Top Benefits of a Remote CPA

Written by Amanda Bower    |    Published: August 24, 2022

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When you’re leading a burgeoning new business, whether it’s with a team of people or it’s a sole venture, numbers matter. From finances to taxes, there’s plenty of numbers involved in your business (enough to make anyone’s head spin). And in this era of WFH and virtual offices, when it comes to a financial expert to manage all of those numbers, the best solution for many teams today is a remote CPA. 

Remember the days when working from home was a once-in-a-while occurrence? In the wake of the Coronavirus Pandemic, there was that massive switch to a more remote lifestyle, and today, about 60% of employees are still working remotely. We learned that remote employees tend to be more productive, have better mental health, and are happier, while benefits include reduced commuting time and office-related expenses.

Another benefit of the remote working world? A vastly increased talent pool. When companies are willing to maintain a remote workforce, they open up their talent pool to be much larger, and can attract world-class talent from all over the globe.

Now, when we’re talking about a CPA (or certified public accountant), businesses might hire an in-house CPA, or use a team of accounting experts. Just as we’ve learned that working remotely is better in almost all situations, we’ve also learned that remote CPAs can also bring a lot to the table, and might just be the better option for your business.

What Does a Remote CPA Do?

What exactly does a remote CPA do, and why does your business most likely need one? Remote CPAs can handle a whole host of accounting services for your business. This might include bookkeeping services (including bank account reconciliations, month-end close management, and class/job tracking), reporting, cash management services (digital A/P management, billion automation, W9 collections), annual budgeting, tax preparation services, and consulting on various financial situations. These services are crucial to the growing business, especially when studies find that a majority of small business owners don’t feel like they’re knowledgeable about financing and accounting. 

At the end of the day, a remote CPA handles your most important financial matters, ensuring that your business can run smoothly. 

Why Choose One Over an In-House Team?

Just as we’ve learned about the many benefits of remote work, there are tons of benefits to choosing a remote CPA over an in-house team. Let’s start with the cost. If you’re a new startup or high growth business, it’s very likely that your funds are limited, and they need to go directly into the growth of your business. Because of that, hiring an in-house CPA is simply out of reach for many founders and leaders, and adequate accounting services end up on the backburner. This can be a big mistake, because it can lead to some of your most important information, documents, and your business taxes being mishandled. 

Next is different tiers and services. When you’re working with a remote CPA, they likely will have different service plans you can choose from which are suited to your needs. That means as you experience growth, you can add on additional accounting services from them. On the other hand, when you choose to work with an in-house CPA, their services tend to be limited to their individual experience and capacity.

A third reason why choosing a remote CPA might be beneficial over an in-house team is that you have access to world-class talent at your fingertips. Instead of being limited to CPAs in your area, you can tap into the wealth of talent that is available online. Remote CPAs need to be experts in managing their accounts digitally, and that means they typically use the latest techniques, tech, and processes to manage your accounting in the most advanced and accurate ways possible. 

What to Look for in a Remote CPA

While you might be thinking that a remote CPA is definitely the way to go, actually choosing the right remote CPA for your business can be a little more challenging. When you’re looking at online profiles and flashy landing pages, how can you tell who is truly going to be the right remote CPA for your business?

Here are some characteristics of an excellent remote CPA, and some traits to look out for during your search.

Good Communication Skills

If you’re leading a remote team, you know just how important good communication skills are in the era of working from anywhere. If someone doesn’t have great communication skills, you might not hear from them all day, even if they’re technically “online,” and they might sit quietly on Zoom meetings. We all know how difficult these practices can be in the era of remote work.

These same needs and challenges apply to your remote CPA. You want a remote CPA who is communicative, proactive, available, and able to deal with the challenges of the dreaded “Zoom delay.” You should feel like your remote CPA understands you and your business as if they were in the room with you.

Predictable Schedule

Aside from remote CPAs, there are different types of outsourced accounting services you can use. But not all outsourced and remote accounting services are created equal. For example, if you’re working with a freelance accountant, they might work on an atypical schedule. This might mean you end up receiving 20 messages at midnight one day, and no communication for the next week. You should look for remote CPAs that work in a way that suits your business needs.

Able to Learn Your Business Quickly

When you choose to work with a remote CPA, you should look for one who is able to learn your business quickly, so they can quickly assume the role of your accounting expert. At the end of the day, the job of your remote CPA is to learn your business inside and out, as quickly as reasonably possible. They should hone in on your business, start to study it, and dissect what’s happening on the inside, so they can best serve your accounting needs.

A Proactive Planner

Remote CPAs aren’t there just to react to accounting needs, but instead, they should be taking a proactive approach to your business. Regular reporting needs? Taken care of in advance. Growth spurt leading to different tax liabilities? They’ve got that covered. 

Look for a remote CPA who is planning for your needs down the line. Remember that a remote CPA is there to minimize accounting surprises, and to plan proactively as much as possible.

Team-Based, Not Only Individuals

Working with a remote CPA doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to work with only one person. You might choose to partner with a financial provider that actually supplies you with a team-based approach to remote CPAs. There are many benefits to this, because it means that you have the power of multiple financial experts in your corner, who are well-versed in your business needs. 

Helps Plan for the Future + Unexpected

If there’s one thing that running a startup is, it’s unpredictable . The future is typically very unclear, even if there are goals and ideas in mind. But remote CPAs know that, and they’ve got your back. Look for remote CPAs who are there to help you plan for that future you’re dreaming of, and who ensure that you’re in the best place to get there. They’re also there for when those unexpected moments do come your way, so you can react in the best way possible. 

Match Services to Your Needs

While there are plenty of CPAs out there, not every remote CPA is skilled in startups, small business, and other unique business ventures. You want someone who knows the ins and outs of your business structure, and who has experience working in this rapidly changing landscape. 

4 Benefits of a Remote CPA

Now that you know what to look for in a remote CPA, here are some of the top benefits of working with one.

Finances

It’s safe to say that most businesses are interested in saving money. Even if you’re going through a growth spurt and you’re hitting all of your goals, cash flow is still probably on your mind. Working with a remote CPA is typically far more affordable than working with an in-house team. 

Customizable Services 

One of the best parts about working with a remote CPA is the different ways you can select services, instead of that “all or nothing” approach that comes with a pricey in-house CPA. You can also typically choose services that fit your budget and needs. For example, you can start off with the most essential services, and eventually expand as your company scales.

Accessibility

Remote CPAs are there for you, and they’re there to offer advice, answer questions, help you plan, and weigh in on your challenges. They’re likely available over email, Zoom, or other chat features during business hours and should respond at a reasonably quick pace. 

All of this means that even when you’re working with a remote CPA, you’ll feel like you can access them with a few keystrokes, and that they’re really part of your team.

Designed for the Virtual Workforce

Virtual and dispersed workforces have very unique needs. With team members all over the place, you’re likely no stranger to hopping on Zoom calls and setting up a calendar full of remote meetings. Your remote CPA should be on the same page as you and your business. Being able to ping your virtual CPA on Slack is the reality of the world we live in.

A Remote CPA Might be Right for Your Business

If you’re leading a startup or small business, and you’re looking to work with a CPA, a remote CPA might just be the right choice for your business. Remote CPAs are truly there to make your life easier, and to ensure your business isn’t being held back by its tax and accounting needs. We should know, because it’s exactly what we do. We’re hiline, and we offer a wide array of outsourced accounting services to meet all of your needs. Interested in learning how we can help you with your accounting and financial needs? You can read more about our accounting services here, and contact us today.

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