The virtual accountant: Is this the future? Thanks to technology, it is practically no longer necessary to visit your accountant. More and more companies are becoming exclusively virtual.
This is the case for Live CA LLP, the first 100% virtual accounting firm in Canada. Even meetings with clients are done by web cam! In Quebec, the trend is also toward teleworking and virtual. Thomas-Lafleur Lafleur (CPA CMA) is co-founder of the Le Chiffre accounting firm, which offers accounting services to entrepreneurs and companies of the digital age. He believes the transition to virtual is inevitable, including in the accounting field. “It’s a question of adapting to the market. Young entrepreneurs are demanding and do not understand why accounting software would not be on the cloud, or why they would have to print documents if it’s not necessary to do so. In addition, from a simple logistical point of view, it is much more efficient to process digital data than on paper; it’s also a question of cost,” he explains.
The virtual accountant is 100% virtual… or nearly
The services offered by Le Chiffre are therefore 100% virtual: data processing, tax compliance, consulting, payroll, systems integration and data analysis. “In fact, our team could be scattered to the four corners of the globe and do the same job as they are now doing. We are also trying this concept with one of our colleagues who is leaving for Mexico and will work there,” Thomas-Louis Lafleur says.
Christiane Constantineau is CEO and founder of Gouru Calculus, another 100% virtual firm which specializes in bookkeeping and financial management for SMEs, NPOs and Cooperatives. But although clients appreciate this entirely remote working offer, sometimes face-to-face meetings are still essential, Christiane Constantineau explains. “In this case, an employee of the group will travel to go and meet the client,” she says.
Thomas-Louis Lafleur agrees. “A physical presence, especially when being first involved, is really relevant to establish a bond of trust and especially to organize the work which will then be done virtually,” the accountant explains. Once clients have been welcomed and integrated, the technological tools are set up to bridge the gap: cloud computing platforms for the accounting, video conferencing with screen sharing, on the phone, using Slack or by email. Physical presence has a final benefit – consolidating links between the employees themselves! “A young team, to make changes in rather dusty industry, needs a lot of coordination and nothing replaces a physical presence in the offices to work together,” concludes Thomas-Louis Lafleur.