Due to everything being all online and allowing for the booming of e-commerce, bookkeeping is becoming an exploding career field. It’s a field that will always have openings due to the nature of bookkeeping: keeping track of day-to-day business activities.
Essentially, the bookkeeper’s main goal is to make sure that all sales, expenses, invoices, payroll, and everything in between are accounted for at the end of the day.
Without a bookkeeper, a business would not last a month, thanks to the bookkeeper’s due diligence.
So how does one become a bookkeeper and keep afloat?
It’s easier than you think. Listed below are a few examples of how to get started:
Sign up for free courses on bookkeeping. These are free seminars designed to assist and offer insight into this new career path thanks to Bookkeeper Launch, Accounting Coach: Bookkeeper Training, Free Bookkeeping Courses(free bookkeeping software available), and this free training available to you.
Purchase these books to get clients but also your business off the ground: Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway, Profit First, How To Open Your Own In-Home Bookkeeping Service and Bookkeeper Business Launch.
Reach out to a local small bookkeeper business in your area and ask: ‘I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions about how you are juggling your job duties and the crisis of the pandemic. How do you do that?’ Chances are 9/10; you will have made a successful networking attempt to meet with someone in your industry. Congrats.
Keep reading this article, which is a step-by-step guide to walk you through and get you into the job field regardless of your experience level.
Bookkeeper vs. Accountant: The big difference in responsibilities
Becoming a bookkeeper is nothing like becoming an accountant. An accountant requires education, training, and experience because of the nature of their job. They deal with sensitive information that relates to the company’s financial standing and reputation. Bookkeeping deals with the day to day tasks such as:
- Timely updates of financial records
- Reconciling expenses
- Customizing financial reports
- Managing payroll
- Reviewing records for accuracy
- Uploading and posting financial records into the system via computer
- Placing debits and credits in the correct accounts
- Recording sales
- Receiving receipts from employees
- Calculate and reimburse employees for work-incurred expenses
- Take the lead on the company’s accounts receivable and payable to ensure payments are processed
- Pay bills and invoices for the company
The big takeaway: Accountants deal with the company’s overall big picture while the bookkeeper is in charge of running a business. Accountants are also responsible for decisions that relate to month-to-monthly issues.
Can I become a bookkeeper with no experience despite my qualifications?
Of course, you can! Unlike accounting, which requires a degree, training, and experience, bookkeeping requires expertise and training.
Anyone can learn to be a bookkeeper if they put the work in to become one.
You don’t need to start with a job, a course, a book, or a video. The first thing you need to do is have the desire to be one. Next, check out these skills that you will need to know to be an efficacious bookkeeper with these qualifications:
1. Competency with a computer
It should go without saying, but you need to work with a computer in this day and age. Not only where most of your work will be, but that is also where you will have access to your work.
2. You are prepared for when things come up
As a bookkeeper, you will have projects, deadlines, and on top of—things that come out of nowhere from time to time. It is best to be on top of your stuff as well as how you are working with your time.
3. Pay attention to the little things
Bookkeepers must check their work not once, twice, but thrice. Even then, small mistakes will happen. Don’t panic. But do leave room for revisions in your work on things you might miss but make sure you give yourself enough time to verify before sending it off to the client.
4. Amiable over email
If you plan on working for yourself or a company, you must have email etiquette.
Although most remote jobs require little to no face-to-face interaction, human interaction over communication devices is still extremely important. As a rule of thumb, if you work for yourself, it’s essential that your clients like your work and your responses.
Being polite and communicating with the client goes a long way to building a relationship.
5. You are juggling your workload tasks
When you first start getting clients, it’s essential to figure out:
- What is an emergency?
- Where is a good stopping point?
- How long does this task take me?
Because things will come up, it’s best to know now and as you go how long it takes you to get your jobs done.
You will have to move from different clients on different tasks with little time. If this is something that overwhelms you, consider getting one client and sticking with them before you proceed to expand. You do not have to have multiple clients, but you do need to know how to get the work done.
A client with unfinished work can have messy consequences vs. declining a client because you know your workload cannot handle the additional stress.
6. Self-sufficient with yourself
One of the big mistakes people make when starting something for the first time is that it will change their lives drastically.
No, it will not.
It is essential to have goals to meet but also to remember that this new career path will require hard work, taking what you can, and expanding on it. Having the right attitude goes a long way to ensuring success with work such as bookkeeping. Becoming a bookkeeper will take sacrifice, but the returns will be worth the time and energy you have put in once the job is put in.
From there, depending on your learning style, train and educate yourself on what you need to know how to do as a bookkeeper.
Again, your desire to learn as much as you can about bookkeeping and what you would like to work with will serve you well. It’s not about how many courses or hours you put into learning but about taking what you learned and applying it to your situation.
While the bookkeeping skills listed above are for when you are first starting out, go the extra step and check out these certifications to stand out from the crowd:
- American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) – To become certified, you will need to pass a four-section national certification exam, and you will need to meet the three thousand hours of work required.
- National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB) – To qualify for this certification in NACPB, you must submit proof of earning an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in accounting. Then, you will be permitted to sit for the exam.
The good news: you can become certified through an accredited university, whether it is local or online college courses.
How much does a bookkeeper make?
It depends. In a traditional sense, bookkeepers who work for one company or a corporation tend to make between $30,000 to $40,000 a year. If you break it down, it’s about 18.50 an hour as a bookkeeper when working with a company. If this is the environment where you thrive, then perhaps this job board is for you.
If you plan on starting your training alone, then I would recommend that you look into the virtual bookkeeping business. With virtual bookkeeping, you tend to have multiple clients, but you will also make more than if you started with a company as an employee. Virtual bookkeeping allows bookkeepers to set their rates and raises and work for returning clients, month to month.
To get a good idea if you’ve got started, check out these freelancing sites to get created and research the competition. From there, get clients by marketing yourself, joining communities, telling friends and family, plus more. You can also pitch to small businesses and startups as a way of getting your name and brand out there. From there, it is a slow climb to starting your own business.
Small question: how much should I charge for my bookkeeping services?
Answer: How much did it cost you in terms of time and practice to start marketing yourself? Keep in mind, that if the minimum wage had kept up with inflation and productivity, it would be twenty-five dollars an hour. Know how much you are worth.
If you are apprehensive and nervous about prices, this is what the experts of freelancing do on Fiverr:
Say, for instance, you are starting on Fiverr with a level 0 (the very beginning). You decide that before you post a job about your services, you choose to do research. Here is what you find:
|Name of Competitor||Services they offer||How long it takes them to complete a job||How much do they charge at the standard level||Rating and how many reviews your competition has|
|Competitor 1||Bookkeeping||One day||$25||5.0 stars (7 reviews)|
|Competitor 2||Bookkeeping||Three days||$20||5.0 stars (3 reviews)|
|Competitor 3||Bookkeeping||Five days||$60||5.0 stars (13 reviews)|
|Competitor 4||Bookkeeping||Two days||$10||5.0 stars (17 reviews)|
|Competitor 5||Bookkeeping||Two days||$50||5.0 stars (8 reviews)|
Now take the average for both the price and times like this:
Time: total sum number of days / total number of competitors = average number of days
Time: 1+3+5+2+2/5= 2.6 days
Decide if you would like to round up or down and go from there.
Same as the price:
Price: Total sum number of prices / total number of competitors = average price
Price: 25+20+60+10+50/5 = $33
Decide if you would like to round down to thirty dollars or round up to thirty-five dollars and go from there.
(Note: Fiverr only allows increments of $5 for their prices)
The next step is to sell yourself as a bookkeeper to the client once you’ve decided on a rate and how much time it will take. You are now ready to begin accepting clients as a bookkeeper.
Also, if you have direct clients, you can charge more than the above-said opportunities, and it can be from $65 to $85 an hour.
Now time to get to work remotely online with bookkeeping jobs
So, you’ve figured out how you’re going to learn and how much you are worth. That’s great! But nowhere comes the fun part: how much will you work and who will you work for exactly? Do you want to be a bookkeeper freelance and be responsible for the rate you set yourself? Or would you prefer to be a bookkeeper part-time? Or starting a bookkeeper business involving other bookkeepers? If what you want to do was not mentioned above, don’t worry. There are so many options available to you thanks to available remote work. Below are the options available to all bookkeepers alike:
Traditional Work Grind
Your job duties will be outlined and planned from the moment you get accepted into the position. To find online work, click here to see the newest bookkeeping jobs available from home.
Are you still looking for a 9 to 5 job?
Check out this specialized work-from-home job board designed to be perfect for incoming bookkeeping positions.
You will be surprised to note that businesses are looking for people who want a flexible schedule but can assist with the day-to-day duties of paying bills and keeping track of expenses and sales. Click here for part-time bookkeeping jobs that allow you to work from home and have a flexible schedule.
One option that you should also consider is a job board site known as FlexJobs. They screen every individual job posting that comes onto their site. They require that you subscribe to them, but they do that so you can get the best jobs from reliable sources.
Starting your own business from scratch
1. Bookkeeper Freelance
Getting started as a virtual bookkeeping freelancer right here is as easy as signing up for sites like Fiverr. As mentioned, there are also sites like FlexJobs, PeoplePerHour, Upwork, and others. For freelancers who are just getting started or seeking experience, these freelancing sites offer a variety of options.
2. Creating your own bookkeeping business and keeping it afloat
- The first thing you need to do is make sure you have to create a profile on the number of freelancing sites listed above. This will get you your first clients.
- Finding a space where you can get your work done according to your focus level as an individual
- Deciding what kind of business you would like to run and how you would like to run it
- What benchmarks you would like to meet?
- What is in your budget, and what sales do you need to ensure its survival?
- All the advantages of running a small business
- A place to network and meet other small businesses as well as any potential employees who can help with your workload
- Plus more
Running a business is the most lucrative yet hardest one to do. Still, through the right resources, knowledge, and much more, this guide can help you get started on what you need to begin your transition into your (lucrative) career as a bookkeeper.
How to start up a bookkeeping business from home
As mentioned before, starting a bookkeeper business requires the following things to get created:
- Knowledge of the industry
- Training and understanding the systems needed
- Bookkeeper software (i.e., Quickbooks, etc.)
- A space to work from
- A system in place to ensure all of the requirements and needs are met by the clients
- Plus more
While this might seem daunting, it’s not. Once you have these systems in place for your virtual bookkeeping job, you will have enough work to last you a lifetime. Let’s do the first thing first:
1. You are changing or creating your social media accounts to reflect your new career path
This should be one of the first things you do after training to become a bookkeeper career. Why? Psychology shows that customers are more likely to hire you if you have an online presence that shows your face and, most importantly, you.
Don’t worry about taking perfect pictures; simply look into the camera and be professional.
Bookkeepers have to keep the company afloat. Working as a bookkeeper requires the part to be played.
If you have no idea where to start, I would suggest: creating a Facebook page, a Pinterest account for business, an Instagram for business and Twitter to network with fellow small business bookkeepers. It helps to see if there are any changes to the world, thanks to how social media travels.
2. Setting up your business and paying for the upfront costs of a business
After getting your social media accounts established, take a day or two to think of what type of business you would like to own. If you are starting on your own, I would highly suggest the following:
- Sole Proprietorship
- Limited liability company (LLC)
By choosing a structure to determine how much you will owe in taxes as a business owner and individual. I would recommend you check out this article for a good starting point for these questions. Additionally, this is also a good source for configuring how much taxes need to be estimated for your bookkeeping job.
3. You are finding your first client
This might be the most challenging part about starting a new job; forget being a bookkeeper. You are going to have to put yourself out there thanks to the accounts you have created, whether it’s through social media or a freelancing gig. While putting yourself out, there be sure to keep the following in mind:
- You are finding your niche. The first thing you do is think of what kind of client you would like to work with exactly. Who is your ideal client? What businesses are you interested in working with exactly? Is there anything that you are an expert in specifically? What would you mind doing for the rest of your life in terms of industry and understanding the client?
- Look at your competition. See what they are doing and what they offer. Then look at what you got and see what you can provide but better. What is something that sets you apart from the virtual bookkeeper? What can you provide as a bookkeeper that others cannot? How can you use your bookkeeping skills to help the client? Why or why not?
Are you still having trouble?
Ask around to see anyone you know who needs a bookkeeper to help with their business.
There are estimated to be about 30.2 million small businesses, which make up more than 99.9% of all businesses in the United States.
There’s also a bonus side to telling everyone of your new business: in the past year, or so, bookkeeping and accounting jobs have steadily increased by 3.46%, adding over a million jobs to a growing industry. And as many people will say: ‘I can’t do numbers,’ when it’s about understanding systems relating to business. Word of mouth is the reason for many innovating products and services. Your bookkeeping business deserves to be one of them.
4. You are treating your clients with maximum communication and charisma
Now, after finding your first client, be sure that you show them all the stops. Don’t hesitate to show them what you can do and make sure that they always walk away happy. Being polite and personable can get more clients into your sights than most of us realize.
None of us are natural-born actors, so act how your highest self would and go from there.
It’s also important to note to apply the same attitude to everything, including disagreements with your client. When you do get into disputes, remember that you can walk away from a bookkeeping job. If you feel that someone disrespects you, make sure you do everything in your power before politely declining to not work with them. It’s not worth the stress.
With these four simple steps, you are now on your way to getting your business up and going.
However, before you take all the steps necessary, make sure you know the flip side of everything about starting a small business. To some of us, the downsides are not worth it. It’s important to remember: no one career, even a bookkeeping business, is meant for everyone.
The Pros and Cons of a new bookkeeping business
While a private online bookkeeping business may seem like the end-all and be-all, it’s important to remember that running a business is not for everyone. Yet, it is gratifying and worth the hard work, be sure to look over both sides of the coin when making this big decision. Opening up a small business can allow for the following good things:
- You are creating your schedule. You get to decide when to wake-up, up and when to close down shop. While you might work more hours at first, the decision to wake up with a night sky or sunrise is up to you and you alone.
- Low entry cost. The costs to begin a bookkeeper business will allow for expenses that won’t require a huge loan. All you need is a suite, whether it’s Microsoft Office or Google, an internet connection, a computer, a way to organize your virtual files and space for bookkeeping software.
- Job is always in demand, regardless of the industry. Bookkeeping jobs will still be in need, especially those that do allow a bonus of having documents sent to the bookkeeper as a result.
However, here are some things to keep in mind that also happen when running a business:
- Safety of sensitive data. It’s essential to keep your information protected and use your best judgment when working with clients online because some would love to take your personal information and use it against you.
- Little time for mistakes. You don’t have the luxury at first to have someone other than you to look over your mistakes. If systems are not put in place to prevent this, this can cause disastrous consequences.
- They are finding the grind. Working for yourself is a difficult challenge because you need to find a routine that will allow you to work on things. The reason 9 to 5 works for so many people is because of the established pattern. And especially in terms of bookkeeping, which relates to making things get sent in before the bank closes for the day, depending on the client.
The potential of a career in bookkeeping is a double-edged sword, as you can either be underpaid or overworked depending on what you choose. However, bookkeeping offers a unique opportunity and the chance to not only change your life but also help small businesses succeed.
Getting into anything new is exciting but requires hard work and all of your attention. Going after remote online bookkeeping jobs is something that many of us would like to pursue if we match it.
To conclude, bookkeeping jobs are something that will continue to be there but also grow even faster.
Businesses will always need help in the day-to-day tasks related to the overall view of the operation.
Bookkeeping is a skill that will take work at mastering and understanding, thanks to its broad scope. But with the right information and correct guidance, a successful career in bookkeeping awaits.
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