The difference between in-house and virtual bookkeepers

Written by Joanne David

What can be the difference between in-house and virtual Bookkeepers

The definition of a Bookkeeper according to Google:

“A person whose job is to keep a record of the financial affairs of a business”

The Evolution of Bookkeeping: Unveiling the Benefits, Responsibilities, and Ideal Solutions

While bookkeeping is a crucial component of sound financial management, understanding the comprehensive nature of this profession can be eye-opening. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the fascinating world of bookkeeping, uncovering the roles and responsibilities of bookkeepers, its numerous advantages, and the diverse options available to manage your finances seamlessly.

The Evolving Role of Bookkeepers

The practice of bookkeeping, with its roots tracing back to an astonishing 6000 BC, is a testament to its enduring importance in the world of finance. Throughout the ages, the role of bookkeepers has undergone a remarkable transformation, adapting to society’s changing needs and technological advancements.

In its earliest form, bookkeeping primarily revolved around physical ledgers and manuscripts, meticulously documenting every transaction and financial record. These early bookkeepers were the custodians of a business’s financial history, ensuring that nothing was overlooked in the meticulous recording of transactions. Fast forward to the modern era, and the bookkeeper’s role has evolved into something far more dynamic and sophisticated.

Gone are the days when bookkeepers were confined to traditional office settings, poring over ledger books by the dim light of a candle. Today, bookkeepers have fully embraced the digital age, harnessing cutting-edge technologies to streamline their operations and provide businesses with unprecedented efficiency and accuracy to aid in informed decisions for small business owners.

One of the most significant transformations in recent years has been the surge in demand for online bookkeeping services. Real-time access to financial data has become paramount in today’s fast-paced business landscape. Business owners no longer want to wait until year-end to gain insights into their financial health. Instead, they seek immediate access to their financial statements. Seeing financial reports and cash flow empowers them to make informed decisions on the fly.

Online bookkeeping services

Online bookkeeping services cater to this need impeccably. They allow businesses to maintain up-to-the-minute financial records, accessed from anywhere in the world with an internet connection and accounting software like QuickBooks Online and other cloud accounting software. This accessibility has revolutionized how businesses operate, enabling them to respond swiftly to market changes, identify emerging trends, and fine-tune their strategies in real time.

The advantages of this digital evolution in bookkeeping are manifold. It eliminates the need for stacks of physical paperwork, reducing the risk of human error and ensuring data is stored securely in the cloud. Moreover, it fosters collaboration between bookkeeper firms, business owners, and accountants, allowing them to work seamlessly together, regardless of their physical locations.

The role of bookkeepers has transcended the limitations of time and place. From ancient ledgers to cutting-edge digital solutions, bookkeepers have been steadfast in their commitment to preserving the financial integrity of businesses. Today, their contributions are more invaluable than ever, enabling businesses to thrive in an era where data is king and informed decisions are the key to success. The role is ever-changing daily, with Bookkeepers learning more skills from the accounting world and bringing them into the bookkeeping world. More and more businesses are seeking to outsource bookkeepers.

Virtual Bookkeeping vs. In-House Bookkeepers

Now, let’s delve into the distinctions between remote bookkeeper services, Virtual Bookkeeping services, and in-house bookkeepers, as these distinctions can profoundly impact your business’s financial well-being.

At its core, a bookkeeping firm responsibilities encompass a broad spectrum of crucial tasks. These include meticulously sorting through receipts, diligently updating payables and receivables, and providing invaluable insights into the ebb and flow of cash within your business financial statement. However, what truly sets virtual Bookkeepers apart is their capacity to break free from the confines of a traditional office setup.

While in-house bookkeepers often find themselves rooted to a desk within your office, outsourced bookkeeping service/virtual bookkeepers roam the digital landscape with agility and ease. They are not bound to a fixed physical location or shackled to a rigid nine-to-five work schedule. This flexibility in their work environment is a defining characteristic of virtual bookkeepers, making them a unique and adaptable solution for businesses of all sizes.

When in house

Although some remote bookkeepers may opt for occasional visits to your office, they are not tethered there five days a week. Instead, they harness the power of technology to perform their duties efficiently and effectively from remote locations. This departure from the traditional office paradigm translates into tangible cost savings for your business.

Consider the expenses of providing office space, workstations, and equipment for in-house bookkeepers. These financial commitments are part and parcel of having on-site employees. Full-time in-house bookkeepers often demand these resources as entitlements, further contributing to your operational costs.

In contrast, virtual bookkeepers frequently bring their tools to the table. They arrive equipped with the bookkeeping needs of technology, software, and expertise to seamlessly integrate with your financial ecosystem. Consequently, you are spared the expense of provisioning additional resources to accommodate them.

As non-full time employees

Furthermore, as non-full-time employees, virtual bookkeepers do not incur the same entitlements and benefits as their in-house counterparts. The financial burden of full wages, sick pay, holiday pay, SMP (Statutory Maternity Pay), and SSP (Statutory Sick Pay) typically falls under the employer’s when engaging in-house staff.

Moreover, virtual bookkeepers eliminate the need for you to grapple with the costs of securing computer systems against viruses, financing computer repairs, and managing insurance-related expenses. The virtual bookkeeper seamlessly absorbs these responsibilities, alleviating your business from these financial concerns.

For many businesses, especially startups or those in their early stages of growth, these cost considerations can be pivotal. Funds may not flow as freely as desired in the early stages of building a business. Minimizing overhead costs while maintaining an efficient bookkeeping solution is a boon for such enterprises.

In essence, the distinctive nature of virtual bookkeepers offers financial advantages that are difficult to ignore. Their freedom from the constraints of traditional office arrangements and their self-reliance in terms of equipment and resources make them an economical choice that can significantly contribute to optimizing your business’s bottom line.

Full-Time or Part-Time Employed Bookkeepers

In the realm of full or part-time employed bookkeepers. Businesses face a unique set of financial obligations that extend beyond the boundaries of their primary role. This section delves into the multifaceted commitments and considerations that come into play when you opt for in-house bookkeepers.

First and foremost, businesses must provide physical office space, complete with dedicated workstations. Provide essential equipment to accommodate their in-house bookkeepers. This requirement is fundamental, ensuring a conducive work environment for these professionals to carry out their duties effectively.

In addition to the provision of office space and equipment. Businesses must also stock up on stationery and supplies to facilitate the bookkeeping process. The costs can add swiftly to the financial responsibilities accompanying in-house bookkeepers, from notepads and pens to specialised accounting software.

When it comes to compensating in-house bookkeepers, the financial implications extend well beyond their basic salaries. Total wages, pension contributions, sick pay, holiday pay, Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP), and Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) are the mandatory entitlements the employer must meet. These expenses can substantially contribute to the overall labour costs incurred by the business.

In office or remote bookkeepers

Whether the bookkeeper operates within the confines of the office or remotely. The onus of fulfilling these financial obligations rests squarely on the shoulders of the employer. Regardless of the mode of employment, the commitments remain unaltered. They signify a fixed expenditure that must be factored into the business’s financial planning.

Beyond the realm of personnel-related costs, businesses are compelled to grapple with additional financial responsibilities when employing in-house bookkeepers. One of the notable considerations is the need to fortify computer systems against potential security threats such as viruses and malware.

The costs associated with safeguarding the bookkeeper’s workstation, including investing in robust antivirus software and ensuring regular updates and security patches, contribute to the overall budget allocated for IT security. This expenditure is crucial to protect sensitive financial data and maintain the integrity of the business’s digital infrastructure.

Moreover, businesses must allocate resources to cover the expenses related to computer repairs. Hardware malfunctions, software glitches, and unforeseen technical issues can disrupt bookkeeping, necessitating timely and often costly repairs. The responsibility for financing these repairs falls squarely on the business, adding another layer of financial burden.

Financial effects of bookkeepers

To further compound matters, businesses must navigate the complexities of insurance expenses. Ensuring adequate coverage for potential liabilities related to the bookkeeper’s role is imperative. This includes professional liability insurance, which safeguards against errors and omissions, and general liability insurance, which protects against a broader range of potential claims.

These additional financial commitments can be particularly daunting for startups and businesses in their early stages. During these crucial formative phases, financial resources may not be as readily available as desired. The cumulative impact of these expenditures can strain the budget, potentially diverting funds away from essential growth initiatives.

In conclusion, the financial landscape surrounding in-house bookkeepers is marked by many commitments extending beyond their role’s conventional scope. From providing physical resources to fulfilling legal entitlements and managing IT and insurance expenses, businesses must carefully evaluate the financial implications of employing full-time bookkeepers.

The Virtues of a Virtual Bookkeeper

Now, let’s explore the distinct financial advantages that virtual bookkeepers bring to the table, setting them apart from their in-house counterparts. These advantages encompass various aspects, from cost-efficiency to the flexibility of scaling your business operations.

Virtual bookkeepers enter the fray armed with a significant advantage: Most are certified bookkeepers with professional indemnity insurance. They arrive fully equipped and ready to tackle your financial needs.

Unlike in-house bookkeepers, who often require dedicated office space and resources, virtual bookkeepers come prepared with their own workspace, tools, and security measures firmly in place and have a grasp on anti-money laundering regulations.

In-house bookkeepers may already be certified or need to go through training, which is a cost usually funded by the business and must be monitored for anti-money laundering regulations. This fundamental distinction translates into substantial savings for your business from day one.


The financial arrangement with virtual bookkeepers is both straightforward and flexible. Instead of complex compensation structures, businesses simply pay for the specific package of bookkeeping services that align with their needs and objectives. This approach ensures you receive value for your money, as you are only charged for the essential services for your business operations.

Perhaps one of the most compelling financial benefits of opting for virtual bookkeepers is the potential for cost savings. In many cases, this approach proves to be more cost-effective than the alternative of hiring a full or part-time in-house bookkeeper. By mitigating the need for office space, equipment, and personnel-related expenses, virtual bookkeepers help you optimize your financial resources, particularly during the crucial early stages of business development.

Furthermore, the beauty of virtual bookkeeping lies in its adaptability. As your business expands and its financial requirements evolve. You have the flexibility to transition between in-house and remote solutions seamlessly. This scalability ensures that your bookkeeping solution aligns with your business’s growth trajectory and financial objectives.

The benefits

Interestingly, virtual bookkeepers are cost-effective and forward-thinking in their approach. Many actively expand their skill sets, delving into areas traditionally reserved for accountants. This evolution benefits clients by providing more than year-end consultations; it offers monthly availability.

With this monthly accessibility, virtual bookkeepers can provide valuable financial insights and recommendations on an ongoing basis. This real-time collaboration enhances your ability to make informed decisions, optimize financial strategies, and respond effectively to changing market conditions.

In essence, the financial benefits of virtual bookkeepers extend far beyond mere cost savings. They provide a streamlined, flexible, and forward-looking solution that empowers your business to thrive financially by embracing the expertise of virtual bookkeepers. You not only optimize your financial resources but also gain access to a wealth of knowledge and insights that can propel your business towards more tremendous success.

A Bookkeeper’s Perspective

Having experienced the role of an in-house bookkeeper, I can attest to moments of downtime and idle thumb-twiddling. At times, it felt like an inefficient use of time and financial resources, a sentiment shared by some in the office environment. However, transitioning to a virtual bookkeeping model allowed me to reclaim control over my time.

Don’t get me wrong; being my boss is a fulfilling journey. Assisting like-minded business owners in their growth endeavours, adopting new work approaches, and exploring the intricacies of running a business have deepened my appreciation for the challenges and diverse aspects that demand attention—such as marketing, which is why I’ve embarked on this blog journey. I am also growing my skills and will continue to grow my VIP call as I dig deeper into the resources and skills I am developing for myself and to aid others.

I trust this article has provided valuable insights into the distinctions between in-house and virtual bookkeepers.

Until the next blog!

If you want to learn more or discover how I can assist you, please click here.

There is also Chapter Foundations. It’s designed for small business owners seeking a supportive, nonjudgmental space to discuss ideas and navigate exciting possibilities. To help with the business basics, the foundations need a great solid base from which to grow. Whether you are a new bookkeeper or running a small business, Chapter Foundations is just what your business needs to help you. It covers areas from bookkeeping setup to basic marketing and business strategy planning. Together, we can jumpstart your business to the next level. Lets connect

Virtual Bookkeeper Joanne David

Joanne David

Joanne David has been running her own business for 5 years and has over 15 years experience in bookkeeping.  From September 2023 has added another branch to her tree and now includes Chapter Foundations for bookkeeping, marketing and business strategy.

Virtual Bookkeeping service

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The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article are not intended to amount to advice, and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article. Please research and Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article. Joanne David and Chapter Bookkeeping disclaim all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article.

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