Ideal Characteristics of a Virtual Accounting Professional
Recruiting and training for a cloud based CPA firm is one of the most challenging experiences I have ever faced. But it has also become one of the most rewarding aspects of my job. Now, for the outside observer, it may look fairly routine as there are so many bookkeepers and accountants out there with a set of skills reflective of an accounting firm. Exactly! And that is what I thought as well. But I was wrong!
BAGE transitioned from a traditional CPA firm to a full Virtual Accounting Firm 3 years ago and we have not looked back. Our growth has been consistent and we continue to expand our client
service offerings as we see the needs of our clients grow. To date, we have experienced “growing pains” especially in the area of human resources. It did not take long for me to realize that the skill set that is required to be a virtual bookkeeper or accountant simply does not exist in our part of the world. As such, we had traditional bookkeepers attempting to do virtual bookkeeping the old way, which led to incredible confusion and inaccuracies that had to be corrected. Traditional bookkeeping does not work in a virtual world without extra time and effort. Anyone considering moving to “the cloud” while continuing to do bookkeeping the old way is simply wasting their time. It would be better to maintain status quo. However, if they want a true cloud based accounting and integrated platform, they will experience significant efficiencies and ease of use.
Over the past year, we at BAGE have developed a set of key processes and controls that work well with Virtual bookkeeping and produce a high level of efficiency. We are growing and our focus has changed in our hiring practices. We realize that people with an openness to learn and adapt, aptitude to deliver excellence, and share our values are the ideal candidates to work with us. People who possess these traits and possess the skill set and analytical ability of an accountant or bookkeeper, will excel in our organization. There are a key set of characteristics that make up an ideal virtual accounting professional. Here are 5 of many:
- Flexibility – We desire people who are flexible in their work and in their life. Flexibility enables you to adapt to new processes and leave behind your previous “how to’s”. In order to transition, or transform, to a virtual environment, many processes and tasks that you know will need to be “forgotten” as you learn a new way of doing things. The transition period of learning can be quite fast, or slow, depending on your flexibility.
Tech Savvy – Our firm uses multitudes of cloud based software solutions to integrate a platform together for clients. Every week we are using a new software it seems and our team needs to embrace new technology, learn it, and then teach it to our clients. People who love to learn new technology and have the aptitude to gain command of it are extremely important to our organization, and any cloud based firm.
- Virtual Communication skills – One area I realized I lacked personally when I started, was the ability to communicate ideas, teachings, and deliverables in a virtual environment. I came from a background of corporate finance and accounting and meetings made up the vast majority of my day. Face to face was easy and intuitive for me, but in a virtual environment I quickly had to learn new skills of communication to make sure everyone was on the same page. People who are comfortable with online meetings, such as Zoom, or chat and email correspondence to have back and forth conversations, will integrate well with our way of doing things. Our team and client meetings are often online, and our daily “chat” that usually takes place over the walls of a cubicle are now taking place on a chat app like Hangouts.
- Work to Live – Have you heard of the question “Do you live to work, or do you work to live?”? There is a lot in that question. Either work is your main purpose, or life is your main purpose. Many people have their career as the number one priority and they do not even realize it. Whether by choice or by necessity, the career takes first place. At BAGE, we encourage that your career is simply something you do to help others and is a tool to live your life. People who know who they are, have the family priorities right, often are happy working with us. Why? because we help you live life be designing a compensation that fits your life priorities. For example, if you are a mom or dad who wants to be there for the children after school, we work a compensation and schedule out to enable you to work around your life. You are talented and that talent is there at 8 pm in the evening the same as it is at 2 pm in the afternoon. It is up to you what schedule you work, and it is up to you how much work you take on. Happy team equals happy clients and excellent work.
- Desire for Excellence – Our firm, and myself in particular, has a very high expectation of quality and service to our clients. People who share this quality, realize they are serving someone else and want to provide that person with the best possible product. This often comes out of compassion, not pride. Although we all have pride in our work, we also have compassion for our clients and want to give them the very best. When combined with the Work to Live principle, this releases stress and anxiety from our team.
These, and other qualities, make for a great combination to work at a virtual accounting firm. As always, BAGE on the look out for people who possess these characteristics and who align with our SHARE values. If you would like to join our team, please visit our WORK@BAGE page or apply now!