If you plan to work from home bookkeeping – providing a home based bookkeeping service – these tips will help you step in the right direction.
What will you learn about here?
Home, Equipment and Software
Computer and Home Security
Pros and Cons to Working on Your Own
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Home Equipment and Software
Home - Starting off small and on your own means that you could set up your 'office' on your dining room table. If you have to meet clients and you don't feel that your 'office' is a suitable venue then you could arrange to go to a quiet coffee bar, or meet in the client's office or home.
Equipment - If you don't have a computer, you could consider doing bookkeeping the old-fashioned way and set up a manual cash book, even starting a double-entry system.
This will work well if your first clients are fairly small with a low number of business transactions.
If you have a computer but no bookkeeping software, there are several cheap options to get you started:-
Set up a cashbook in your spreadsheet programme, like Excel. If you can't afford Excel, an excellent option is the Open Office Spreadsheet – this is a free download and works extremely well. Note, this is a spreadsheet programme with self calculating capabilities – it is not bookkeeping software.
Purchase basic bookkeeping software to load on to your computer. Basic programmes come with cash book and bank reconciliation options and some have accounts receivableoptions.
There are many online bookkeeping programmes for which you can pay a fairly low monthly fee to access. All the information is kept in the online provider's servers so you don't have to worry about constant backups.
Your work from home bookkeeping service could use the great option of Remote Computer Access - This is software that enables you to remote in to a customer's computer from your computer allowing you to use their bookkeeping software.
There are some free options out there. Initially, the remoting software needs to be loaded onto both of your computers with a password assigned.
Simply log in at a time that suits you both (they cannot use their computer at the same time as you).
Computer and Home Security
When keeping a client's information your top priority is goodcomputer back up systems and good home security. Ensuring their information does not get lost or damaged will help you keep their trust.
Computer Backups -
These can be done to CD or DVD discs and should be done everyday.
Keep one in the office, and another one off site at a secure location so if your house should become seriously damaged for some reason, your client's information will remain safe.
A really great option is to pay for online storage also known as cloud storage. Do a web search for online storage providers.
Customer Paperwork -
Ensure your home is secure. Good locks and tightly closed windows are a must when you are not there.
Invest in a lockable filing cabinet or cupboard.
Work From Home Bookkeeping : Pros and Cons
Outgoing and Social
Good at networking and spreading the word about your business
May struggle to spend many hours alone every day
Switch off the phone and decide to focus on work only between certain hours.
Shy and Quiet, less social
No problems spending long hours alone working.
May struggle with networking and spreading the word about your business
Use lots of advertising methods - Yellow pages, fliers, letter box drops. Try Toastmasters
Spending many hours isolated when you work from home bookkeeping can be tough on an out-going person.
You may be tempted to constantly phone friends or go out for coffees under the guise of networking which will not do your work any good! You will need to discipline yourself.
However, on the up side, you should have no problem spreading the word about your business!
If you are quiet and shy, and uncomfortable at networking events – it will take extra effort on your part to get out there and spread the word about your services.
A good choice for you will be the printed method. Perhaps join Toastmasters where you will be given the opportunity to learn how to speak publicly, and at the same time talk about your business!
In a Job Already?
If you are bringing much relied upon income to the household from an outside job, you will need to consider work from home bookkeeping outside of your normal work hours until you have established a good income base from your business.
This can be heavy going and time consuming and will only work if your partner is supportive.
It will be a juggle ensuring the work gets done and at the same time ensuring your family does not feel neglected which leads to misery and breakups.
Stay at Home Mum?
If you are a stay at home mum, living on your partner's income, it could be the ideal time to start off a home based bookkeeping service.
If your children attend kindergarten or pre-school for a few hours every day you will have the benefit of time to focus on establishing a business without the pressure of having to bring in a full income right away.
Be sure that your partner is happy with this. It's always great to be able to bounce ideas off your loved one, and helps them feel wanted, appreciated and involved in your endeavours!