Busting Top 5 Myths About Outsourcing Bookkeeping Services

Busting Top 5 Myths About Outsourcing Bookkeeping Services

I say it all the time, 99% of business owners did not get into business to do bookkeeping, you got into business to sell your products and services. Bookkeeping is usually the first task to get pushed down your to-do list and the task that gives you the most headaches. Which means, it is the first task that should be outsourced.

But it shouldn’t be outsourced to anyone, the bookkeeper you hire should be experienced and you should understand the fundamentals of bookkeeping. A good bookkeeper will help you understand your financial statements but before you hire you probably have a few questions (or hesitations) about how bookkeeping works, how to find a great bookkeeper and where to even start the process. Let’s break down the top 5 myths of outsourcing bookkeeping.

Image with a calculator and spreadsheet in the background and "myth" written on the front

Myth #1: A Business Owner Should Do Their Own Bookkeeping

True…and false…A business owner will probably start by doing their own bookkeeping but if you don’t complete your bookkeeping according to standardized accounting practices’ and don’t know how to read the financial statements, you should hand it off immediately. Most business owners who engage us to do their bookkeeping usually have the same story: They are spending evenings catching up on receipts, categorizing expenses wrong and spending thousands more on an accountant who has to tidy up at year-end.

If you are not making mistakes and understand how to read the financial statements, great, but your time is still better spent elsewhere doing high-level tasks that grow your business. Your bookkeeping can be done by a professional who checks in to ensure you are sending the documents they need so that when it comes time for you to meet with them to review the statements, they are accurately prepared.

Truth #1: A Business Owner does not need to do their own bookkeeping, however, they do need to hire someone qualified and understand how to read the financial statements.

Myth #2: My Accountant Can Do My Books

At a premium, absolutely they can! Accountant rates are at least double the price of a bookkeeper and many accountants hand-off the bookkeeping to a trained bookkeeper anyway but still charge the accountant rate. (Not so fun fact, many Accountants don’t know how to do bookkeeping.) As mentioned above, if you are using an Accountant to do your books, it is usually done at year-end which gives you 12 months without proper data on how your business is doing. If you prefer higher rates and no financial picture for 12 months, hire an Accountant instead of a Bookkeeper to do your books.

Truth #2: An Accountant can do your books at a much higher rate.

Myth #3: A Bookkeeper Isn’t Trustworthy with My Bank Accounts

No one should have direct access to your bank accounts unless you absolutely trust them and review bank statements separately on your own. A Bookkeeper should have access to your bank account but with limited permissions. By giving them limited permissions this protects both of you. If a Bookkeeper is eager to have your username and password without limited permissions, you should find another Bookkeeper.

To get around having complete access to your accounts, Bookkeepers will receive your financial statements through software like QuickBooks Online (QBO), Zoho or Sage. This is outside of having limited permissions, but using a proper software and giving your Bookkeeper limited permissions means less work for you.

Truth #3: A Bookkeeper doesn’t want or need full access to your bank account.

Myth #4: Virtual Bookkeepers are Less Experienced

True and false. This should be a concern for you so only hire a Bookkeeper with years of experience, comes with references and never sign a long-term contract. Go month to month and if you don’t like what they are doing or feel they don’t know what they are doing, remove their access and move on to someone else.

At VEA Office Professionals, our Bookkeepers have at least 5, but most have 10+ years of experience working with business owners. They have seen it all and are not afraid of messy books. Our team will have your books up to date with financial statements coming out every month, so you know exactly where your business stands financially. Our team is also located across North America, so they understand the expectations of the federal government when it comes to bookkeeping. Whether you need a Bookkeeper in Calgary, a Bookkeeper in Toronto or a Bookkeeper in New York, our team knows the ins and outs to keep you on track and within the laws.

Truth #4: The right Bookkeeper is experienced and will help you grow your business.

Myth #5: I Can’t Send My Receipts to an Outsourced Bookkeeper

With the software that we use, you never have to send a physical receipt to anyone ever again. Dext allows you to take a picture of receipts or forward email receipts or invoices. From there it syncs up to your bookkeeping software, meaning those shoe boxes full of receipts are great but basically obsolete.  It also saves your Bookkeeper time from having to reconcile all your receipts, which saves you money.

Truth #5: You don’t need to send your receipts to your Bookkeeper.

Conclusion:

You should be hesitant about hiring anyone, let alone a virtual Bookkeeper, but you should also be vigilant about ensuring who you hire is certified, experienced and up-to-date on local regulations. If being clear on the financial picture of your business, not having to hand off receipts and not staying up in the evening to complete your books sound too good to be true, book a call with VEA to get back to high-level tasks while trusting that your books are well taken care of.

Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales & Marketing

 

 

How a Virtual Executive Assistant Can Transform Your Small Business

How a Virtual Executive Assistant Can Transform Your Small Business

Do you and your small business need to be rescued from a long list of ever-growing administrative tasks?  Managing your calendar, updating your social media, helping with client relations, invoice creation and invoice chasing, plus travel booking – it all takes SO.  MUCH. TIME!

A Virtual Assistant can come to your rescue.  Virtual Assistants are not superheroes…but they are darn close to it!

There are so many advantages to virtual assistant services for small businesses, all of which add up to less stress for you and more time to attend to growing your business. Just picture this:

1. A Virtual Assistant can be there when you aren’t.

If you were to hire help to work with you onsite, your new assistant would likely be from the same city and definitely the same time zone. 

Why not extend your ‘open hours’ and your ‘office locations’ by hiring a Virtual Assistant from another part of the country…another time zone?  By having a live body attend to your business before you start your day or after you call it quitting time, your business can be attended to for a longer time by a REAL person.  So great for customer relations!  And happy customers translate to business stability and growth for your small business.

2. A Virtual Assistant can fill in the gaps.

You are a fantastically talented professional (c’mon…brag a bit!), but you don’t know how to do it all, nor do you want to. 

By hiring a Virtual Assistant for small business owners, you can complement your skills by hiring an Assistant who has the skills to round out your business and help you take it to the next level. From recommending improvements to streamline your business processes, to creating forms and templates, to basic bookkeeping…a Virtual Executive Assistant can offer a set of complementary skills – or shall we say the crackers to your cheese?

3. A Virtual Assistant can be the second brain in your brainstorming.

As the old adage says, “Two heads are better than one.”  There is wisdom in that statement!  As a small business owner, you are used to working on your own. 

But wouldn’t it be nice to have someone to hash things over with every once in a while?  Virtual Assistants for small business owners have experience in being a sounding board and can offer the wisdom of their experiences or a fresh perspective on your ideas and business plans.

4. A Virtual Assistant is cost-efficient.

Maybe you have thought about hiring an Assistant but can’t justify the cost of adding another position to your company’s payroll.

Source deductions, benefits, and vacation pay are all costs you just can’t justify at this stage in the business life cycle.  Enter Virtual Assistant services for small businesses.  The savings are two-fold.  First, by hiring Virtual Assistant services for small businesses, you pay an hourly rate and are not obliged to pay a cent more. At VEA we cover the rest by contracting our Virtual Executive Assistants to you.

And second, you pay for only the time you need, varying from month to month as your business needs ebb and flow.  This gives you the flexibility to have help when you need it, without worrying about costly downtime or wage-related expenses.

Flowers

Conclusion

So…do you think it’s time for you to virtually go ‘plus one’ up?  By hiring virtual assistant services for small businesses, you will expand your open-for-business hours and get help to tackle your daily administrative needs. 

You will add an on-call administrative professional with skills that complement your own, and who can lend an ear to bounce off new business ideas and strategies. All of this, without formally committing another person to your payroll.  It’s the best of both worlds. 

Consider hiring a Virtual Assistant for your small businesses. After taking the time to train your Virtual Assistant you can start to take moments to sit back and enjoy life without worrying about emails, phone calls and scheduling.

 

Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales and Marketing

Why Your Business Needs a Virtual Executive Assistant

Why Your Business Needs a Virtual Executive Assistant

Before we even get into this, you might be asking yourself, what exactly is a Virtual Executive Assistant? The answer is simple! They are highly valuable and experienced team members that can access the necessary tools and data that a traditional in-office Executive Assistant does. Only remotely.

Before you argue that you need someone in-house to be able to truly get the job done, let me give you some insight into why your business needs a Virtual Executive Assistant.

A cup and a laptop on a table.

1. Your day is filled with monotonous tasks leaving you no room to focus on growth.

Your time is valuable. You are the head of your company. The visionary. The creator. Therefore, you need time to be in your Zone of Genius. To be able to grow your business to new heights. To be able to focus on the bigger picture, not the day-to-day tasks.

Common administrative tasks such as, booking meetings, answering emails, or even making travel arrangements, can be time-consuming, daunting, and ruin your creative flow. You don’t need to use up your energy with these tasks, a Virtual Executive Assistant can handle all of these with ease.

2. You know you need help but not enough for a full-time assistant.

Your business is growing but you don’t have a big enough workload to fill 8 hours of the day that a full-time assistant would require. You don’t want to pay someone to stare at a computer screen for 6 of the 8 hours in a typical workday and hiring a part-time employee is no easy task. It’s hard enough trying to find a full-time good fit these days. That pool gets even smaller when you are looking for a part-time person.

Most Virtual Executive Assistants work with multiple clients, so you get the expertise of a full-time employee that has worked with various executives for a variety of different organizations. But you only pay them for the time you need them.

3. You don’t have time to hire and train an employee.

Listing the job posting, sorting through thousands of unqualified resumes trying to find the diamond in the rough, interviewing multiple people only to have to do a second round and possibly lose your top candidate to another company because you didn’t have the time to offer them a position before they got scooped up by someone else. Sounds like a long, inefficient, and arduous process, doesn’t it?

VEA has a large team of Virtual Executive Assistants which means you don’t have to sort through a pile of resumes and take the time for monotonous interviews. We do it all for you. After our initial call we hand-match you to the best fit or let you interview between the top two we think will be a great fit for you and your business. No AI or “next up”, everything is done by our experienced Onboarding Concierge to make sure the fit is right for you.

VEA’s home base is in Calgary, Alberta, Canada but has contractors all over Canada to choose from. Virtual Executive Assistants in Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver or surrounding areas from coast to coast.

Each of our Virtual Executive Assistants has years of experience already and if there is something they need help with? Well, they also come with a whole support system ready to help. VEA can provide training on certain software, assist with problem-solving, and even provide a backup EA if needed.

4. You’re a creator, not an organizer.

Let’s face it, we are all built differently. It has been proven that many of us only operate on either the right side or the left side of our brains most of the time. This means if you are a creator, a designer, or an entrepreneur, you more than likely are not the most organized individual. If you happen to be an individual that is both, congratulations! You are an anomaly! But still, your time could be better spent than doing administrative tasks.

However, if you are more like other right-brain entrepreneurs, you may need some assistance with your organization and administrative tasks. Executive Assistants thrive on organization and structure. They are wired to take on the tasks that you may normally find a constant struggle. They love to help and make your life easier.

Conclusion

Bottom line: Virtual Executive Assistants can offer even more than most traditional EAs because having a whole team of support and resources constantly backing them up makes them an endless bucket of knowledge. Some that maybe even have a few organization tricks you never even thought to help streamline your processes helping eliminate time-wasting clerical errors.

Virtual EAs cost you nothing in equipment or office supplies. No need to pay for an office space for them and no need to provide traditional employee benefits because they come with their own. They are independent contractors that have already taken care of everything they need.

A clock with averlay text "Looking for more time to do what you love? Hire a Virtual EA."

So, is the question really, why your business needs a Virtual Executive Assistant or is it, how can you afford NOT to get a Virtual Executive Assistant?

If you are ready to join thousands of business owners that have already realized that Virtual Executive Assistants are a smart investment in your company’s future, give VEA a call today!

Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales and Marketing

Tips for Maintaining Work-Life Balance Using a Virtual Executive Assistant

Tips for Maintaining Work-Life Balance Using a Virtual Executive Assistant

“Work to live, not live to work.”  How many times have you heard this from friends and family, or have seen this motto on promoted in a meme on social media?  For many Small Business Owners, working to live is easier said than done.  

Let’s face it – if you don’t work to run your business…then there IS NO business.  So, what can you do to turn the tables?  You could go back to a ‘9 to 5’ again…but then again… NOT!  You love your small business and are hungry to make it thrive. Your business is a big part of who you are, and you’re not prepared to give it up, no matter what the cost.  So, then what?  

Maybe it simply means that you need to work smarter, filling your days with the business you love, and less time spent doing business tasks that, while are necessary, are not your jam.

Unorganized computer desk

If you feel like your work-life balance is more off-balance than balanced, it’s time to enlist the help of a Virtual Executive Assistant.

1. Take Back the Night

Or your nights…and your weekends!  As a Small Business Owner, you attend to your core business and the needs of your clients all day.  Your business is all consuming and it’s what pays the bills!  Unfortunately, that may mean you are stuck doing your business administration work after hours, often eating into your much needed free time.  You know – making client invoices, reviewing the day’s emails, basic bookkeeping – that kind of busy work that must be done, but is so time consuming and tedious.

You need and deserve a break!  Hiring a Virtual Executive Assistant could be the solution you are looking for.  By offloading administrative and routine tasks to a Virtual Executive Assistant, you can open time for yourself to make your nights and weekends FUN again.  Finally check out that new restaurant you’ve been wanting to try, escape the city for a weekend, catch-up with friends, go for a run, binge that Netflix series everyone is talking about – the sky’s the limit, and a Virtual Executive Assistant can help take you there by giving you the gift of free time.

At VEA, our Virtual Executive Assistants come to the job ready to work, armed with experience and skills that let them hit the ground running.

2. Get a New Rhythm (And We Don’t Mean Dancing)

As a Small Business Owner, you know that there are administrative tasks that simply must be attended to during working hours.  The problem with these tasks is that they can be noisy and demand immediate attention, cutting into the productive routine of your day.  Answering client inquiries, scheduling appointments, returning routine phone calls – these are just a few of the administrative interruptions that can wreak havoc on the precious time of your daily business.

Yet there is no doubt that the completion of these tasks in a timely manner, while not your core business, are critical to your success.  Why not hand these tasks over to an Virtual Executive Assistant and consider them done!  Our Virtual Executive Assistants are experts at time management, making it easy for them to juggle many balls in the air at the same time.

There also may be personal tasks that need attention during the day, that ever-growing nagging list of to-dos that you can just never get to:

  • making a dentist appointment
  • booking lunch with a friend or colleague
  • finding that perfect gift for your significant other.

These kinds of things are important in your life too, and somehow you need to find the time to get them done.  But like the shoemaker’s kid, they are the last to ‘get the shoes’.

Our Virtual Executive Assistants are double agents and also complete basic Online Personal Assistant tasks.  Having helped other Small Business Owners just like you, our Virtual Executive Assistants can easily slip your personal tasks in amongst your required business administration work.  Not only that, but they also come equipped with tons of experience and may be able to provide you with suggestions or ideas of things they can help you with that you may not have considered.

3. More Time = More Business

Do you ever feel like you are busy all day, jumping from business task to meeting, and back to business task – but you are not making any headway?  Frustrating, right?  

This kind of exhausting, busy tempo is all too familiar with Small Business Owners because there is just so much to do and so little time.  But there is also the possibility that you could need some help with time management.  One of the beauties of having a Virtual Executive Assistant is they are one step removed from your core business, so they can step back and look at the bigger picture of your day with a fresh perspective.  

A Virtual Executive Assistant can help you by managing your busting-at-the-seams calendar, helping to create some much-needed space in your day.  By being mindful of how and when appointments are booked, your Virtual Executive Assistant can create time blocks in your day for focused time.  And focused time is what small business owners need.  Focused time offers you uninterrupted THINKING time, which is what you need to brainstorm ideas to maintain your businesses or push it to the next level. 

Conclusion

So, to summarize, if you are a Small Business Owner who needs help creating more time in your day but are hamstringed by an overload of administrative and personal tasks or by a lack of time in your daily calendar, it’s time to consider getting help.

You know you don’t want to commit to a part-time or full-time salaried employee, so a Virtual Executive Assistant could be just the ticket:  no overhead; on demand and flexible services; experienced, professional, and ready to work.  A Virtual Executive Assistant could mean the difference between you working to live – and not living to work.  And let’s face it, isn’t that what life is all about?

 

Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales & Marketing

Staying Productive While Working From Home

Staying Productive While Working From Home

Working from home is new for a lot of people, which means you are trying to figure it out quickly. I have been working from home for 4 years. In that time, we have had two kids (a now almost 4-year-old and a 3-month-old). I have been through the ringer, so here is advice from me, someone who has seen a lot.

Everything Starts the Night Before

Sunday night is crucial. It can set the tone for the whole week and allow you to go to bed with a clear plan Monday morning. I take a good 15-30 minutes to get prepared – here is what I do:

Sunday night:

  • Create my to-do lists, breaking down each task and goal to accomplish by the end of the week
  • Clear my notifications – E-mails, social media, and Slack notifications so I don’t have to clear a big backlog of junk, and unnecessary messages Monday morning
  • However, I do not respond to clients, staff or colleagues at this time. I don’t want anyone to expect that they can call or e-mail me on the weekend or after hours and get a response

Sunday-Thursday Night:

  • Prepare my clothes & toiletries for the next morning, including laying out my gym clothes to change into first thing
  • Place my books/journal for my morning routine on the table next to my chair
  • Prepare healthy snacks – Veggies, nuts, etc.

The Morning Routine

Starting well in the morning sets your pace for the whole day, I am sure many of us have seen the “Make your Bed” speech from William McRaven a US Navy Admiral.

I have created a morning routine that works for me in this season. If you count all of the morning routines I have created in the last 10 years alone, you would find at least 8-12. It constantly has to change. One season it’s working, another it gets stale. Here is my current morning routine under quarantine:

  • 6:00 – Read, meditate, pray
  • 6:30 – Read a business book
  • 7:00 – Clear notifications (e-mail, social media, Slack)
  • 7:15 – Make Breakfast with my oldest daughter
  • 7:30 – Eat breakfast and play with my kids
  • 8:15 – Get ready for my day, brush teeth, etc.
  • 8:30 – Start working

Due to my structured night-time routine, my mornings are seamless. I am working on being a morning person, but since it is still a battle, I want to make sure my only task is to shut off my alarm, get dressed and sit in a chair.

Three Ways to Stay Productive While Working

As mentioned above, every season looks different for what works and what doesn’t. When it comes to productivity, the first two months this year were tough. In the past week, I have hit my sweet spot of productivity thanks to these three recent finds.

The Mastery Journal

I follow John Lee Dumas (JLD) from Entrepreneurs on Fire. He created a “Mastery Journal” and this week I downloaded the fillable PDF. It has been a game-changer! He focuses on productive hours worked in short bursts. The goal of short bursts of time is to do it completely focused. No e-mail, no phone, no social media. You choose a task you want to accomplish and go 100% at it until your timer goes off. Here are two ways to keep on track.

Egg Timer

Use the ‘Egg Timer’ on-line. This keeps your phone away from you and even turned off if needed. Be careful with the volume on your computer when the egg timer goes off, it usually startles a few choice words out of me.

Stay Focused Extension

Download the ‘Stay Focused’ Chrome extension. I have added websites I waste time on to the extension like Facebook, LinkedIn, Gmail, & Twitter. I am allowed 10 minutes on those 4 apps during my workday. It keeps me from going down rabbit holes where you expect to be on Twitter for 10 minutes and an hour later you end up finally getting back to work! If you need LinkedIn for your time block, delete it from your list of “blocked sites” the day before.

Finish Well

Finishing well is just as important as starting well. I like to close off my day by again clearing notifications, creating a to-do list for the next day and decompressing. When I used to work full-time, I was a good 15-20 minutes away from home. In that time, I was able to settle my mind and come home without the burden of the workday on me.

Now my transition is down 12 stairs in a few seconds. This is the hardest part for me right now, switching from work mode to family mode. Here is what has worked:

  • Taking 10-15 minutes to myself
  • Closing off my computer
  • Listening to music on my phone
  • Pacing the hallway and setting my intentions for the night eg. play with my kids for 2 hours, cook dinner, ask my wife about her day
  • Playing a game on my phone or scrolling personal social media
  • To end this time, I leave my phone upstairs and head downstairs

None of those things are work-related and not having my phone on me (or even in sight) when I head downstairs helps me relax. The end of day decompressing is something I still need to work on so if you have any tips, please comment below.

Added Resources

Books:

Podcasts

What works for you in this season? What isn’t working? I would love to hear from you.

Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales & Marketing, VEA Pros