When it comes to bookkeeping, you used to have two choices: hire a local freelancer or use a traditional firm. But with modern technology, we now have online bookkeeping services as well! Are you wondering which of these options is best for you? In this article we will explore the advantages of online bookkeepers vs local bookkeepers, so you can make an informed decision about which is best for you and your needs.
- Section 1: What Is The Role Of A Bookkeeper?
- Section 2: The Difference Between A Local Bookkeeper And An Online Bookkeeper
- Section 3: Advantages and Disadvantages Of Choosing An Online Bookkeeper
- Section 4: Advantages and Disadvantages Of Choosing A Local Bookkeeper
Let’s jump right in!
Section 1: What Is The Role Of A Bookkeeper
Bookkeepers are experienced professionals who understand the complex intricacies of financial record-keeping and are able to provide accurate, up-to-date financial reports.
- These services can provide a business with detailed financial statements and help them make informed decisions about their finances.
- Bookkeepers also provide important advice about tax laws and other relevant financial matters.
- Bookkeepers can provide services such as invoice processing, bank reconciliations, accounts payable/receivable services, payroll management, budgeting and more.
When it comes to bookkeeping, you have a few options: local freelancers, local bookkeeping firms, online freelancers or an online bookkeeping service provided by a firm. Here, we will outline the advantages and disadvantages of working specifically with local vs online bookkeeping firms. If you’re also not sure about the main difference between a freelancer and a bookkeeping firm, don’t worry– we cover that in our blog -> HERE.
Section 2: The Difference Between A Local Bookkeeper And An Online Bookkeeper
Local bookkeeping services are those where the accountant or bookkeeper is physically present in the office of their client. Local accounting and bookkeeping services provide hands-on service that may be necessary for some businesses, and can offer face-to-face contact with a professional. In contrast, online bookkeeping services involve working remotely via the internet.
More specifically, an online bookkeeping service is a type of service that helps businesses and individuals keep track of their finances virtually. Through the use of software, cloud technology (such as Quickbooks bookkeeping), and specialized expertise, online bookkeeping services can provide accurate financial records for businesses as well as personal finances.
Online bookkeeping services are increasingly becoming popular for small businesses, as they offer the same professional level of accounting, without the expense and resources required for a full-time in-house bookkeeper or local bookkeeping firm. This is made possible by the fact that online bookkeepers can be accessed remotely and do not need to be physically present in the office.
Section 3: Advantages and Disadvantages Of Choosing An Online Bookkeeper
If you’re considering making the choice between a local bookkeeper and online bookkeeping services, below are a few things to consider.
Advantages and Disadvantages Of Choosing An Online Bookkeeper:
- Flexibility: As we’ve discussed, the primary benefit of an online bookkeeping service is its flexibility — it can provide access to experienced professionals, regardless of location or availability. Additionally, online bookkeepers can offer their services to multiple clients in different geographical areas without the need for a physical office location. This makes it possible to access cost-effective services from wherever you may be located.
- Time Saving: Working with an online bookkeeping service can also save you time — since you don’t need to travel to their office, or wait for them to be available physically, you can access the services quickly and efficiently. This is especially beneficial if you have tight deadlines or require immediate advice and support.
- Affordability: Another advantage of online bookkeeping is its affordability — since no physical office space needs to be rented, these services cost less than hiring a local accountant or bookkeeper. This means you can access the same level of expertise and advice, without the same high costs. Additionally, online bookkeeping can be tailored to the specific needs of a business, enabling clients to only pay for the services they need. This is in contrast to local bookkeepers who may require the payment of a fixed fee, regardless of whether or not you use all their services.
- Convenience: When you utilize online bookkeeping services, all the necessary documents and files are stored online for easy access. You and your online bookkeeper can securely collaborate in a cloud-based accounting system that is regularly updated and monitored. This makes it easy to keep track of all your financial data, no matter where you are. In addition, online bookkeeping services often offer a variety of additional features such as automated invoice processing, bank reconciliations, account set up and more. This type of service is especially ideal for businesses that are just starting out or have limited resources
- Accessibility: Local bookkeepers might be limited to meeting in person, but with online bookkeeping services you have round the clock access to your bookkeeper no matter where they are located. Online bookkeeping services also offer a variety of payment methods, so you can make payments quickly and securely.
- Specialized Services: It may be easier to find an online bookkeeper who provides specialized services related to your industry as opposed to finding such services from local providers. This is because online bookkeepers can offer their services to a larger pool of clients, allowing them to specialize in more niche industries and services.Go Paperless: Using an online bookkeeper is an ideal way to avoid the hassle of handling large amounts of paperwork. All the records and statements will be stored securely online, instead of using physical files that need to be printed out or delivered through snail mail. This makes it easier for you to access all the necessary documents whenever you need them without having to rely on physical copies.
A downside of using an online bookkeeping service is that you don’t have the same face-to-face interaction as with local bookkeepers. You also may not have the same level of trust and understanding with an online bookkeeper that you would have with an in-person bookkeeper. Because of this it is especially important to find an online bookkeeper who is experienced and trustworthy. Doing research and reading reviews about the service provider is a great way to ensure you are getting the best quality of service.
Section 4: Advantages and Disadvantages Of Choosing A Local Bookkeeper
Working with a local bookkeeper can provide some advantages that online bookkeepers cannot, such as:
- Direct Contact: Local bookkeepers may be right for you if you prefer to have direct contact with your account and don’t mind the additional cost. This can be beneficial if you have complicated financial needs or want to be able to meet face-to-face with your accountant. You can establish a long-term relationship with an experienced professional who is familiar with your finances and business needs.
- Local Expertise: Local bookkeepers may be more familiar with the regulations and laws applicable to your business’s particular location, so they can provide specialized advice that online bookkeeping services may not be able to offer if they are unfamiliar with your specific area.
- Paper Receipts: If you are not quite ready to switch to a paperless accounting system, local bookkeepers can provide the necessary assistance in getting your business up and running with a paper-based system. Your bookkeeper can also help you set up and manage the paperwork associated with taxes or other government regulations.
To learn more about what kinds of paperwork is required for tax season check out our blog: IRS Receipts Requirements: The Receipts You’ll Need When The IRS Comes Knocking 
A downside of using a local bookkeeping service is that it can be costlier than an online service, as the costs associated with hiring a local bookkeeper will be higher. Depending on the location of the bookkeeper’s office, you may have to travel to get access to the services. Another disadvantage could be the length of time it takes to get all the financial documents and information organized and entered into the system, as this can sometimes take longer than if you were using an online bookkeeping service.
Ultimately, the decision between online and local bookkeeping services should be based on your own individual needs. If you need personalized service that requires face-to-face contact with an experienced professional, then a local bookkeeper may be the best option. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more affordable and accessible solution that doesn’t compromise on quality, then an online bookkeeping service could be the right choice.
Need a bookkeeper? If you are looking for help with your bookkeeping- book a Free Strategy Session with us today.
What other Bookkeeping questions do you have? Let us know in the comments!