored electronically in secure servers in a remote location. Not to mention, there is also a greater level of security that comes with this method. Online bookkeeping services expand the flexibility of the bookkeeping service needs. All the tasks (and more) that an in-house bookkeeper typically manages can be done by a virtual bookkeeping service provider. This includes tasks like reconciling accounts, organizing statements, recording financial transactions, and other financial reports.

virtual accounting firm

And like the traditional brick and mortar approach, having a home-based or virtual business brings both opportunities and challenges that are unique to that approach. When considering a home-based business, it’s important to think about the unique challenges and opportunities involved. However, if you are looking to focus on the multitude of other services accounting firms provide, it’s likely not a necessary credential to start.

What Is a Virtual Accountant? (And How to Become One)

This gives the clients a set of professionals that they are used to, and it allows the team to monitor itself and ensure that their projects are being completed. Keep in mind, there are more steps involved in managing a virtual accounting firm successfully, but these tips serve as a good foundation. If you don’t have these steps in place first, managing and eventually growing your firm will be more difficult. In this guide we go over tips of what you should think about if you’re just starting out in virtual accounting plus tips for running your firm more effectively. The cost of outsourcing these functions must make sense for your business based on the level of service it needs and your budget.

  • Worrell’s teams consist of bookkeepers, accountants, and client-facing leads that can complete a client engagement independently from his other teams.
  • Keep a robust data security policy in place for employees, and plan for disaster ahead of time.
  • All the tasks (and more) that an in-house bookkeeper typically manages can be done by a virtual bookkeeping service provider.
  • Anyone who uses an accountant located in a physical office can use a virtual CPA or virtual accountant for bookkeeping and accounting services, whether its tax services, financial reporting or something else.
  • If you can get happy clients to leave you a positive review, it goes a long way when people are comparing your firm against others online.

However, if you want to call yourself a “CPA firm” – you will need a CPA. That said, even if you don’t think you need one – or the website says it isn’t a requirement– most businesses are probably better off acquiring an EIN. Typically, you'd only get detailed financial statements like this through a CFO — which means Merritt gives you some of the best aspects of having a CFO without the high cost.

Virtual Accounting

Only individuals who have the software login information can access that data (you can even control the level of access). Virtual accountants communicate with their clients over the phone or online. Those online channels include good old-fashioned email, and video calls conducted over platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

The only real difference between a traditional accounting firm and a virtual firm is location. Traditional firms have a street address they operate from, whereas virtual accountants run their businesses online. Virtual accounting firms owners like Casey Haynes and David Leichter pick Financial Cents as the accounting practice management software they can’t do without. Its suite of features is built specifically for virtual accounting firms’ needs. Since you will no longer be in the office together, a remote accounting firm will need to determine how to communicate internally with team members.


Capacity management feature lets you see what your employees are working on (and who is overworking) to prevent burnout. Networking with other firm owners will help you learn tips, tricks, and techniques that would have taken you years of trial, error, and failure to learn. With a solid digital strategy, you will be able to share your expertise to build the trust and authority you need to win clients. Communicating what you’re going to do for your clients and going ahead to deliver on it will not only help you retain clients, but it will also prevent complications down the line. When requesting client files, your client will not need to sign up to share files with you, and you can add information that clarifies what they need to do to get their files across to you. If you need to discuss anything in real-time, you can jump on a zoom meeting with your client at a moment’s notice.

Is virtual bookkeeping profitable?

Since starting an online bookkeeping business doesn't typically include numerous expensive costs and is one of the most profitable options, prospective bookkeepers can launch their business with as little as $1,000.

Ensure you have your own financial reporting set up and functioning efficiently so you can track growth in your client base. This will also help you gauge your capacity to continue hiring more team members with additional expertise. Gone are the days when being part of an accounting firm meant sitting together in an office and passing papers to your coworkers to review. These days, your team may be spread throughout the country or even throughout the world. Think about which processes in your firm happen on a regular basis and can be documented clearly. Processes keep team members on the same page and enable your firm to run more efficiently, especially for a remote team.

Client Management

This will allow you to measure your client’s profitability and offer guidance where necessary. Fortunately, remote teams can also enjoy team communication (thanks to tools like Slack). Slack offers robust communication features (like channeled communication, instant notification, and client message reminders). If the cost of managing a brick-and-mortar office space has gotten too high for you, that may be your sign to switch to virtual accounting. Remote teams do not care about office cleaning, rent, or conference rooms getting booked. That is what we at provide each and every time.

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