Technological advances have spurred a revolution in telecommuting and work-at-home jobs. Washington State University psychology professor Tahira Probst told NBC's "Today" that telecommuting is associated with higher job satisfaction rates, lower turnover, reduced employee stress and better annual evaluations. Most computer-based jobs can be moved from an in-office cubicle to your living room recliner with little to no need for additional accommodations. Professional bookkeepers, for example, have a number of job options.
The flexibility of remote positions gives companies a wider pool from which to select job candidates. A quick keyword search of "remote bookkeeper" on Monster.com, Indeed.com or any accounting job search site shows a number of full-time remote positions -- complete with benefits like 401(k), health insurance and paid vacation time -- available with companies seeking experienced bookkeepers and accountants.
Virtual Office Firms
Over the last decade, hundreds of small businesses have eliminated their support staff -- for example, receptionists, bookkeepers and IT managers -- and instead hire out the services with virtual office consulting firms. The company hiring for the services need not outlay funds for benefits, extra office space, equipment and software because they are instead provided by the virtual office consulting firm and the virtual assistant offering her services.
If you are interested in becoming your own employer and creating a bookkeeping firm out of your home office, you can develop a client list by bidding on and accepting freelance jobs. There are a number of online job boards designed specifically for freelance contractors. Projects posted on sites like Elance, for example, can be bid on, tracked and funded using the site's workspace and escrow features. Social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn also provide access to special groups and job boards that help you connect with companies requiring bookkeeping services.
Pitching Remote for an In-Office Position
If you already work full-time as a bookkeeper or have interviewed with a firm seeking an in-office employee, you can attempt to convince the hiring manager that telecommuting is a better option. When you make your pitch, focus on the benefits to the company, like extra office space and around-the-clock availability. Emphasize your past performance and any commendations you've received for working independently. Offer a backup plan like a promise to come into the office with your laptop for meetings and during emergencies.
Regardless of the bookkeeping position or freelance opportunity, expect the same qualification requirements you'd find with an in-office position. While some companies may not require a college degree, most will specify a certain amount of needed bookkeeping experience. You'll likely need to demonstrate your skills with some type of aptitude test. Additional certification might also be required -- the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers, for example, offers the Certified Bookkeeper designation, which proves your bookkeeping skills and knowledge.
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