It’s 2017, and every industry, including the accounting for those industries, has been impacted by the advances in virtual technology.
Operating a Virtual Accounting Firm has changed the way I think and run my practice — which has greatly increased my profit margin.
Through my personal experience of converting my business from a stationary operation to online, I have discovered five ways to create a transition that will accelerate growth for anyone who is in search of new business. The main solutions I want to focus on are:
- Automated data entry software
- Electronic Signatures
- Internet Marketing
- Paperless tax workflow
Automated Data Entry Software
Let the computer do the work for you. Quality and consistency is one of the hardest tasks in maintaining and increasing business. Discovering more streamlined, faster ways of documenting information can save time and reduce costs while eliminating human error. An accounting software solution gives you the opportunity to develop searchable databases and have metrics on clients readily accessible. It will take some investigating to determine which is the most appropriate system based upon your practice needs, but a simple Google search for “Automated Data Entry Software” can guide you to find the right tool for your practice.
Signing documents should be a simple process. I’m sure you’ve experienced times when a signature has held up processing time by days, sometimes weeks, because of the antiquated system. These moments drove me to discover a way of wasting less time, because this delay increases the cost of doing business. Obtaining client acceptance of contracts can be done directly over the internet with electronic signatures.
The legalities of electronic signatures can be concerning before operating your business on such a platform. The FDIC passed the E-SIGN Act in 2000, which weighs electronic signatures the same as hand written signatures for most cases.
Your potential customers are a tap away on their smartphones. The beauty of the internet is the reaching scale. Search engines, social media, e-commerce, news and almost any other aspect of business has gone digital. Internet Marketing is probably the most vital mechanism for obtaining a steady flow of prospective clients. Why not meet people where they spend a lot of their focused attention?
There are five main strategies I enjoy implementing for getting my practice in front of people while they’re online:
- Onsite Search Engine Optimization (SEO) — Optimization of keywords for content created on owned properties. Creating blog posts and landing pages are helpful for onsite SEO.
- Offsite SEO — Linking keywords of content created on earned properties. This could mean media coverage, guest blogging or word of mouth marketing.
- Display Ads — Creating advertisements on platforms such as Google and Yahoo/Bing. This allows users to receive targeted ads when using search engines or if websites have advertisements enabled on them.
- Remarketing — Discover people who have visited your website and advertise to them. This can take place almost anywhere on the internet. Users can be targeted based on 30, 60, 90 days etc. from the last time they visited.
- Social Media Marketing — Using tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to maintain communication and advertise to targeted audiences. People spend a lot of time on these apps, so displaying advertisements within newsfeeds is valuable.
Paperless Tax Workflow
Start understanding what it’s like to fully go paperless. We may have every tool necessary to perform the task at hand, but it is the execution of how we use them that makes the difference. Optimizing the workflow from start to finish properly will better benefit your practice or team, especially if you’re a virtual accounting practice.
Simplify the finances of your business. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) saves time and money by providing access to applications in the Cloud. SaaS enables better communication and access to security because there is no need to run physical applications on your devices.
The main benefits of Cloud accounting:
- Most solutions are affordable because of pricing structures. You pay for what you need.
- They’re plug and play so setup is easy.
- Applications automatically update so there’s less time wasted.
- Automatic offsite file update and storage
In closing, operating a virtual accounting practice has significantly changed the success of my business. It’s something that is becoming more valuable and accessible to everyone. On the other hand, it’s also continuing to grow in demand as people look to the internet to discover how they will operate their finances and who they will chose to work with. Use these tips and see how much your business mindset changes. Let us know, in the comment section below, if you have any ideas to share which have helped transform your way of thinking on how to handle your accounting practice.