Explanation of on-site and off-site accounting services

Most small and medium-sized businesses do not require a full-time bookkeeper. Most part-time bookkeepers hired by these companies usually don’t stay around for very long. These companies do their work for an accounting firm.

Generally, an accounting firm provides two types of services, on-site accounting services and off-site accounting services. This article will explain in detail what each of these services is and its advantages and disadvantages.

For on-site bookkeeping, an accountant physically goes to work at the place of business. It is somewhat similar to the bookkeeper you hire with a few differences. The accounting firm sends an accountant to the client’s office.

There are many advantages to an on-site accounting service. The biggest advantage is obviously the money you save by hiring someone only for the days you need it.

When you have this type of service, you don’t have to stick with the same bookkeeper if you think it’s not working well for you. Just call the company and someone else may do the work for you. When you find the right bookkeeper, you can ask the company to hire the same person. You can never do this if you hire an accountant.

Another benefit is that you don’t have to worry about employee benefits. You pay the accounting firm directly, so there’s no paycheck involved.

Accounting and tax rules are complex and probably not fully understood by most bookkeepers. When you receive on-site service, there are other bookkeepers your bookkeeper can ask questions. Most of these companies are ready to help you.

There are also some downsides to on-site accounting. Onsite accounting service varies from one accounting firm to another. Some companies have minimum purchase requirements for their services. For example, this may mean that you must meet at least a certain number of days per week to receive service on the site.

Since your on-site bookkeeper is not working for you full time, you will still have to do some work, such as collecting bills and invoices, when he is not working.

An accounting firm works in your office for outsourced accounting. This type of service is also called a virtual bookkeeping service (no, it’s not a computer working for you, a real person works on your files). Basically, it’s as if your accountant’s office is far away from your business location. You need to submit your documents like bills, challans, bank statements etc. to the accounting firm.

The main advantage of outsourced accounting is the cost of service. It’s surprisingly cheap (as cheap as $50 per month) compared to the on-site bookkeeping service. If you can’t afford to hire an accountant, you should at least get an outside bookkeeping service. At these prices, it’s almost ridiculous not to do the accounting or try to do the accounting yourself.

Some companies send their own express courier service to collect your documents. If you are computer savvy, you can scan your documents and email them or upload them to your website. You can also send your documents by fax. While sending a large number of invoices, receipts and statements via email or fax certainly takes more time, these methods are good when you only need to send one or two documents, such as missing invoices or bank details, etc.

Always confirm which services are included when purchasing an external bookkeeping service. Some companies do not provide a payroll service or tax collection service when you purchase a regular outsourced accounting service. Some provide you with monthly reports, while other companies may provide you with their annual reports.

Another important thing to remember is to make sure you know what software your accounting firm uses. While we all prefer bookkeepers with years or decades of experience, they may be using old or nearly outdated software. At the time of this writing, the two most popular programs used by most bookkeepers are QuickBooks and Simple Accounting.

Lastly, stay away from home business bookkeepers unless you are absolutely sure of the quality of their service. They may discontinue their service at any time in the future and you may keep your company data completely unusable.