Bookkeeping: Remote vs In-Person

There is no question that just about every industry that involves thinking work and paperwork has been proven to be effectively doable remotely. The pandemic once and for all took the curtain off the rods and showed the world how creative business and operations could be under the duress of social distancing and still get work done properly. However, that doesn’t mean it remains the preferred way to do business in general. Now that the requirements for the pandemic have ended, a good amount of evaluation is going on with regard to remote work versus in-person, and accounting and bookkeeping are no exception.

The Critical Comparison

Hiring a remote bookkeeper vs hiring locally comes down to the following factors. Cost is going to be one of the top red-light factors businesses take into account when comparing services. Remote services of all types are cheaper and lower cost as a contracted service than in-person. Bookkeeping has a similar comparison, with remote accountants and bookkeepers willing to handle the paperwork for less than it would take with a person physically present in the office. However, not every business or organization is comfortable with their documents being elsewhere, digitally or physically, which makes this option out of the question for some scenarios.

There is a time-saving aspect, being able to get down to business faster, and remote services frequently turn around their work faster. That said, if the work is done correctly, the delays can create more issues waiting for remote services to communicate and respond. In-person work can allow for quick evaluation and correction on the spot.

Scalability is a big desire for companies that have lots of fluctuations in work, demand, and budget resources. This is particularly true in companies with lots of mobility, contract work, and seasonal demand. Clearly, remote services can keep operating costs low as well as staff up or down as needed. The same can be said for in-person bookkeeping services, depending on the availability of the skillset locally. However, online work can be obtained 24/7 whereas in-person work tends to be limited to workday availability.

Remote work has a well-deserved reputation for providing services to match the needs of wherever it happens to be located. Lots of skilled help is available too. As long as there is a secure Internet connection, work can be done by services globally. In-person services are not so flexible, limited by local availability or skill. To the extent that more needs to be brought in, then the cost goes up to pay for additional help that has to travel further. There is clearly a ceiling on how much in-person services can be relied on in this regard.

Generic One-Size-Fits-All is a Myth

When it comes to support services, especially like bookkeeping, there is no default option that works for everyone. Businesses are best served by trying a hybrid approach so they can see what works best for their specific situation. Remote bookkeeping definitely has certain advantages, including those noted above like cost and scalability. However, sensitivity to document protection and similar can create challenges online, and not every business has a robust, secure cloud environment to work in for such situations. So, a hybrid approach gives the best of both worlds, allowing a company to try which fit works best for their situation, as well as to explore how remote bookkeeping can be used effectively.