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This article was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on December 15,

1999. All rights reserved.

Virtual Bookkeeper: Log On for Balances became a potential category-killer when

it came out with a service to put personal bill-paying online. Now,

one new start-up in the area wants to offer a similar type of service

for the business community. at 116 Village Boulevard (609-951-2219; fax,

609-520-1702, is an online bookkeeping,


and consulting firm that businesses can contract to handle all


aspects of the business. Through the service, a company’s financial

statements are prepared according to Generally Accepted Accounting

Principles (GAAP) and posted on the Internet, where the cash flow

in and out of the company can be monitored and downloaded when


It’s the ideal Internet start-up for the Internet start-up, says


Timothy F. Downing, a CPA and former CEO of MFR Group and former

CFO of David’s Cookies. "Usually businesses just starting out

do it themselves, which is a total disaster," he says. "Or

they hire a bookkeeper, but they’re limited in what they do."

In addition to implementing accounting programs like Peachtree and

Quick Books for the office, will also do a


taxes and help prepare statements for investors and banks. Downing,

who holds a BA in economics in accounting from Rutgers, Class of 1977,

hopes to use his experience in entrepreneurial environments for

businesses that "have needs that go beyond just paying bills."

The outsourcing model of, Downing argues, is also

good because bookkeepers and accountants are not always needed on

a full-time basis. "They can’t afford to keep them on the


he says. "It’s part and parcel to people trying to contain


For a small business, could cost around $1,000

a month, but for larger businesses it may go as high as $10,000,


on the type of service. Downing estimates his service costs roughly

25 to 30 percent less than it would to hire a full-time bookkeeper

or accountant.

Despite the fact that the company operates from outside the business,

says Downing, "we view ourselves as an extension of your

company."’s staff, which includes two CPAs and three


pick up financial documents from their clients roughly once a week.

The company’s financial profile is posted on a website where it can

be viewed with a private company user name and password. However,

the site is not interactive; if you need to write a check or alter

any information, you have to phone, fax, or E-mail the request to Therefore, Downing advises clients to keep checks

around for emergencies.

As for full-interactivity — where a company can actually do


online — Downing doesn’t foresee his company doing that. It’s

still more about numbers, than technology: "We’re basically


to take the headaches out of the accounting."

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