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by Monica Ross As a sole entrepreneur, you may be wearing all the hats, running out of time and running on empty. You try to make time for marketing, errands and family, but when it comes to recording the financial transactions of your business, you find yourself procrastinating. There isn't really that much to do to employ anyone in-house for the task, but you cant seem to motivate yourself to spend the few hours you need per month to tackle that file full of receipts. Doing it yourself seems to take up valuable time that could be spent meeting clients or closing sales. But there is another option: a virtual bookkeeper that doesnt take up valuable office space, or have to be trained on new software. Yes, its a real person, but they dont have to come to your office, and you dont have to run back and forth to get to her. You only pay for the time used no travel time, no coffee breaks or vacation time. A virtual bookkeeper can adjust to the tax needs or accounting needs of any province or state because she or he deals with clients from many geographical areas. What about the cost? If accounting is not one of your core competencies, it may make sense, operationally and economically, to use a virtual bookkeeper. Your time is better spent bringing in new customers than struggling with the books. You may even find that your accountancy bills have reduced because the quality of your record-keeping has increased! Other reasons to use a virtual bookkeeper: 1. Your bookkeeping system will be customized for your business. 2. Keep tabs where your money goes, with reports on how much you've received in the last three to six months with just an email to your virtual bookkeeper. 3. Good records kept by your virtual bookkeeper will make an audit proceed much more smoothly than handing over a shoe box full of scattered paper. 4. Your virtual bookkeeper will have an accountant prepare your tax return at the end of the year, and he or she will spend much less time on it (saving you more money) if your information is organized and up to date. 5. You dont have to buy new software or train your virtual bookkeeper, just send your information via a secure method then sit back and relax! How to choose a virtual bookkeeper: 1. Make sure the bookkeeper is certified. 2. Ask for references. 3. Take advantage of an initial consultation: find out why they are attracted to your business. 4. Ensure they are computer competent. 5. Find out how their services can be tailored to meet the specific needs and budget of your company. Now that we are beginning a new fiscal year, its a good time to overcome your resistance to bookkeeping. Many virtual bookkeepers provide an initial consultation at no charge. The choice is yours: continue to exhaust the limitations of your time and possibly retard the growth of your business, or convert the time you free up with the help of your virtual bookkeeper into income! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Monica Ross is the founder and President of Virtual Bookkeeping, and has considerable experience working for all types of small and medium sized businesses and independent contractors. She has run her own business since 1999 and knows what it is like to move from surviving in business to thriving. A single mom/entrepreneur with a big heart, Monica loves bookkeeping but more importantly she loves to partner with her clients to help them grow their own businesses.