What to Know about Online Accounting Services

The practice of accounting requires knowledge of math as a prerequisite, but it goes much further than that. It has a vocabulary that is as meaningful to accountants as gerunds are to English majors. BizBrain calls it “the language of business.” Accountancy involves the analysis and evaluation of financial records along with the development of recommendations for business efficiency.

Understanding What an Accountant Can Do for You

With a penchant for detail, accountants help you stay well-informed by keeping accurate financial records. An accountant’s training and experience gives you the benefit of on-going analysis of the elements of your financial posture and puts things into perspective. Your accountant’s suggestions for reducing costs and maximizing profits can save you significant sums and put you in a good position at tax time, an area of expertise where accountants excel.

Online accountants use Internet technology instead of a physical location in an office building to help businesses manage finances. Online professionals help you cut down on overhead expenses by providing the services that you need without hiring a full-time accountant. When you submit your record of the financial transactions of your business, online accountants can produce a status report of your company’s performance. With access to your financial records, they can suggest ways that you can increase your profits and improve the efficiency of your operation. You can avoid the hassle of tax preparation by letting an online accountant forecast the amount that you owe and prepare the documents.

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Choosing an Online or a Traditional Accountant

Technology offers access to accountants who work remotely to manage your business’s finances in conjunction with you. Sophisticated software allows you to link your business bank account and import transactions that your accountant can view as “read-only” to track them. As a benefit that you can enjoy by using the Internet, the process operates efficiently to save you the time of going to your accountant’s office with a box of papers and receipts. The efficiency of using an online accountant saves money by reducing the complexity of the task.

The capability of software to adapt to your preferences ensures the presentation of reports and statistics in the form that you prefer. One of the determining factors that may help you choose to hire an online instead of a traditional accountant is the amount of time and money that you can save by doing so. The Internet gives you access to a virtual professional who takes as much interest in your business affairs as a traditional accountant does, but it is faster, more efficient, and costs less. You can have direct contact by way of phone or email, and avoid the hassle of driving to an appointment in an office and wasting time that you can devote to more essential tasks.

Types of Online Accounting Services

The needs of your business and your preferences for obtaining professional services can help you determine the best type of accounting for your purposes. Accountants offer payment methods that define the kind of service that you get, what it includes, and how much you pay for it. Traditional services provide hourly billing, but other options give you choices that include benefits as well as drawbacks to consider.

Hourly-based Billing

The most traditional method of billing that many accounting firms have relied on for generations, the hourly fee payment method lets you pay for services as you need them. The pay-as-you-go option can work to your advantage or not.

For the months that produce a low volume of sales, expenses and receipts, you can keep your accounting costs to a minimum. You get to know the firm’s set rate per hour, but 20 minutes of work may appear as one hour on your bill.

Fixed Fee Billing

In an approach that resembles the one that your plumber uses for replacing a toilet or a shower head, many accountants accept payment on a fixed fee basis. The upfront price assures you of a set monthly amount, and it reduces the uncertainty that you may fear otherwise.

You can have confidence that an occasional phone call or an email does not appear on your bill, but you need to confirm the arrangements in your pricing agreement. A potential disadvantage that may bother you is that your fixed fee for a task remains the same without regard for how long it takes your accountant to perform it.

Project Fee

Online accountants expect you to use a software package that they can access as they prepare your work. A project may allow them to use their familiarity with software to resolve an issue with a program that may save you nearly endless frustration and hours of wasted time. Some may offer to bring your books up to date as a single project, and they may charge by the hour or as a set fee.

Startup businesses need an accountant to set up the books and get a new owner off to a good start on using proper financial accounting procedures. Some accountants may charge for the initial set up as a project, and others may offer a one-time charge for startups.