1. Bookkeeping Skills and Experience
Learn bookkeeping and start a bookkeeping business at the same time with no experience. Get more info. here.
To start a bookkeeping business you need to receive bookkeeping skills training. This will give you enough knowledge to offer basic bookkeeping services to small businesses.
It would be great if you can get some bookkeeping experience working for someone else for a time because...
... with experience comes confidence.
The more experience you have, the more confidence you'll gain which
will be obvious to a prospective client.
However, it is not an absolute requirement because you can always find yourself a coach or mentor, or join LinkedIn and Facebook groups to get guidance when you get stuck on something as you work on a client's accounts.
2. The Cost to Start Bookkeeping Business
The cost to start a bookkeeping business will depend on where you will work from – your home
or an office.
Starting from home will immediately cut
down costs because there will be no office rent or utilities to pay. You can also claim home office expenses to reduce the tax you have to pay to the government.
Working from home is the best way to do it to start with until you are making enough profit to rent an office in town if that is your goal. However, if you have a nice enough home office you may as well stay there. You can always visit with clients at a coffee shop or some other quiet meeting place if you are reluctant for clients to come to your home.
If renting an office, a basic list of equipment required could include (but is not limited to):-
- Desk and chair
- Filing cabinet or shelf
- Chair for customers
- Fast computer and printer
- Kettle and cups
- A pot plant (gotta have some greenery to keep you calm!) and how about a beautiful piece of art for the wall
- Bookkeeping Software
- Folders and stationery
There could be other start up costs such as telephone and electricity connections (unless these are already part of the rental or you are working from home).
That's all without hiring employees.
3. Resources and Software
Resources for your bookkeeping business can include:-
Books and Guides
- the latest edition books about bookkeeping and accounting in your country, which are often available from the local library
- small business advice websites
- your local business support group
Good bookkeeping software (like Quickbooks or Xero) is a must.
Get a program for professionals that includes bank reconciling, accounts payable and accounts receivable, inventory control and a good range of reports.
software developers sell basic programs that can do bank
reconciliations and a few reports which are good for very small home
...but for a bookkeeping business I recommend
purchasing the advanced software because it will enable flexibility in
what you can offer to a client, and will prevent you getting frustrated
with the inadequacies of a basic program.
may have already purchased bookkeeping software and will be able to give
you a login so you can access their data online.
I also recommend you get Microsoft Excel which can be used on PC's or Macs. The main reason for this is so that you can export reports to Excel for manipulation so you get them to look how you want and present them to your clients in a unique way.
4. How to Find Clients
Word of mouth is one of the most powerful methods of gaining new business!
Here are some ideas to find clients for your bookkeeping business:-
- Advertise in the newspaper and yellow pages
- Get your profile up and running on Linked-In
- Develop a website
- Get on to Social Media and start plugging your services
- Sign-write your vehicle
- Network at local business events
- Talk about it to your friends and acquaintances
If you are not strong at marketing you can always get some training - just look online.
If you can get just one customer to start with and offer them an
amazing service, they will definitely recommend you to their business
friends and acquaintances.
Don't expect to have dozens of
clients flocking to your door in the beginning.
It takes time and hard
work to build up a loyal customer base, and it also depends on whether
you are in it to expand and become an employer, or if you prefer to stay
small and on your own.
5. How Much Should You Charge
You will need to do some research to find out how much other bookkeeping
service providers in your region charge.
The usual method is to have a set
charge per hour, or have a set amount for
certain types of work such as $100 per month for bank reconciling and
reports, and then charge $1 per sales or purchase invoice prepared, and
so on. (This is just an example).
Gabrielle Fontaine of The Freelance Bookkeeper has some great resources and information for bookkeepers to manage their businesses and provides a break-even calculation sheet that will help you work out how much you need to earn to cover your costs and make a profit, and also how to go about charging set rates per type of service rather than an hourly rate.
A really great group on LinkedIn is Bookkeepers Club - you can ask a question and immediately get responses from many, experienced bookkeepers and accountants - it's awesome. You need a LinkedIn profile to join the group.
6. Advanced Accounting Help
Sometimes your client may ask you to do something or ask you an advanced question that you do
not know how to answer.
It is a good idea to develop a relationship
with an accountant or someone who knows more than you so that you can
find out about the more complicated stuff when it comes up.
meantime, you could continue on with more advanced bookkeeping and
accounting studies and qualifications and then be the person that helps
other beginner bookkeeping providers!