Archive for April 23rd, 2008

Dear Danielle: What Bookkeeping Software Do You Recommend

Dear Danielle:

I am contemplating starting my own virtual assistant service run from my home office and specializing in tax preparation and bookkeeping. I have been looking at software, namely Quicken, Quickbooks and Peachtree, and I can’t decide on which one to use. Is there a popular one that is used by others in this profession? —AC

The questions I focus on in here mainly have to do with helping folks understand business concepts and principles, particularly as those things relate to the Virtual Assistance business, which is a unique model in and of itself.

However, your question does bring to light the fact that you are not understanding what Virtual Assistance is.

The business you are thinking about opening isn’t Virtual Assistant business. It’s exactly what you called it–an accounting/tax preparation/bookkeeping business. That’s not the same thing as Virtual Assistance.

True Virtual Assistants (that is, those who practice the business as the model and profession was originally conceived) do not focus on one service. What they’re “selling” isn’t line-items services nor is it one specialized kind of service such as bookkeeping or transcription for example (those would be called Bookkeeper and Transcriptionist respectively).

The specialized service that Virtual Assistants are “selling” is an ongoing, continuous, collaborative (most often retained) relationship in which they support clients in some kind of across-the-board administrative capacity. So what makes something Virtual Assistance is that the service is:

  • Administrative
  • Ongoing, continuous
  • A package of across-the-board administrative support
  • Conducted within the framework of a collaborative relationship

From a marketing standpoint, it’s very important to call yourself what you are. If your focus is on bookkeeping/accounting, then that’s what you want to call yourself. That’s how your prospective clients will find you and how they will know and understand exactly what you do.

PS: Get hooked up in the bookkeeping/accounting profession listservs, forums and organizations. Since that is the profession/specialized service you are talking about entering; they will be your best source for current industry knowledge regarding software and such. :)