The Financial Edge Choosing Between Virtual and Onshore Bookkeepers in Real Estate

The Financial Edge: Choosing Between Virtual and Onshore Bookkeepers in Real Estate

Stephen Atcheler
Stephen Atcheler



As a seasoned player in the real estate industry, I’ve experienced firsthand the crucial role of bookkeeping in maintaining the financial health of a business. More than just tracking income and expenses, effective bookkeeping serves as the backbone of strategic decision-making. In recent times, we’ve seen a shift in the landscape with the advent of Virtual Real Estate Bookkeepers, creating a new dynamic against the traditional Onshore Bookkeepers. This emerging trend is reshaping how we manage and interpret our financial data.

Importance of Cost-Effectiveness

From my experience at ShoreAgents, I’ve observed that the financial implications of bookkeeping decisions are often underestimated. Cost-effectiveness is not merely about finding the cheapest service. It’s about maximizing value for money. It’s about finding a bookkeeping solution that not only fits your budget but also serves your strategic objectives and provides quality service. In the battle of Virtual vs Onshore Bookkeepers in Real Estate, cost-effectiveness plays a pivotal role.

Introduction to Virtual Real Estate Bookkeeper

With the digital revolution, Virtual Real Estate Bookkeepers have emerged as a competitive alternative to traditional bookkeeping services. But what makes them stand out? It’s their ability to offer high quality, consistent, and cost-effective services. As I pilot my own outsourcing journey, I’ve seen how virtual bookkeepers can provide the same level of expertise and professionalism as their onshore counterparts, often at a fraction of the cost.

Benefits of Virtual Bookkeepers

For one, virtual bookkeepers operate remotely, which means you save on overhead costs. They come with their own equipment and software, saving you the expense of providing these resources. Moreover, with real estate BPO agencies like ShoreAgents, you have access to pre-screened professionals who have proven industry expertise. This not only saves you time and resources but also guarantees a reliable source of talent.

Potential Challenges and Solutions

However, like any business decision, hiring virtual bookkeepers also comes with potential challenges. One common concern is the lack of personal interaction, which can affect communication and relationship-building. At ShoreAgents, we’ve overcome this by fostering a culture of open communication and providing various platforms for interaction. In the end, it’s about finding the right balance and making the choice that best aligns with your business needs and objectives.

Virtual Real Estate Bookkeeper

Definition and Role of Virtual Real Estate Bookkeeper

Definition and Role of Virtual Real Estate Bookkeeper

As a pioneer in the real estate industry, I’ve seen the shift towards virtual operations, and a crucial part of this transformation is the Virtual Real Estate Bookkeeper. In essence, a Virtual Real Estate Bookkeeper is a professional who manages financial tasks related to real estate, but they do so remotely, harnessing the power of technology to deliver their services.

These professionals handle a variety of tasks that are unique to the real estate sector. Not only do they manage general bookkeeping tasks such as tracking income and expenses, preparing financial statements, and reconciling bank statements, but they also handle real estate-specific tasks. These can include managing rental income and expenses, keeping track of property values, and dealing with property-related taxes. It’s the specialized nature of these tasks that sets Virtual Real Estate Bookkeepers apart from general virtual bookkeepers.

Advantages of Virtual Real Estate Bookkeeper

 Now, let’s move onto the advantages of hiring a Virtual Real Estate Bookkeeper. One of the most significant benefits is cost savings. With a virtual team, you eliminate the overhead costs of maintaining a physical office. Plus, you won’t have to bear the expenses of employee benefits, which are often a substantial part of hiring local employees. This cost-effectiveness aligns with the objective of many real estate companies in the United States, which is to achieve growth without breaking the bank.

Another advantage is the access to a broader talent pool. When you’re not limited by geography, you can hire the best talent from anywhere in the world. This means you’re not just settling for the best candidate in your local area, but you’re getting the best of the best.

Lastly, technology integration enhances the efficiency of Virtual Real Estate Bookkeepers. Using various cloud-based tools and productivity management software like ClickUp, Monday, AirTable, Asana, and Basecamp, they can automate repetitive tasks, streamline processes, and ensure accuracy in their work. This technology integration not only saves time but also reduces the chances of errors that can occur with manual bookkeeping.

As the Managing Director of ShoreAgents, I’ve seen firsthand how outsourcing to a virtual bookkeeper can transform a real estate business. I invite you to learn more about the offshore tipping point and how it can give your business a financial edge in my upcoming video.

Onshore Bookkeeper

Definition and Role of Onshore Bookkeepers

Definition and Role of Onshore Bookkeepers

Onshore bookkeepers can be defined as financial professionals who operate within the same country as your real estate business. They play a crucial role in managing and maintaining the financial records of a company. In the context of the real estate industry, these individuals are tasked with managing transactions, ensuring accurate record keeping, and providing financial reports that are integral to the decision-making process.

Operational Framework of Onshore Bookkeepers

Onshore bookkeepers function under an operational framework that adheres to the local laws and regulations, ensuring compliance while providing valuable financial insight. Their work often includes balancing ledgers, preparing tax returns, and producing balance sheets and income statements. They also play a significant role in budgeting and financial forecasting, which can be essential for real estate companies looking to invest in new properties or developments.

Advantages of Onshore Bookkeepers

The benefits of hiring onshore bookkeepers for your real estate business are numerous. One of the most significant advantages is their in-depth knowledge of the local market. This expertise can prove invaluable when analyzing financial data and making strategic decisions.

Direct Communication and Immediate Availability

Onshore bookkeepers also offer the advantage of direct communication and immediate availability. Given they operate in the same time zone, scheduling meetings or discussions becomes seamless, thus promoting efficient and effective communication. This can result in quicker problem-solving, faster decision-making, and ultimately, a more streamlined business operation.

Understanding of Local Tax Laws

Another key benefit of onshore bookkeepers in real estate is their profound understanding of local tax laws. Their expertise can help your business navigate complex tax scenarios, ensure compliance, and potentially save money by identifying tax benefits specific to the real estate industry.

Detailed Comparison

Detailed Comparison

Cost Analysis

As a successful real estate entrepreneur with years of experience in both onshore and offshore business models, I can confidently assert that the cost difference between hiring virtual and onshore bookkeepers in real estate is quite striking. On average, you’re looking at a cost of around $12 per hour for a virtual bookkeeper, compared to $50-$100 per hour for an onshore bookkeeper. That’s a massive difference on your balance sheet at the end of the month.

Virtual vs. Onshore Bookkeepers in Real Estate

The primary reason for the dramatic cost difference between virtual and onshore bookkeepers lies in the geographical location. With virtual bookkeepers, you’re not limited by location. You can access a global talent pool and often, these professionals are based in regions with lower living costs. This allows them to offer their services at a more competitive rate compared to onshore counterparts.

Cost Difference Analysis

There’s no denying the significant cost disparity between virtual and onshore bookkeepers, but why does it exist? Essentially, it boils down to overhead costs. Onshore bookkeepers are typically employed in-house, meaning you’re responsible for providing office space, equipment, and covering employee benefits. With virtual bookkeepers, however, these overheads are drastically reduced, as they work remotely and use their own equipment.

Value for Money

When weighing up the cost benefits of virtual vs. onshore bookkeepers in real estate, it’s essential to look beyond the hourly rate. Yes, virtual bookkeepers are more affordable, but what about the value they provide? In my experience, offshore teams can deliver the same level of expertise and dedication as onshore staff, often exceeding expectations due to their commitment to carving out a successful career in a competitive global marketplace.

Other Factors

While cost is a significant factor in the decision to hire virtual or onshore bookkeepers, it’s not the only consideration. Other factors such as availability, expertise, technological adaptability, and data security also come into play.

Availability and Expertise

In terms of availability, virtual bookkeepers can offer more flexibility. They can work in different time zones, meaning your business operations can continue beyond traditional office hours. As for expertise, the global talent pool provides a diverse range of skills and experiences that can benefit your real estate business.

Technological Adaptability and Data Security

Virtual bookkeepers also need to be technologically adaptable, capable of using cloud-based accounting tools, and communicating effectively online. In terms of data security, it’s crucial to ensure the appropriate measures are in place to protect your business information, irrespective of whether you choose virtual or onshore bookkeepers.

Case Study

A. Company Background

Allow me to introduce you to one of our clients, Brick + Timber. This company is a property management firm specializing in residential buildings particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area. Brick + Timber is unique in their commitment to providing residents with an incomparable rental experience, focusing heavily on the location of their properties as an integral part of that experience. Their portfolio includes sought-after neighborhoods with an array of amenities like Pacific Heights, Hayes Valley, Mission Dolores, and the Marina.

B. Decision Rationale

Brick + Timber’s decision to hire a virtual bookkeeper was driven by a number of influential factors. Among these was the cost-effectiveness of virtual staff. The company found that hiring onshore bookkeepers presented a heavier financial burden, given the higher labor costs associated with local hires. Additionally, the company recognized the potential for increased efficiency and productivity with a dedicated virtual bookkeeper managing their financial transactions.

Cost-Effective Growth

By choosing to offshore, Brick + Timber was able to achieve cost-effective growth. The savings from hiring a virtual bookkeeper allowed them to redirect resources towards strategic growth initiatives. This decision also provided them with access to a diverse talent pool, without the geographical restrictions of onshore hiring.

C. Outcomes

The financial and operational benefits Brick + Timber realized from their decision to hire a virtual bookkeeper were significant. Not only were they able to reduce labor costs, but they also found that the quality of work from their offshore staff surpassed their initial expectations. The virtual bookkeeper’s industry expertise and dedication led to improved financial management, contributing to the company’s overall growth and success.

Client Testimonial


Kuahiwi Kahapea, from Brick + Timber, shared their positive experience with our services: “We’ve used multiple Outsourcing companies and ShoreAgents has surpassed our expectations by far. From the quality of candidates we receive to the ongoing support, and everything in between. Kath and Mark have made the hiring process a breeze. We’re so thankful to work with an amazing team!”

Hiring a Virtual Real Estate Bookkeeper

Hiring Steps

Hiring a Virtual Real Estate Bookkeeper

When it comes to hiring a virtual real estate bookkeeper, it’s paramount to follow a rigorous process. Virtual vs. Onshore Bookkeepers in Real Estate is not a decision to be taken lightly. This begins with identifying the needs of your business. What tasks do you need your bookkeeper to handle? Once you have a clear picture, you can start the recruitment process.

1. Job Posting

Begin by crafting an attractive and detailed job posting that clearly outlines the roles and responsibilities of the virtual bookkeeper. Include the skills and experience you require.

2. Shortlisting Candidates

Once applications start flowing in, shortlist candidates based on their qualifications, experience, and skills. Look for candidates who have prior experience in real estate bookkeeping and who demonstrate an understanding of the unique demands of the industry.

3. Interview Process

Conduct thorough interviews to gauge the candidates’ competence. Ask specific questions about their experience with real estate bookkeeping and how they handle certain scenarios. This will help you identify the best fit for your business.

Challenges and Solutions

While hiring virtual bookkeepers can offer substantial cost savings, there are potential challenges that real estate firms must be prepared to address.

1. Communication Challenges

One of the main challenges of hiring virtual bookkeepers is communication. The absence of face-to-face interactions can sometimes lead to misunderstandings. However, this can be mitigated by leveraging communication tools like Zoom, Slack, or Microsoft Teams. Regular meetings and updates can ensure everyone is on the same page.

2. Time Zone Differences

Another challenge is the time zone difference, especially if your virtual bookkeeper is based overseas. This can be resolved through careful scheduling and finding a common time that works for both parties.

3. Data Security

Ensuring the security of sensitive financial data is another concern. Implementing strict data security protocols and using secure cloud-based platforms can help protect your company’s financial data.

In conclusion, while hiring a virtual real estate bookkeeper can present some challenges, with the right strategies and tools in place, these can be effectively managed. This allows your business to leverage the cost benefits and flexibility of virtual bookkeeping while ensuring efficient operations.


Choosing Between Virtual and Onshore Bookkeepers in Real Estate

Recap of Benefits

In the world of real estate, the decision between virtual and onshore bookkeepers is much more than a simple coin toss. Looking back at the benefits, hiring virtual bookkeepers takes the cake, especially when considering the financial edge.

Cost-Effective Solution

Firstly, hiring virtual bookkeepers serves as a cost-effective solution. It eliminates the need for office space and equipment, thus cutting down overhead costs significantly. This financial advantage allows real estate companies to channel their resources towards strategic growth.

Access to Global Talent

Secondly, it opens the door to a global pool of talent. This means you’re not limited to the skills and expertise available in your local area, but you have the opportunity to tap into a wealth of knowledge from across the world.

Streamlined Recruitment

Lastly, the process of hiring virtual staff often comes with streamlined recruitment. Partnering with a real estate BPO agency like ShoreAgents ensures that you have access to pre-screened professionals with industry expertise.

Final Thoughts

As we move forward, the future of bookkeeping in real estate looks increasingly digital. Technology has been a game-changer in many industries, and real estate is no exception. The rise of virtual bookkeepers is a prime example of how technology is revolutionizing the way we conduct business.

Embracing Technology

Embracing technology and the opportunities it brings, such as virtual bookkeeping, is no longer a choice but a necessity for real estate companies aiming for cost-effective growth. It’s not only about saving money but also about improving efficiency, streamlining operations, and staying competitive in the ever-evolving market.

In conclusion, the choice between virtual and onshore bookkeepers in real estate comes down to balancing cost, access to talent, and the readiness to embrace digital transformation. As the Managing Director of ShoreAgents, I encourage companies to consider these factors carefully and make informed decisions that align with their long-term goals.

Call to Action

Choosing Between Virtual and Onshore Bookkeepers in Real Estate Conclusion


As the Managing Director of ShoreAgents, I want to highlight the diverse benefits and cost-effective solutions that virtual bookkeeping can offer to your real estate business, regardless of your location. Whether you’re operating in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Canada, or elsewhere, navigating the competitive landscape of the real estate market demands innovative and strategic financial management. The choice between virtual and onshore bookkeepers is increasingly crucial for businesses globally. I strongly recommend considering the advantages of virtual bookkeeping, which can provide flexibility, efficiency, and scalability tailored to the unique needs of your business in the dynamic real estate industry.

Why Consider the Virtual Model?

Virtual bookkeeping offers a range of benefits that can give your business the financial edge. It allows you to leverage the talents of highly skilled professionals from around the globe, often at a fraction of the cost of hiring locally. This opportunity not only reduces labor costs but also overhead expenses associated with recruitment and office space. Moreover, it enables you to focus on your core operations, knowing that your financial management is in capable hands.

High Quality and Flexibility

Virtual bookkeepers can provide high-quality services that align with your business needs. They are adaptable and can work around your preferred schedule, providing real-time updates and reports. This flexibility is something that onshore bookkeepers may not be able to offer due to geographical and time constraints.

Next Steps

If you’re interested in exploring the potential of virtual bookkeeping for your real estate business, I encourage you to take the next step. ShoreAgents offers a free eBook that can guide you through the process of hiring a virtual assistant, providing you with deep insights into outsourcing and the advantages it can bring to your business.

Contact Us

Reach out to us for more information. Our team of experts is prepared to guide you seamlessly through the transition to a virtual model. Understanding the unique requirements of real estate companies, we are dedicated to aiding your pursuit of cost-effective growth with our services.

About the Author

Meet Stephen Atcheler, the Managing Director of a Real Estate Virtual Assistant Company. Stephen has been working in the industry since 2013 and has a wealth of experience in making outsourcing work for real estate businesses. He fell in love with real estate at a young age and has been working in the field since 2005. Stephen's passion for real estate and helping other business owners thrive led him to start his own real estate business in 2012, and eventually, to establish a real estate virtual assistant company to take it to the next level. Stephen's wealth of experience and knowledge in real estate and outsourcing make him the perfect person to guide you in setting up your own virtual assistant team. Feel free to reach out to him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram.

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