Common Concerns With Virtual Bookkeeping
As I talk to business owners I sometimes hear the following concerns about virtual bookkeeping:
I’m not sure I trust my business’s transaction data to be stored in the cloud.
Doesn't the cloud get hacked? In recent years, we’ve heard stories of cloud services like iCloud getting hacked and people's photos being stolen. I think that's made a lot of people afraid. But most of us are using online banking, and that's a cloud-based system, and most of us feel it’s secure. Cloud just means web-accessible servers. The banks have figured out how to make our online banking secure and so have the top accounting software firms like QuickBooks Online, Xero and HubDoc.
For most businesses, the benefits far outweigh the risks.
I like to work with people face-to-face. I don't want to work with a bookkeeper on the other side of the country whom I’ve never met.
This is entirely understandable. I like to work with people face-to-face as well. Fortunately, with today’s inexpensive video conferencing techniques (think FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, GoToMeeting) you can have all your meetings with your bookkeeper in a way that you can see each other. You’ll be able to make eye contact and see smiles.
I realize it's not quite the same as face-to-face, but once you get used to virtual meetings, you start to appreciate the benefits of not having to get in your car and drive somewhere for a 15-minute meeting.
I like paper. I don’t think I can get used to not having paper receipts.
I like paper too, when it's a beautiful coffee-table book. But when it's little pieces of paper all over my office desk and I can't find what I need, then paper and I are not friends. If you have ever experienced frustration with paper cluttering up your desk or files, or not being able to find a receipt that you need, you will really love going paperless.
Having all your receipts available to you online has many benefits.
1. You can access them anywhere. If you are out of the office and your accountant needs a receipt urgently, you’ll be able to find it and get it to them, all from your mobile phone.
2. You can grant access to other parties like your accountant, spouse or business partner easily.
3. If you are being audited by the CRA and need to find receipts they are searchable and you’ll be able to find them in seconds rather than hours.
Now the key to going paperless is good, convenient systems and probably the most significant game-changer (technology-wise) has been the advent of high-resolution cameras on smartphones. Before that, you had to have a desktop scanner, and you had to remember to scan all your receipts, and most people didn't do that.
Now all you have to remember is to take a photo with your mobile phone, and most of my clients find that after a few months they get used to using this new system and they never look back.
So while I understand the concerns some business owners raise, the cloud accounting and document management technology that enables virtual bookkeeping has advanced significantly and keeps getting better. You’ll have to decide if the many benefits are worth it to you. They are for me!