Happy Bookkeeping has a paperless, virtual office. We operate entirely remotely, and have for the entire time we’e been in business. In the current business climate, employees are working from home in record numbers. We’ve seen a lot of posts on the internet about virtualization and remote work, so we though we would share our process. What we do has been working well for years, so here’s what we do, and why we chose to have a remote office.
What makes our remote office work?
Workflow is how we make a paperless, virtual office work. Everyone knows what the tools are and how to use them, and we standardize our tools across all our clients. Everyone on our team knows where to find everything (online). To-do lists, emails, documents, and transactions are all kept in the same places in the same system, regardless of which project or client. All of our software enables sharing between team members.
However, we also do our best to work with client technologies when possible. We want to slide seamlessly into other workflows often as we can, becoming a virtual extension of client offices. However, doing so sometimes means bridging the gap between our system and a client system that doesn’t really work for bookkeeping. Sometimes that’s due to security, or maybe it’s ease of use. For example, we often work with Google Docs and Sheets on the client side but internally we rarely use either one.
What are the benefits of a virtual office?
Our technology-friendly approach to finance is important because it means we can offer the same services whether you are one block away or 1,000 miles away. We have a proven track record with partners and clients across the United States.
Shared software, email, audit trails, and online files and change records allow our clients to be 100% aware of our work process and product, if they choose. Given that our clients are trusting us with their confidential information, we feel that transparency and honestly is crucially important, and our virtual office is easily more transparent than the alternatives.
Paperless offices mean all documents and their contents are indexed. Information is easily searchable, scannable and shareable. We can communicate easily with any team member or client both asynchronously and instantaneously through email, chat and workgroup software. Cloud software in the browser has greatly reduced technology barriers between clients with different types of hardware, leading to ease of collaboration.
Our security is as good as the online world allows and surpasses IRS recommendations for tax preparers. VPN software, password management programs, encrypted email, secure file sharing, and security-minded bookkeeping software keeps your financial data safe. We participate in annual IRS updates on security as well as following privacy and other news sources for the latest in financial security.
What technologies do we use?
Core Virtualization Technologies
Accounting Software: We most often use Quickbooks Online for accounting, and it has proven to be a good addition to our virtual office. We also use Xero and Sage. Why those three? While we’re familiar with other bookkeeping platforms, we always choose to use well-tested, reputable software that features double-entry accounting, audit trails, and apps for extended capabilities.
Online Security: Our security starts with constant use of VPNs. Next, add in the use of encryption wherever it’s possible. 1Password is key to our system for managing private information and passwords. We also use things like hardware protection software and private file-sharing services, PDF passwords, electronic signatures and other similar software.
File Storage, Remote-Style: We use Dropbox and email forwarding for getting documentation where it’s supposed to be and storing it. Occasionally we use Google Drive, but it’s less flexible and has greater privacy issues. For mobile scanning, we recommend GeniusScan for direct scanning using your phone’s camera to email or Dropbox. We retain no paper files, but if you have them, we’re happy to scan them for you.
Meetings: Not local but want to talk? It’s not a problem.We frequently “talk” to clients via email or Slack. We conduct client meetings via remote conferencing software like Zoom, Google Meeting and Hangouts, GoTo Meeting, Facetime, and Slack. We also meet in-person if it’s possible.
Banking: We can’t forget banks! Online banking plays a big part in our ability to work with financial information remotely. We use cloud and mobile portals extensively. We’ve worked with all the major bank and credit card companies, as well as numerous regional banks.
We also use project management software, and we work with a lot of other payment processors and other technology, as well as third-party payroll processors. Here’s a simplified list of some of the technologies we use on a regular basis.
When I Work