As an accounting professional, you’ll track financial records, handle payroll and billing, prepare and complete tax returns, and otherwise help businesses run more effectively. In many ways, this career is one that’s perfectly suited to becoming virtual. Since they use different software to assist their daily jobs, many accounting professionals already have the skills necessary to succeed in high-tech environments.
As a result, not much changes about the day-to-day tasks associated with the job when working remotely. You can even choose the same career paths, and work in public, government, or management accounting, for a firm, or as an independent contractor. Here’s what those considering accounting courses should know about virtual careers.
Enjoy a More Flexible Style of Work
One of the main benefits that draws accounting professionals into a virtual career are the flexible opportunities it provides. By working virtually, you can work remotely, part-time, on a seasonal basis, or even on an alternative work schedule.
Not every accounting professional needs to settle into a 9-5 after receiving their accounting diploma. For some people, this is not simply an interesting perk. For those with children, or with outside interests and commitments, a more flexible style of work can make all the difference in their quality of life.
The Importance of the Cloud
Cloud computing has paved pathways into nearly every sector of the workforce over the last few years as its popularity has increased. The field of accounting isn’t immune to its charms, and more and more accounting professionals utilize cloud-based technology to complete their work.
Cloud computing is even more important for virtual accounting professionals. The ability to store records and files remotely provides a common place to access critical data. Accounting professionals no longer need to worry about their hardware failing or needing to remain working on the same device. They also are granted the ability to collaborate with clients and employees simultaneously, improving workflow and streamlining processes.
Being a Virtual Accounting and Payroll Administrator Has Its Own Challenges
Being a virtual accounting professional does come with some potential drawbacks, though. Though many aspects of accounting work may be easier to perform virtually, and you may find your productivity increased without a long commute, some facets of the job may become more difficult.
For instance, the lack of face-to-face communication can create obstacles to productive discussion with clients and employees. Some clients may not be technologically savvy enough to effectively use the software necessary. The lack of conference rooms, a receptionist, and other components of a physical office can also present its own difficulties for an accounting and payroll administrator.
Assess and Take Inventory of the Technology You Will Need
If you’re considering a virtual career as an accounting professional, technology will be central to your life. Technology is important even for traditional, office-bound accounting professionals, with software like QuickBooks standard in the profession. But for those who work virtually, it’s not possible to communicate with clients, file reports, or balance the books without having the right technology available.
Take an inventory of the software and hardware available to you and weigh it against an assessment of what you’ll need to effectively work on a virtual basis. Consider the costs associated, whether you’ll be working as a freelance professional or for a firm, and how technologically adept your clients are before deciding whether working virtually is right for you.
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