How to Overcome Resistance to Virtual Accounting

ImageFear of the unknown is one of the biggest challenges that people have . A common source of anxiety for entrepreneurs is sending data-sensitive financial files online. This is especially true when the exchange could increase the risk of your information ending up in the wrong hands. Below are tips to introduce you to file sharing tools, help reduce risks, and increase your comfort in collaborating with your accountant online.

  1. Ask if your accountant uses a secure file exchange portal. A growing number of virtual accountants are adding this benefit for their clients. The objective is to store files online over secure internet channels. Instead of sending files by email, files are uploaded to a secure site that requires a username and password and is only accessible by you and your accountant.
  2. Create a password for documents and files that you share. If you will be sending files by email, consider password protection. Programs such as QuickBooks, for example, can be setup to require a password when you log-in. This increases security in the event that someone intercepts the your attachments.
  3. Sign up for your own secure file exchange service. Companies such as YouSendIt and LeapFile  provides the flexibility of being able to send large files and files of various types. These features are important especially when you need to send copies  of software files to your accountant.
  4. Consider remote access to your computer.  Desktop sharing is quickly becoming a favorite among people who work from home and those with a small office space. If you want a simple means of collaborating and output in real time, this may be a good solution.  Another perk of site-to-site sharing is you never have to share office space, only computers.
  5. Save to portable media such as a flash drive or CD-Rom. The drawback to using this method is it takes more time to get your file to your accountant. This could be a problem if you need updates for time sensitive projects. If you’re in no hurry then these are both safe and reliable options.
  6. With all the hype about online collaboration, onsite accounting is an alternative that many people overlook.  This remains one of the best options if none of the other choices appeal to you.  The biggest drawback you may face is finding someone local to add to your team. If your office space and equipment are limited, this may pose a challenge but you can resolve this by having a set time and a dedicated work station for your accountant to be onsite.
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Entrepreneurs Ask : How To Spend Less Time On Invoicing

timesaverecordkeepingQ: I am a licensed builder who has been in business over fifteen years. What is the easiest way to make the switch from pen and paper invoices to computerized books? I find it easier to do estimates by hand and simply write customers a receipt but it makes financial reporting and tax time a mess. Not to mention that it drives my partner nuts.

A: First of all, kudos to you for considering change. I know how much courage it takes to try something different especially after running a business the same way for years. The good news is going from paper-based to computerized accounting is much less intimidating as it seems. You just need to know what options works best for you. Not every program is going to be the right fit so here are some tips to consider before buying:

  • Meet with the people on your team to review the financial activities that you do on a daily basis. Use this input to create a checklist of the features that you need.  The goal is to streamline the process. Look for software that lets you automate as much of the routine as possible so that it saves you time. Compare your checklist to the features each program offers as you consider choices.
  • Do a test run to see how the program works before investing money and time. Many software providers offer trial periods to first-time users that allows you to either download a past version or sign-up for the current one with limited functionality online.
  • Consider asking for expert assistance. An accountant, for example, may be able to assist in your selection and helping with set-up, training and support.

Let me know when you make the switch and how everything goes with the accounting program!