What Is A Virtual Bookkeeper?

I recently posted a question in my Facebook group, Build Your Best QBO Practice, that inspired me to write this article about “What is a virtual bookkeeper?”

What Does a Bookkeeper Do?

It depends. Not the answer you were hoping for? Well, a good bookkeeper will ask you about your business and your pain points to help you determine what kind of tasks they can do for you. But, at the core, we make sure that your financial records are properly reported. We take all those expenses, receipts, invoices, loans, etc and put them into an accounting system so that different financial reports can be created.

What Doesn’t a Bookkeeper Do?

There are plenty of misnomers about what a bookkeeper actually does and many of us deal with trying to correct business owners on what to actually expect from a bookkeeper and what the benefit is. To help better define what a bookkeeper doesn’t do, here are some of the best answers to my post where I asked everyone to badly explain their profession.

  • Woman working as a virtual bookkeeper on a laptop. All I do is write checks.
  • I do simple data entry that someone’s untrained spouse could do in their spare time.
  • I spend all the money.
  • I do what Danny Devito does in the commercials where he wears those green glasses, only it takes me longer than 15 seconds.
  • You pay me a bunch of money to save money.
  • I play with numbers.
  • I make sure that debits = credits until the debits in your bank can no longer pay the credits I require to pay my own debits and credits!
  • I make more work for other people.

Reminder, this is not what a bookkeeper does! Maybe business owners feel that way sometimes, but I would argue you don’t have a very good bookkeeper if you think that is what they do.

How Is A Virtual Bookkeeper Different From A Regular Bookkeeper?

Well, we do all of the bookkeeping virtually. And, really, it is much easier on you and us. Because of today’s technology, we are able to gain access to 99.9% of your records electronically. Receipts can be scanned. Deposits are viewed in bank accounts. Checks are written electronically. Invoices created in QuickBooks Online or some other system.

All we really need is a computer and access to the internet. Once we have that, we can get about whatever we need to get the transactions properly recorded in your accounting system. Most of us use an online system like QuickBooks Online or Xero. We also use third-party apps to either help us be more efficient or help you be more efficient by building out your business’s infrastructure.

If you are interested in learning how to become a virtual bookkeeper, start with this article. And, you can learn about all the training opportunities here.

What Don’t Virtual Bookkeepers Do?

But, we don’t go to your office. We don’t touch paper (scanners are cheap or you can use your phone). And, we don’t do general administrative work. Most bookkeepers have spent years of education, experience, and even more training to understand how the financials work and how to properly report all of your transactions. You don’t need us answering the phones, making copies, or any other administrative work. You can hire just about anyone to do that.

What are the Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Bookkeeper?

The benefit of hiring a virtual bookkeeper is that you’ll get someone that understands technology, is efficient, and can handle doing most of the work on their own. I know that in my practice, my goal is to avoid bugging my clients for things. I have systems in place to securely access information I need to do my job and it gets done. My clients just get an email saying everything is good!

And, since I am so efficient at my job as a virtual bookkeeper, I have time to spend helping clients better understand their financials. I get them management reporting to help them make decisions so they can reach their goals. I am here to answer questions about running a business – via email, text, call, or whatever. I am truly their advisor who just wants to see them succeed.

Are You Ready To Hire A Virtual Bookkeeper Now?

Maybe one referred you to this article to help you understand the differences. If so, they are really smart and I would give them a shot. You can always check out the Find a ProAdvisor website if you are looking for someone that specializes in QuickBooks Online. Now, I will warn you that Intuit doesn’t differentiate between regular bookkeepers and virtual bookkeepers, so you might have to ask a few on there. Or, you can do a simple google search (add in your industry and you might even find someone how specializes in it too!).


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Cathy Iconis

Cathy Iconis, CPA is the creator and facilitator of the weekly tweetchat #QBOchat and the website QBOchat.com - a community for QuickBooks Online Users. She is also the founder of Iconis Group, an Intuit Top 20 Firm of the Future, that supports small businesses all over the United States with their bookkeeping needs. She is a five-time recipient of the prestigious CPA Practice Advisor 40 Under 40 Award, given annually to just 40 people nationwide.


  1. Cindy Schroeder on August 8, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    Excellent article Cathy. It definitely explains what a Virtual Bookkeeper does and the benefits of adding one to your team in order to be successful. Although I do think we may need to get matching SuperPower TShirts that say I play with money. 🙂

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