Virtual Accountant — FAQs

What is a virtual accountant?

A virtual accountant is a real accountant who works in the ‘cloud’.   Virtual accounting allows qualified accountants to offer services remotely. Businesses across the Canada are taking advantage of this efficient, flexible, and cost-effective accounting option so that they can meet their business goals by focusing on their core business.

Why would I want to work with you as a virtual accountant?

This would make sense for you if:

  • You find it difficult to get in to see your accountant.
  • You travel a lot.
  • You live in a small community in Alberta or British Columbia and you don’t have access to a professional accountant (CPA).
  • You already have most of your information online.
  • You prefer to work on line.

Who doesn’t this work for?

  • This wouldn’t make sense for someone who is looking for traditional accounting services. Ie: Face to face in person meetings.
  • It doesn’t make sense if you are uncomfortable being online
  • You don’t want to have your data in the cloud.
  • You prefer to pay someone to manage the paper – want to just hand over the ‘shoebox’.
  • You like the paper and aren’t ready to go online.

If I want to work online can I still meet you?

Of course you can.  We can meet online via Skype or you can come to my office in Kelowna, British Columbia.  I also am regularly in Calgary Alberta and would be happy to arrange a meeting while there.

Is my data safe?

Once your data is online you do lose some control over it.  That is an unfortunate side effect of cloud based systems.  Your banking, your credit card information and even the Canada Revenue Agency are all online these days.  Even if you don’t actively put your information on line – it’s there.  To be safe, use only reputable service providers and make sure you have good passwords that you change regularly.

Who are you?

My name is Michelle Duford.  I am a Chartered Professional Accountant and I am a real person. I am registered to provide public practice services (basically tax services) in British Columbia and Alberta.

I live in beautiful Kelowna British Columbia. I have been doing this since 2002.  I have a systems background and I have embraced cloud technology.

Who is working on my file?

All of your work is done in Canada – nothing goes offshore.  You will be working directly with me and my staff.

What kind of services do you provide virtually?

  • Tax returns and yearend financial statements for small incorporated businesses
  • Tax planning
  • Bookkeeping training and review
  • Bookkeeping if you don’t want to do it yourself
  • Personal Tax returns (for corporate clients)

Ok I am in, what’s next how does this all work?

First contact me and let me know what services you want.  All of my services can be found on my website under ‘Services’.  You can even request a meeting under the ‘Contact Me’ menu.

Once we decide to work together, I will send you an engagement letter to sign as well as estimated fees for your file and a list of things I might need.

How do I get my information to you?

There are a number of ways you can get your information to me.

Shared online folders.  This is simple, you copy your scanned information to a shared folder, we use what we need and put the completed documents there for you to sign

I recommend Sync.Com at www.sync.com.  They are based in Canada and provide 5G of storage for free.  The only one in the list that’s 100% Canadian.

While not based in Canada many people are already using the following services.

There are other services out there. As well many cloud based bookkeeping systems let you upload your expenses and bank information directly to your bookkeeping file.  QuickBooks, Wave, Xero for example.

E-courier.ca.  E-courier is more like secure email than a shared folder.  While you still scan in your information, instead of saving to a shared folder it gets sent like an email.  This does not go through regular email channels and is secure so is safe to send things like T4’s, SIN etc.

Are there any online bookkeeping services you recommend?

Yes, while I recommend QuickBooks Online, there are a multitude of online bookkeeping systems you can use.

* Please note that Freshbooks isn’t a complete accounting system, if you use Freshbooks, there is still bookkeeping to be done.

Still have questions?

Send me a email to info@dufordcpa.ca or call me at: 250-763-7923.

Michelle Duford, CPA