Considering a virtual accounting practice? Start with a vision.

Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 by Abby Draper

By Abigail Draper, OSCPA communication and engagement manager

Whether you want to reach more clients or make it easier to communicate with them away from the office, a virtual practice might be right for you. If someone is moving out-of-state, but you want to retain them as an employee, having a virtually sustainable practice helps accomplish this as well.

In an article for Firm of the Future, Darren Root, CPA, CITP, CGMA, said, “Virtual is not where the profession is heading...it’s where the profession is.” He urges current firm owners to begin thinking about how their practice would translate online. Woman's hands holding a tablet with a website open that says "finance."

For Accounting Today, Daniel Moshe wrote, “A virtual CPA firm is just as much a mindset as a practice.” The owner and decision-makers need to create a unified vision for the online firm. Root said to ask yourselves these important questions to determine where you want the business to grow:

  1. The right high-level questions – What are my core competencies? What are clients asking for? What services do I enjoy offering?

  2. What kind of life you want – Do I want a better life-work balance? Do I want my firm to operate smoothly even if I’m not there?

  3. How you want to serve your clients – Do I want to serve clients online, 24/7? Do I want clients to be able to access their information anytime, anywhere and from any device?

Once you determine what you want the business to become and how it will work best for you, then you can implement physical (or virtual) changes.

Moshe said you should “start small” by evaluating what you currently have that can carry over to the virtual practice. Does your team already use some virtual tools that they are familiar with and work well? Are there other tools that can be transformed into a virtual platform or moved into the cloud? It is often the tendency to want to start over and replace everything, but your system may just need to be enhanced for complete sole web use.

Before launching, make sure you have the right staff, the right technology and the right clientele for the virtual practice you want to build.

Don’t forget to remain open to change. This first launch may not be perfect and the technology needed will certainly continue to advance.

For a more detailed explanation, register for the AICPA Webcast: How to Build a Virtual Accounting Services Practice.

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