The Ultimate Guide to Working with A Virtual Bookkeeper

There are so many questions our clients have when they first start working with a Virtual Bookkeeper. We compiled the most often asked questions and concerns and addressed them here for you to gain a better understanding of what a Virtual Bookkeeper does (and doesn’t do).

What does a Bookkeeper do?

Virtual Bookkeepers are rock stars, especially the ones we select to serve our clients. Did you know that we hire fewer than 4% of the people who apply? We are that picky because we want to be as sure as possible that you are working with someone who believes in your mission and has a compatible workstyle. If you ever have any questions about what your Virtual Bookkeeper can or can’t do, reach out to your Client Success Consultant.

What do Virtual Bookkeepers do?
  • Weekly Bill Pay
  • Reconcile bank and credit card statements
  • Prepare month-end journal entries
  • Data entry
  • Provide clients with weekly & monthly reports (you can add this to your contract)
    • Accounts Receivable aging (weekly & monthly)
    • Accounts Payable aging (weekly & monthly)
    • Balance sheet (monthly)
    • Income Statement (monthly)
    • Budget vs. Actual report (monthly)
    • Cash flow statement (monthly)
    • Custom reports (for an additional cost)
  • Maintain and manage the chart of accounts
  • 1099 preparation and e-filing with the IRS (may include an additional fee)
  • Process payroll using verified vendor and software
What should Virtual Bookkeepers NOT do?
  • Prepare income tax forms, Form 990 or other income tax forms
  • Budgeting and forecasting
  • Submit payroll tax forms 
  • Code transactions
  • Collections

How do you know if you need a bookkeeper?

So now, you’re probably sure you want a bookkeeper but maybe you’re not sure if you need one. Don’t panic – we’ve got you!

Just download and complete this worksheet to determine if you need a bookkeeper. Leave your accounting in someone else’s very capable hands so your very capable hands can get back to doing what only they can do.


How does “virtual” work?


When it comes to weighing the pros and cons of hiring a virtual bookkeeper, we know there’s a lot to consider. The health and vitality of your company’s finances are nothing to be taken lightly, and as such, any decisions on how they’ll be managed – and by whom – are paramount. But your finances are not the only thing you juggle. You have a business to run, so you may be thinking that you don’t have time to figure out this “virtual” working relationship. 

Let us just suggest that you are probably more “virtual” than you think.  How?

Do you facetime with family or friends? That’s not any different than hopping on a video call with a virtual bookkeeper to talk about month-end numbers. Do you use email, text messages, apps…? Of course you do! You are more ready to make the jump to virtual than you think.

Here are some apps that we use as a corporate team and that many of our Virtual Bookkeepers use with their clients.


1Password syncs your data between devices so you always have your passwords at your fingertips with only one master password. Every other login and private document is securely stored in your password vault to keep your information safe and secure – easily.


Drowning in papers, notes, business cards, and documents? With CamScanner, any document can be digitized and saved to your device. Take a photo, and CamScanner will allow you to access, edit, and manage documents anytime from anywhere.


Todoist is a top-ranked productivity app for organizing life. It keeps track of all your tasks, projects, and goals in one clean, user-friendly, simple place. It syncs across all your devices and integrates with all your favorite apps to quiet the chaos and empower you to take control of your, well, basically everything.


Slack is a one-stop shop for messaging, tools, and files to help you save time while collaborating with your team. Channels can be divided up however is most relevant to your organization – by team, project, or client. And threads and direct messages can keep side conversations from overwhelming channels.


LastPass is a freemium password manager that stores encrypted passwords online. The standard version of LastPass comes with a web interface, but also includes plugins for various web browsers and apps for many smartphones. is a provider of cloud-based software that automates back-office financial operations for small and midsize businesses. The company’s AI-enabled platform creates connections between businesses and their suppliers and clients to help businesses manage their cash inflows and outflows.


Expensify is a software company that develops an expense management system for personal and business use. Expensify also operates a venture funding arm known as Expensify Ventures.

What You Should and Should Not Be Doing


While your bookkeeper is busy at work handling the day to day tasks for your organization, there are some very important things that only you can do. And while you are doing those things there are tasks that you should delegate to your Virtual Bookkeeper.

The reason to use BELAY and a Virtual Bookkeeper is to take the pressure off you to handle all the routine daily tasks that are essential to your organization. While those tasks are essential, it doesn’t mean that you have to be the one doing them. Actually, if you are doing these things, you are wasting a lot of precious time.

BELAY exists to help you achieve your mission, and we’re confident that doing these routine tasks isn’t your mission. You started your organization to solve a problem or fill a void you saw in the marketplace. You wouldn’t be reading this if bookkeeping was your passion.

Stop doing these things, so you can get back to doing what only you can do.


Explore What You Should and Shouldn’t Do Below

Do These Things

Only you can:

  • Cast vision.
  • Make the best long-term decisions for your organization.
  • Interpret the financial data and forecast.
  • Make strategic decisions and communicating the vision to your stakeholders and team.
  • Hire an assistant to help with tracking down info needed to complete books and pay bills.
  • Familiarize yourself with the tools you desire to use from a financial perspective.
  • Code expenses and provide receipts with details of transaction (i.e. What was the meal for and who was a part of it?)
  • Give your bookkeeper access to all bank accounts, financial software, point of sale software – anything that will set them up for supporting you successfully.

Avoid These Tasks

  • Data entry
  • Expense reports
  • Document preparations for your taxes
  • Monthly close
  • Payroll
  • Process and pay vendor invoices and monthly bills (we don’t mean NOT to pay them…just let your bookkeeper handle it!)
  • Bank statement reconciliation
  • Maintain the chart of accounts
  • Debit/Credit Cards reconciliation
  • 1099 preparation

Frequently Asked Questions

What programs do you use?

We can use whatever accounting software you already have in place.

What bookkeeping services do you offer?

We are a full-service bookkeeping solution providing accounts payable, payroll, bank reconciliation, and financial reporting for businesses, churches, and nonprofits.

Do you file the quarterly taxes on P/R and/or income?

If you are signed up with our payroll service, our 3rd party will file your payroll taxes. Your CPA should do all other tax filings.

What security measures are in place to protect us?

BELAY understands how important it is to protect you and your sensitive financial information. We have processes in place to properly vet each bookkeeper, including conducting background checks and talking with their references to be sure we are placing a trustworthy bookkeeper with your organization. We have internal checks for compliance ensuring everything remains above board.

Do you do payroll only?

No, we offer a full bookkeeping solution.

How often will I get reports?

During implementation, the bookkeeper will review the frequency needed and ensure you have the reports on time.

Do you do Credit Card Reconciliation?

Yes, your bookkeeper will ensure that your credit card is reconciled each month and expenses are assigned a budget line item.

Will I be able to interview the candidate you pick for me?

We get it. Handing over the decision on who will work with you is a tough one. But what we also know after helping people just like you is that you don’t have time to devote to screening and setting up interviews. We have a proven system to perfectly match you to someone equipped to handle everything you need accomplished.

Can I talk to my bookkeeper?

Yes, BELAY wants to be an engaged member of your team.

Do you do Audits?

No, we are bookkeepers.  Audits are performed by a CPA with that specialization.  The bookkeeper can work with the CPA during an audit to gather the info needed and any questions surrounding it. This would be billed as extra services.

Will you file my corporate taxes?

No, you will need a CPA to provide you tax recommendations and complete all filings for state and federal needs.

Will you file my 990?

No, that will need to be handled by one of the board members or a local CPA.

Will the bookkeeper help me shop for services and get quotes for me?

Your bookkeeper is focused on the transactional side of your needs. That is best supported by an admin type of person. They can certainly provide the reports needed to show you what you spend with a particular vendor, but they will not help you shop vendors.

What if you do such a great job of matching me, that I want to bring my Virtual Bookkeeper on to my staff full time?

You’re right – it happens! We know it’s a possibility that you’ll get to the place in your business where you want to expand your W-2 team, and we love nothing more than knowing we helped you find your first (or second or fifth) hire. Talk to us about the details.

I only need part of this service (ie reconciliation only). Is there an hourly rate for that?

We only offer a full-service solution and flat rate pricing.

Why You Need A Virtual Bookkeeper


We get it. You may still need some convincing to hire a bookkeeper for your small business. After all, up until this point, you’ve probably been responsible for the comings and goings of every single dollar for your business – and you’re not quick to part with a single cent.

So here are just a few reasons why you should hire a Virtual Bookkeeper for your organization – and maybe leave you to wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

Long-Term Savings

Fewer things will prove as costly as poor money management for your small business. But hiring a virtual bookkeeper will allow you to save more while getting the maximum value for your business. Further, virtual bookkeeping services are far more cost-effective than having a salaried bookkeeper.


Virtual bookkeeping services have experienced, trained bookkeepers who will manage your bookkeeping on your schedule – without worrying about the bottom-line impact of paying a full-time salary, sick days, holidays, and benefits.

Objective Financial Advice

With a third-party involved, you get an unbiased opinion on the financial health of your business. And with that perspective, you can make informed business decisions to impact the health and vitality of your business.

Accurate Financial Reporting

When you’re juggling it on your own, bookkeeping can often take a back seat – but it can’t afford to. Virtual bookkeeping services can provide updated financial reporting in real time so once tax season rears its head, your accountant is ready to go.

Cash Flow Management

With a virtual bookkeeper for your small business, you can easily refer to your financials and evaluate your profits. Further, you can closely monitor both your payables and receivables to increase your cash flow, making your operating activities easier.

Save Time

Hiring a virtual bookkeeper to check off those tasks that inevitably end up dead last on your mile-long to-do list will save you time, stress, and a huge headache when the end of the year rolls around.

Peace of Mind

Need we say more? Because really, if none of the aforementioned benefits for hiring a virtual bookkeeper for your small business resonates with you, surely you can appreciate the pricelessness of something – anything – giving you peace of mind while you juggle literally everything else.

Hear From Our Contractors

Let some of our contractors help answer some of the most frequently asked questions! 

Play Video

What is account reconciliation and why is it important?

Play Video

What kind of reports do you pull?

Play Video

What is the biggest transition struggle?

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What is the most helpful thing you do for you client?

Bottom line: Whether you’re a billionaire tycoon or a small business run from a home office, managing your bottom line is the difference between success and failure.

Get a Virtual Bookkeeper for Your Small Business

If you’re ready to wave the white flag on handling your red and black margins, let one of BELAY’s experienced virtual bookkeepers help! Contact us today and get paired with your dream bookkeeper, You’ll regain your peace of mind – and wonder why you waited so long.

BELAY is the way to stop being overwhelmed.

Feel like you can’t take a vacation?

Find yourself being busy instead of productive?

Losing hours of your day to email?

Feeling like your days are out of control?