What to Know Before Starting Your Virtual Tax and Accounting Practice

July 31, 2020

Running a virtual tax and accounting practice virtually has undeniable benefits - less overhead, more free time, a broader reach, and improved productivity among them - but it comes with its own set of challenges to navigate. Knowing what to expect makes all the difference. At Rapidly, we work with tax and accounting professionals who want to simplify the transition to offering their services online with help finding clients, management tools, and software solutions. 

Everyone has a different reason for going virtual; you may be ready to expand your business, tap into a new client base, or improve your work-life balance. We’re happy to share information about the things you should know before starting a virtual tax and accounting practice. 

Whether you’re new to the industry or are just deciding to start offering your tax and accounting services virtually, having a plan is the best way to set yourself up for success. Here’s what you should know before you begin. 

Know What Services to Offer

Starting a virtual practice enables you to expand your service offerings and serve a larger client base. Have you thought about which services you’ll offer? Start with your strengths and experience. You might be skilled working with accounts payable or receivable, invoice preparation, financial statements, payroll, tax forms and filing, audit management, or long-term asset management. 

Wherever your strengths lie can give you guidance on what services to offer online. Know ahead of time what services you’ll offer to give yourself an idea of what niche (if any) you’d like to concentrate on. 

A Niche is Nice

It’s not essential to find a niche if you’re offering virtual accounting and tax services, but there are a lot of advantages if you do. By choosing a specialty and designing your marketing materials especially for that audience, you can:

  • Cut down on the time it takes to strike a deal with a new client

  • Enjoy the convenience of clients finding you

  • More efficiently plan your processes and tasks when you know exactly what type of work you’ll be doing day by day

  • Maximize your use of tax and accounting software and technology to simplify your workload

  • Genuinely enjoy the nature of the work you do and the industry you serve

  • Adjust your pricing to reflect your expertise in your niche

It can take some time to find your niche, but you can always start your virtual tax and accounting practice without choosing a niche and settle into one later. 

Find the Right Software and Technology

Ask any accounting or tax professional who’s running a virtual practice - software and technology are the backbones of this business model. You need a strong suite of tools to enable you to work efficiently and stay organized. Using your Rapidly account, you can easily select and connect the software integrations that are the best fit for your virtual practice, whether you’re a solo practitioner or the owner of a firm. 

Most accounting and tax professionals will need a few software and technology options to get started online, including: 

  • Accounting software: This is an important part of your business, so choosing accounting software that is affordable, multi-functional, and full of useful features is essential. You’re undoubtedly familiar with Quickbooks Online and FreshBooks, but Sage Intacct and Xero are other good accounting software options. Many accounting software platforms offer free trials so you can discover whether it’s a good fit before you commit. 

  • Document management software: Keeping up with client documents can be a hassle, but with the right document management software, you can ensure all your documentation is secure, organized by client, and easily accessible when you need it. Try Dropbox Business, ShareFile, Google Drive, NetClient CS, Accellion, and MyPortal.team for good document management software options. 

  • Payment processing software: The ability to process payments online quickly is important as you begin your virtual tax and accounting practice. Consider options like QuickFee, CPAcharge, Simple Checkout, ACH, and Venmo to accept payments from your clients and ensure you’re paid on time for the work you do. 

  • Tax filing software: If you’re working in tax preparation, tax filing software is a must-have. Your tax filing software choice will depend on your needs. Do you prefer an interview-style software that helps you lead clients through the filing process in a conversational way? Or are you focused on form-only entry to allow you to complete many returns quickly? CrossLink, Drake Zero Web, TaxSlayer Pro, and Taxwise Online are all excellent options to choose from. 

  • Project management apps: Working virtually may be new to you, so be ready to meet the challenge by starting off with a project management app. Using an app to track multiple clients, deadlines, deliverables, and general to-dos will help you stay on track and juggle each task with ease. Check out Trello, Asana, or OmniPlan for easy-to-use project management app options. 

Determine How You’ll Market Your Practice

Finally, give some thought to how you’ll approach marketing once you start your virtual tax and accounting practice. There are numerous ways to market your firm online, but not every marketing channel will lead you to your target audience. Take some time to research marketing best practices for virtual accounting and tax services and decide which channels will be the most useful for you. 

You’ll need an online presence on social media channels, especially Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as a tax or accounting website that looks professional and helps you capture new leads. By taking the time to develop a marketing strategy before you dive in, you’ll be off to a great start and ready to attract clients who need your services.

Rapidly Can Help You Start Your Virtual Practice

The tax and accounting industry has gone virtual, so moving your practice online is the best business decision you can make. With the above tips in mind, you’ll be better prepared to start doing business virtually. 

Rapidly can help provide you with tools and solutions that ease the virtual transition by connecting you with new clients, integrating powerful software with your existing tools, and optimizing your pricing structure for maximum profit and cost savings. 

Click here to schedule a demo and get started with Rapidly!

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