When you first contact Accounting Girl to assist with your finances, you’ll set-up an initial meeting to review the scope of the relationship and the work. Depending on how much back-work needs to be done to assimilate your books, they will quote you a flat-fee for onboarding. Then, as the relationship continues, they charge a percentage of revenue for their ongoing fee.
During the onboarding process, you’ll be migrated to QuickBooks online. After that, if necessary, your accounts will be rebuilt for you in an efficient and appropriate manner. This allows your virtual CFO to access your accounts through the online portal, which obviates the need to send files over the internet or use any alternative programs to communicate. (So long as everyone uses responsible password management and 2FA, your data should be reasonably secure). At all times, you can see what Accounting Girl is doing, and your books stay appropriately up-to-date.
Once this relationship starts, they’ll even dig into the accounting and billing in your Law Practice Management Software. Although experience indicates that they can likely work in any LPMS you use, they have specific knowledge of Clio, MyCase, Cosmolex, PracticePanther, and more. After all, this is what you would expect from an internal accounting department—a virtual CFO should be no different.
In addition to tracking your books and accounts, Accounting Girl can also help you with your financial planning, budgeting for the future, and tracking things like your KPIs. Here, you’ll benefit from their experience in planning for the future, which can include planning financially for upcoming hiring situations, office expansion, and even retirement.
Benefits of a Virtual CFO
Generally, the more hands-off an attorney is in this relationship, the more beneficial it is. Which feels weird to say. We, as lawyers, typically like to have our hands in every aspect of the business. But, occasionally—actually, more often than not—it’s better when we let experts handle what they do best.
By outsourcing your accounting department, you can hire for experience, rather than convenience, location, or something even less related to capability. Although Accounting Girl doesn’t solely work with attorneys, that business makes up the bulk of what they do. Which means they’re well versed in lawyer trust accounting, and the ethical obligations that go along. So, you can feel confident leaving your accounting in their hands.
However, your office will never be totally disengaged—that’s how lawyers lose their licenses. Even with your virtual CFO creating all of your client bills, your office (hopefully a managing attorney) will still be expected to review what Accounting Girl sends over, and push them out the door. Not only does that allow for you to maintain a certain degree of oversight, but you are also able to keep that direct relationship with your clients.
How Accounting Girl is Different
The stand-out difference between Accounting Girl and some other outsourced accounting, is the three-way reconciliation they do. They’ll connect to your online bank account, your QuickBooks account, and your LPMS to make sure your financials are correct each month.
Importantly, as you would expect from any CFO, they aren’t just in your accounts at the beginning and the end of each month. Generally, someone from Accounting Girl connects with your accounts on a daily basis. This means that you don’t lose any time waiting for someone to get your books straight before you can run reports, confidently create bills, or run-down accounts receivable. But, in reality, you won’t have to do that either, that’s what your virtual CFO is for.