Tips & tricks to finding a great virtual assistant (VA)
Rayla Rappaport avatar
Written by Rayla Rappaport
Updated over a week ago

At Finaloop, your bookkeeping team will cover your full accounting process, but there are certain data inputs we'll need from you - specifically, inputs relating to your financial operations that are outside the normal bookkeeping process.

Some of our larger customers (typically high 7-figure brands to mid-8-figure brands) often work with virtual assistants (VAs) to help with these specific data entry tasks.

How brands use VAs with Finaloop

The financial operations can include a variety of tasks depending on your specific business needs. Finaloop customers that use VAs to assist them with these tasks, typically will have their VAs work on any of the following:

Vendor bills

  • Adding vendor bills into Finaloop directly or via or Settle from which Finaloop can sync the data directly

  • Reconciliation of bill payments that are not done through or Settle. For example, if a bill is paid and the amount paid does not match the open bill amount, we'll need input to link the bill payment to the relevant bill.

  • Here's how it's done: When the payments hit the bank, you can link them to the corresponding bill on the Transactions page. Just choose the transaction you would like to link >> choose the category "Bill payment", click next, and then select the relevant bill.


  • Creating B2B invoices directly in Finaloop or via Stripe, Shopify B2B orders, or PayPal

  • Reconciliation of bank deposits to the open invoices. For example, if an ACH transfer is received from a customer but the amount doesn't completely match an open invoice, we'll need you to link the deposit to the relevant invoice.

  • This helps ensure you can 100% accurately track your open invoice balances with your customers.

  • Here's how it's done: When the deposit hits the bank, you can link it to the corresponding invoice on the Transactions page. Just choose the transaction you would like to link >> choose the category "Invoice paid by customer", click next, and then select the relevant invoice.

Transaction splitting

  • Splitting specific transactions based on external data.

  • For example, if you routinely send payments to your 3PL which includes multiple components, such as shipping, warehouse fees, and fulfillment fees, you may want to split the transaction on the Transactions page into the relevant categories.

COGS / inventory

  • We calculate your real-time COGS directly from Shopify and Amazon based on a cost per unit provided by you.

  • We'll need input from you to provide updated landed costs per unit or to pull your COGS from your inventory management system (IMS) and enter it into your COGS tracker, if relevant.

  • Updating the status of your inventory purchases between In process, In transit, or Received on your Purchases screen (optional input).

As a general point, we highly recommend that the VA works on well-defined administrative/operational tasks. Finaloop takes care of and is responsible for all the accounting aspects of your books - if you have accounting questions, you can direct them to us and not to the VA.

Let's walk through the recommended process to find and vet the right VA for your financial operations based on our experience working with many of these VAs and based on customer feedback and recommendations.

How to find a VA on Upwork to help with your financial operations

In our experience, using these search parameters for talent resulted in the most relevant and reliable finds:

Search terms: bookkeeping, finance

Hours billed: 1,000+ (the higher, the better)

Job success: 90% & up

Talent quality: Top Rated Plus

Hourly rate: $15-20/ hour

In general, when comparing different VAs, also look at their total earnings to hours. Having higher earnings (with corresponding higher hours), is a good sign in terms of their experience.

While you can find talent on Upwork from all over the world, we often work with VAs located in the Philippines. In our experience, the communication, language, rate per hour, and professionalism of VAs there are generally very successful.

How to choose the right VA in 5 steps:

  1. Create a list defining exactly which tasks you want to outsource and the experience and skillset you're looking for

    At a minimum, any VA you hire should have experience in the specific tasks you intend to hire them for - such as experience in data entry, accounts payable, accounts receivable. Bookkeeping skills is a plus.

    You can use our list of tasks above under 'How brands use VAs with Finaloop' as a starting point and customize as needed.

    Communicating your specific expectations upfront, such as budget and hours, is key to saving you major headaches down the line.

  2. Do your research

    When researching potential VA candidates, we're always a big fan of relying on referrals and recommendations from friends or fellow ecommerce operators who have worked with them directly.

    If this isn't an option, it's time to jump on Upwork and start searching using the recommended parameters listed above.

  3. Narrow your choices

    Select the top 5 candidates based on their skill set, experience, rating, and, budget, and jump on calls to get a sense of their communication and interpersonal skills (i.e., make sure it's someone you vibe with).

  4. Hire for a 1 month probation period

    Select the top candidate and hire them for 1 month on probation to see how it works. Can you rely on them and trust their work? Are they detail-oriented, timely, and responsive?

  5. Rinse and repeat as needed

    If it doesn't work, pivot quickly and try again. Don't invest your time in someone who won't be around in the next 6 months.

Please note that Finaloop does not have any financial interest or arrangement with the VAs. If you decide to hire them, you would do it directly via Upwork.

How to get them started on Finaloop

Once you've found a VA, you can get them set up on Finaloop by going to 'Members', and providing them with a Operator/ VA role to your Finaloop account. You can choose between full access and limited access depending on the specific tasks you want them to work on.

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