Accountancy firms can be found on high streets all over the country. Thanks to the internet age that we live in though, there’s a new breed of online accountant. They provide the same services and functions as their local counterparts, so what’s the difference?
Doing the same thing, differently
A good accountancy firm, even if they operate digitally, will assign you your own dedicated accountant. That person provides the same services you might find locally. The key difference is that rather than face-to-face meetings, everything can be done online or over the phone.
Communicating with your client
Though a local high street accountant has a physical office for visitors, most of their business these days also happens through emails, calls, and good old post. Their communication methods take place in much the same way as an online-based accountancy.
An online accountant also has processes set up for video calls and instant messaging too (though we do draw the line at carrier pigeons. Probably). But, all this technology shouldn’t mean that you can’t see your accountant face-to-face if you need or want to. Here at TAP, even though we operate online, clients can visit us at our offices, too.
A portable accounting service
These online capabilities don’t just enable a business more choice to shop around for accountancy services, or to store their records safely. Those services can be used anywhere that the business goes.
An online accountancy practice has the infrastructure in place to support clients no matter where they are. So, if your business or life takes you away from your usual stomping ground, your accountant is still right where you need them.
Part of this infrastructure might include cloud-based accounting software for clients to maintain their bookkeeping records easily.
With the internet being everywhere, online accountants are also highly accessible. For clients this opens up a new world of shopping around for the best services, and at the best prices.
The local accountant, with expensive overheads to pay for, struggles to compete on price with an equally qualified, experienced and professional accountant online.
Operating a practice online and using technology to help clients means that online firms don’t need the prime town-centre location. It’s reflected in the price.
This is good news for a business that’s growing quickly, too. The services (and therefore pricing structure) offered by an online accountant are much more scalable.
Secure record keeping
Record keeping is a crucial part of accountancy and running a business, and data often needs to be stored for several years.
All those records, over multiple years and for multiple clients, need to kept somewhere. For an online accountant this is a straightforward case of using highly secure servers to keep that data safe.
Local accountants tend to use physical copies though, which take up more room, and are more susceptible to damage. They often need to rely on external storage facilities which are off-site.
As a result, accessing older records takes more effort, and more time – incurring higher charges. With an online accountant, older documents are available with a couple of mouse clicks. (And as a bonus, it also means there’s much less risk of documents being lost, too!)