Why your Accounting Practice should go virtual
The internet has provided a whole range of new opportunities for businesses to not only save money but to also provide flexibility in the way that things are done. For businesses that embrace the internet the opportunities are endless, you can grow your business quicker and cheaper than ever before. For businesses that don't embrace the internet there will be more and more competition both locally and internationally that you will have to contend with. Listed below are 7 ways that accounting practices can take advantage of the cloud to not only save money but to also become much more cost effective.
1) Prestige Address Back in the old days of setting up an accounting practice you would need to get yourself a relatively expensive office in a nice area and then fit it out with appropriate furniture and office equipment. Unfortunately, during those times, whether you spent a fortune or you spent a minor amount you could then be misjudged by your potential clients. If you spent too much then they could think that you are charging too much and are too expensive and if your fitout was too cheap they would potentially think that this would reflect the level of service that you would be providing. These days there are so many other options available to the accounting startup. Firstly, rather than getting yourself a physical office you could simply go for a virtual office or a serviced office. If you are spending most of your time at clients premises then it may make good sense to simply go virtual. With a virtual office you get many of the benefits of a prestigious CBD address without having to lay out all of the money needed. Virtual offices generally cost just 1-2% of the cost of a physical space! Also, if you do need to meet with clients at your premises you can quite often organise for a meeting room or board room for the meeting. These rooms can usually be rented by the hour and can be rented just when you need them.
2) Your Own Receptionist If you don't have a full time physical office space then you definitely don't need a full time physical receptionist. One of the problems in having a physical receptionist is that you can never accurately predict what the work load is going to be at any point in time. One minute you could be getting a regular call every 15 minutes while the next you could be getting a call every 2-3 minutes while an hour later your receptionist might be sitting around for 2 hours waiting for a call. A cheaper and more effective way to handle these incoming calls is to get your practice a virtual receptionist like the one offered by VirtualOffice.Sydney. With a virtual receptionist you can have a trained, skilled receptionist available to answer your incoming calls when they come in (24/7 if you want) and you will only pay them when they are answering calls. This means that if there are no calls to be answered then you don't have to pay. It's a much better and cheaper alternative to having a physical staff member.
3) Flexibility With Staff Employing staff in Australia can be very expensive. Firstly, you have the high salary cost to attend with which can range from anything like 40k per year for a receptionist to 100k plus for a qualified accountant. On top of the salary costs you have to contend with all of the other on-costs like holiday pay, sick leave, superannuation costs, workers comp, etc etc. Wouldn't it be easier if you had a flexible workforce that you can use when you need them. By making use of virtual staff you can keep your staff costs low and get the added flexibility of having extra staff when you need them. Types of roles that can be effectively outsourced include receptionists, admin assistants, researchers, junior accounting roles, bookkeeping roles and more. Some of these staff may be used on a needs basis whilst others might just be employed in low cost environments. Either way, it is a great way to inject some flexibility into your Australian workforce.
4) Get a work/life balance All work and no play will make your accounting practice more of a burden than a pleasure. Whilst it is quite reasonable to work long hours in the early days of setting up your practice it does not make a lot of sense to work 16 hour days 7 days a week when you have been operating for 6 months or more. One way to get yourself a good work life balance is to ensure that you have professional, trained staff on call when you need them. These staff could be receptionist staff, administration staff or offshore accounting staff.
5) Secure Your Data Previously, if you needed computing power or computer storage you would need to buy yourself a server, get yourself a NAS, buy a storage cabinet and potentially a UPS system. These days computing power is much more of a commodity. If you need a server you can get yourself a VPS (virtual private server), if all you need is computing power then you can potentially rent the use of a CPU. If you need to backup your data then there are a variety of services that you can use to backup and restore your data online, no need any more for managing all of those tapes or backup devices.
6) Marketing on tap In the good old days the only real marketing that an accounting practice would do would be to put a sign up out the front and then wait for the business to roll in. These days it is a totally different kettle of fish. Accountants nowadays need to be online marketers, they need to understand how a website works, how to generate business from Google+ and how to use adwords. Rather than trying to do all of these things yourself why not look for an effective marketing consultant to help you with all of these tasks. Employing an external marketing consultant could be a great way to boost your sales and drive new business. A good marketing consultant should more than pay for themselves in terms of generating new sales.
7) Save Lot's Of Cash At the end of the day, when you started your accounting practice you did so to try to make a decent amount of money. The internet provides a whole range of ways that you can do things cheaper by doing them virtually. Whether it be by making use of virtual offices, having a virtual receptionist or a virtual assistant or by making use of virtual technology there are some really great ways for you to cut your costs and make more money for your practice.