Remote Bookkeeping Services

Remote bookkeeping is going to become more and more prevalent for small businesses for a few basic reasons. First, it is efficient for the bookkeepers. This means we can charge less because we can go from one client to the next with no travel increasing our billable hours. This is good. Second, it is convenient for the client because you don’t have to make space for a physical human being. Depending on the setup option you choose, you might have to reserve a computer while we are logged in, however if the computer that hosts the QuickBooks file is is used during the day, we can have a bookkeeper log in during the evening hours when no one is there. This means less interruption during normal business hours. Because of the portability of QuickBooks we can also log in and upload a copy of QuickBooks to ourselves. This will mean 5 minutes that someone has to stop working on that computer while we do this. Then when we are finished we can log in after hours and download the updated copy of QuickBooks to your computer. Of course during this time no changes can be made by anyone at your office to QuickBooks. I have one client that I work this way with (actually through a VPN, no computer needed) and it works beautifully. I can even pay his bills by setting the checks “To Be Printed”. When the QuickBooks Company File is back on his server I e-mail him to let him know, and he just opens up his QuickBooks as if it never left his server. Then he prints the batch of checks and signs them. This is convenient for him and I, and it is really efficient while still allowing for him to review all checks before they are sent.

I mentioned “portability of QuickBooks files”. The reality is that with services like yousendit and other FTP site options it is easily to seamlessly transfer your file without interruption on your part. If the file is particularly large, then we simply save a QuickBooks Portable Company file before we upload. None of this really matters to you as the business owner, all you care about is that we will get your file, work on it and put it back without you even feeling it!

So how do we get your information in order to work on your books remotely? There are a few ways to do this. The BEST way is when the client is comfortable and trusts us with the login info for their bank & credit card accounts. It is possible to give us read only access with most banks so that all we could ever do is download the information into QuickBooks and categorize the transactions. The other way is you send us the PDF’s and we enter them manually. It really doesn’t matter to us. In some cases we will set up a private blog site – you can easily upload documents as well as post notes for us as far as things you need us to follow up on. Yes of course you could e-mail that too, but the blog gives us nice platform to track the progress on things while e-mails get filed and forgotten!

So how do we log in to your computer?

The best way is that we set up a VPN (Virtual Private Network) on your server where the QuickBooks file is hosted. This enables us to get to your file without you even needing to interrupt anyone at any computer there. The other way is that we set up one of our gotomypc accounts on your computer. Finally you can set up your own gotomypc (or other remote access) and give us the information we need to log in to your computer. If we provide the gotomypc account there is an annual charge of $150 (about half of what it costs to have your own) and you can use it all you like to get access to your files and of course your own QuickBooks file. As long as you are a client the account is yours to use.

Setting up the VPN will of course require about 3 hours of time with our IT department at $150/hour, once this is done, however you have permanent remote access set up and it doesn’t cost another dime. Oh and yes – we can do this remotely!

In the process we will also be working with you to go as much paperless as possible – scanning bills and other documents in order to make them available to us for input. This is better (more efficient) for you and of course better for the environment – and we like that!

What About Security?

Of course we do everything in our power to protect your information. Everything we see is confidential and treated as such. Our service agreement provides for a bi-lateral NDA (we give you information about our company that we do not want disclosed to the general public as well). The VPN’s are all very secure as is gotomypc.

You can read more about remote bookkeeping services in our main website:

http://www.nerdenterprises.com/accounting/in_house_bookkeeping.htm

Please feel free to post your questions in the form of comments here.

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  1. July 24, 2009 at 3:46 PM

    Hello, I have viewed your excel blog also. My question regarding this article is. This is a great way to work with clients. How do you get them to become comfortable with the idea of remote access?

  2. July 24, 2009 at 4:01 PM

    Hi!

    Usually I meet with them in person first, then develop a relationship so that by the time I am getting involved on the remote basis, the trust is there. This of course becomes a challenge when someone is say in a different state and the in person phase is not a possibility. In cases like that I would ask them to try it with me (they can be there when I log in initially) and see how this works. So it’s the next best thing to saying I will be there in person. The other thing I can do (or recommend) is that I already have clients who do this with me so I would ask them to give a testimonial or recommendation in support of the convenience it provides. It also helps to be an established company incorporated and with a history – so for me I can demonstrate these things and based on that establish at least enough trust for someone to try me out. If I was careless or otherwise compromising people’s security wiht the remote service I would not stay in business very long. I haven’t had a single complaint yet!

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