The Pros And Cons Of Online Accounting Services

Cassidy Jakovickas

May 15, 2024

Deloitte’s 2021 Global Shared Services and Outsourcing Survey Report showed that companies continue to outsource critical business functions like finance, Human Resources, and IT. If you’re considering outsourced services, you should consider the pros and cons of online accounting services. Many software companies are offering online accounting services to small and mid-sized businesses, which offer yet another affordable alternative to an in-house accounting department.

What are online accounting services?

To serve the demand for outsourced accounting services, tech companies are building proprietary software and hiring people with financial knowledge and skills to deliver affordable accounting services. In other words, online accounting services put the software first and the service second. This is significantly different from the traditional approach of accountants that prioritizes the service and experience, and then chooses technologies that enable a superior client experience.

Comparing online accountants and outsourced accountants

As a variant of outsourced accounting services, online accounting services offer the same benefits with a few differences:

  • Affordability: Like outsourced accounting, online accounting services are more cost effective than hiring an accountant or bookkeeper. However, online accountants build their services around their software, which may not always match the client’s needs.
  • Availability: Online and outsourced accountants are only available during normal business hours, offering email or non-live chat support outside that time period. Some online accountants source their talent from around the world to allow for 24/7 availability, but challenges can arise due to language barriers, and unfamiliarity with the tax code.
  • Reputation: As software companies, online accounting services collect and display their reviews on platforms like G2 and Trust Radius while online accountants show their client reviews on Facebook, Google, and their website.
  • Location: Most online accountants do not have a physical office, but interact with clients through video calls, live chat, and support documentation. Outsourced accountants may also use video calls, Loom videos, chat, or text to communicate with clients, but also offer the option of in-person meetings at their office.

A summary of outsourced accounting vs. online accounting services

Factor: Cost

Outsourced Accounting Services: More cost-effective than hiring staff due to no hiring expenses, training costs, or management

Online Accounting Services: Cost-effective due to emphasis on using software to perform defined services

Factor: Technology

Outsourced Accounting Services: Outsourced accountants use technology and automation to create a client experience that’s focused.

Online Accounting Service: Accountants use a proprietary software platform to automate routine and monotonous tasks so they can focus on reporting and analysis.

Factor: Availability

Outsourced Accounting Services: Can be based locally or online. Reachable through phone, email, chat, video calls, or in-person meetings

Online Accounting Services: Rarely offers local or in-person meetings. Reachable through phone, email, video calls, and chat. 

Do you want an accountant who prioritizes service over software?

At MBS Accountancy, we believe accounting software should support, not replace, our service quality and the client experience. For example, we use cloud accounting software to provide clients with convenient, real-time access to their financial reports. If you’re ready to outsource your accounting to modern, tech-supported accountants, give us a call today!