Most communities have at least one bookkeeper who serves the local businesses. They make occasional visits to each client to update the books, prepare payroll, pay bills, and take care of whatever other tasks they’re expected to handle.

If you own a business or are preparing to open one, you might think the community bookkeeper is your only option. Not long ago that assumption would have been true but not so much anymore. In the modern internet age, it’s easier than ever to communicate and collaborate with people far away through the web. That means you can work with the best bookkeeper for you, no matter where they happen to be located.

Your local bookkeeper might do a perfectly fine job but you don’t have to settle. Advancements in technology have led to advancements in outsourced bookkeeping. Modern bookkeepers who use the latest software and other tools to serve their clients can bring major benefits to your business. Here are a few examples how:

Bookkeeping in real-time

Making an occasional visit to a client’s office is no longer a practical way for a bookkeeper to work.

Modern bookkeepers instead manage their client’s finances in real-time, using cloud accounting and bookkeeping software. They can access your general ledger from their own office and keep your books accurate and up-to-date at all times. You’ll always have insight into cashflow, helping you make smart business decisions. And your bookkeeper can identify and resolve any issues before they get worse.

A bookkeeper who understands your industry

One of the biggest downsides of traditional, local bookkeepers is they’re not always experts in the operations of the businesses they work with. They tend to take on all comers, which prevents them from developing an industry-specific specialization.

As technology has advanced, many modern bookkeepers that are able to serve clients remotely have carved out a niche for themselves. You should take advantage of this development and find a bookkeeper that is an expert in your industry. They’ll understand how your business operates, make suggestions on the best technology to implement, and let you know how you’re performing relative to similar businesses.

Better service at a lower cost

Modern bookkeepers who use cloud technology are often able to provide a wide range of services, with quick turnaround times. And they’re often able to do so at a lower cost than traditional bookkeepers.

This is because different cloud-based systems are able to connect and share data, reducing the amount of data entry that is required. For example, your point of sale system can automatically import daily sales transactions into your accounting software. Similarly, your invoicing software can update your accounting software when a customer pays an invoice. And your payroll software can automatically update your employee records for tax purposes.

The reduction in data entry means modern bookkeepers can focus on services that are more beneficial to you, like frequent bank reconciliation and financial reporting. They’re often able to charge less than bookkeepers who don’t use this technology because hours aren’t spent on tedious data entry.

Find the best partner for you

At the end of the day, the best bookkeeper for you is someone who you trust and like working with. Your local community bookkeeper might have those traits but if they don’t, you’re search doesn’t need to be constrained by geography.