“Virtual office” is the new buzz phrase you can hear today. Isn’t it enticing? You can work from anywhere, maybe from a table in the coffee shop or your dining table. A virtual tax firm means you and your team can work remotely without needing physical space.
However, a few things stand in the way between your imagination for a virtual office and creating one. Technology, hardware requirements, connectivity, and collaboration must be within your arm’s reach while switching to a virtual tax firm.
Switching to a virtual tax firm can be challenging for entrepreneurs. Therefore, in this guide, we’ll discuss the following points to help them understand virtual firms:
- What is a virtual tax firm?
- What are the advantages of switching to a virtual tax firm?
- Switch to a virtual tax firm in 5 steps
- Before switching to a virtual tax firm, do you need to inform existing clients?
What is a virtual tax firm?
A virtual tax firm is similar to your local tax firm and performs the same tasks, except they don’t have a physical office. Accountants can use cloud-based software and mobile applications to meet their financial goals and do their taxes efficiently.
What are the advantages of switching to a virtual tax firm?
A virtual tax firm is not a solution for all accounting professionals, but after the covid pandemic, demands for remote work are increasing. Here are a few advantages of virtual tax firms:
1. Lower overhead costs
Renting or purchasing an office and managing all the admin tasks and operations are expensive. Going virtual reduces costs on utility bills, paper, office supplies, and rents.
2. Good work-life balance
Working from a virtual office allows owners and employees to spend time with their friends and family without compromising work. Additionally, you can select flexible work hours that help you maintain a work-life balance.
3. Increase in productivity
When you get a chance to work from anywhere, you select a suitable space for your work. That means you can choose a calm and quiet corner to do a task instead of being disturbed by your office colleagues. Therefore, it helps you increase productivity.
Switch to a virtual tax firm in 5 steps
In the next few years, most accounting firms will switch to virtual firms to deliver quality work while reducing overhead costs and other advantages.
Here are five steps to help you switch to virtual firms:
1. Develop your vision and core values
The vision of a business is a vivid mental image of who you want to be, the owner of the company, your goals and aspirations, and what you want your business to be in the future. While developing the vision of your virtual firm, you must reflect on:
- Who do you want to be as an owner of the business in the next 2-5 years?
- What kind of clients and teams do you prefer to work with?
- What are the services you are willing to provide?
● Developing core values
When vision is a purpose statement of a business, core values refer to how you will live out the vision. Core value is the personal value of owners that they want to incorporate into businesses. You can consider the following questions while developing core values:
- As an Individual, what do you value?
- As a client, what do you value?
- What values support your vision?
List your values and streamline them to the most important ones that keep up with your vision. Your vision and values should reflect who you are as an individual and a leader. That includes everything on how you look, how you operate your business, your hiring process, your services, the price chart for your service, and more.
2. Choose your target market and plan a marketing strategy
● Choosing your target market
As a virtual tax firm London is not only restricted to that city but has excellent opportunities to spread its network locally and nationally. Also, you can specialise in a niche market and improve your income levels.
However, if you are looking for a niche market, you can start taking clients outside the target market until you develop a niche client base. But, as you grow in the market and gain popularity, you can avoid taking clients that don’t fit your firm.
● Planning a good marketing strategy
You have a couple of options for marketing your virtual firm, like
- One-on-one networking
- Social media marketing
- Post blogs and articles on different digital platform
- Nurture leads with emails, SMS marketing, and others.
3. Build the right team and create a good setup
● Building the right team
Make sure your team is ready to work from a virtual office. You can train them to use different applications and software, bestow knowledge on security systems, information on cloud computing, etc. Additionally, give your team members laptops and tablets to let them work from anywhere.
● Creating a good setup
Creating a good setup for effective and smooth business operations from a virtual office is essential.
- Find the proper application to automate all your current work in the firm.
- Integrate these applications by connecting them. You can also connect them with other existing applications.
- Streamline the workflow for your team after integrating the applications.
- Train your team members to use the applications consistently and make adjustments whenever needed.
- Use collaboration applications to reduce excess workload. For example, invite your employees to Microsoft Teams and Microsoft SharePoint to work on documents and spreadsheets simultaneously and avoid repetitive printing and redlining every draft.
- While purchasing laptops and tablets, ensure you invest in powerful performance and storage devices to maximise ROI.
- Purchase a fast, compact, capable scanner, and get a good headset.
- You will need device accessories like a battery pack, power adapters, and a multiport USB charger.
The backbone of virtual funds is a fast, reliable, and secure communication channel. Ensure you have consistent connectivity and that your team doesn’t need to wait for your response. While using Wi-Fi, ensure you have maximum encryption to prevent cyber attacks. Several firms use VPN services that provide an extra layer of protection and are available at an affordable price.
4. Invest in security
If you are switching to virtual firms, use the cloud to securely store your vital information and other confidential tasks. Cloud computing is one of the most secure storage and sharing options for large and small organisations.
However, there is no 100% guarantee of security from cyber-attacks, and what’s important is to learn and train your staff about cybersecurity. Teach your team members to follow safety protocols and protect your business from personal data breaches through devices and software they use for business.
5. Invest in the right software
Investing in the right software for your practice depends on your workflow model and business requirements. For example, you have expertise in taxation; therefore, you need to use software that supports your specialisation- say international tax, corporate tax or withholding tax.
Most virtual firms prefer cloud-based software that allows team members to access documents, notes, etc., anytime and anywhere with good network connectivity and updates the information on the cloud in real-time.
You can choose messaging software for communication and maintain efficient team collaboration.
A video chat software is also crucial for your virtual tax firm to conduct meetings with employees and plans.
Before switching to a virtual tax firm, do you need to inform existing clients?
It is essential to inform your existing clients before switching to a virtual text form. Clients can resist the change, while others will accept it open-heartedly. Convince them of how you can serve them better without any hassles of visiting the firm or taking appointments before meeting you.
There are many considerations to go through before switching to virtual tax firms. It is similar to the process of setting up a physical tax firm. A virtual tax firm is not as easy as purchasing a laptop and getting a good internet connection; you need a good setup and diverse considerations.
Though it may sound complicated, if you understand your business, have visions and values, a good team, proper hardware and software requirement, and good connectivity, you are all set for switching to a virtual tax firm.