How to start a bookkeeping business from home

sole proprietorship

They require very different levels of effort and expertise and as you can imagine, the outstanding checks for full service accounting is much higher. However, most businesses that make the leap see the value and experience an ROI rapidly. Bookkeeping is a specialized skill—there are only so many people with the education, experience, and certification needed to keep books and make corresponding decisions. Because the practice itself is specialized, bookkeeping businesses can charge specialized rates. Laws in your state may require that you establish a formalized business structure. A Limited Liability Company, or LLC, is the most common type of business structure for small businesses.

In addition to tax consequences, your personal liability in the event of a lawsuit can vary dramatically by business structure, so be sure to consult with an attorney. You will also create a financial plan that should include a 12-month profit and loss projection, projected cash flow, and a projected balance sheet. GrowthForce can serve as your outsourced advanced bookkeeping and accounting department.

Accounting software providers on the market and is used by many small and large businesses alike. Another popular option is Xero, but there are plenty of bookkeeping apps to choose from. You can get certified in each of these programs, which can not only help you become a power user but can also help you market yourself as an expert. Some programs offer specialized features, such as customer relationship management , document management, and a dedicated mobile app.


This agreement ensures you are both on the same page concerning operations. Once you’ve picked a business name, the next step is to register your business and make things official. The exact process will vary depending on how you plan on structuring your business and where you’re planning to do business. You’ll want to look up the exact rules for how to register your business with your secretary of state’s office. Choose your business name, make sure someone else isn’t already using it, lest clients get confused.

Create Internal Policies and Procedures

You should consult your own professional advisors for advice directly relating to your business or before taking action in relation to any of the content provided. Smart accounting software will also allow automatic data entry, daily bank reconciliation and payroll. Online accounting software will let you look at accounts at the same time as your client. This means you can talk through their questions over the phone, reducing the number of meetings you have.

  • Well, we are not here to talk about how to make money from the internet, but on how to start a bookkeeping business from home.
  • However, going with a traditional bank and building a relationship with a local banker have advantages.
  • These documents look a bit different for each kind of business, but they serve the same general purpose.
  • Others struggle for months and even then aren’t sure if they made the right choice.

You should be familiar with more than one software as some of your clients may have a preference in terms of the accounting software that they’d like you to use. Once you’ve settled on a business name, you’ll need to register your business in the state in which you will do business. If you love numbers, organization, and some financial grunt work, bookkeeping is the perfect business for you.

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That gives you the chance to make sure that bookkeeping is really for you before quitting your day job to hang out your shingle. Similarly, if you just want to work part-time hours, you can do that, too. And while certification is useful, it’s not necessary to get started, nor is a college degree in business or accounting. If you can help a business stay on top of their books and ahead of problems, they’re not going to care about the schools you went to. The best thing about bookkeeping is that there’s always a demand. As long as there are businesses, there will be a market for people who can help them track their money.

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You can explore other options in our guide to the top-recommended business phone systems. If you’re not a CPA and want to prepare tax returns, I recommend becoming an Enrolled Agent through the IRS. EAs must initially pass an examination and then complete annual continuing education to renew their certification every three years. While no formal education or classes are required, the examinations are difficult and will prove you have the knowledge to serve tax clients properly. Christine is a non-practicing attorney, freelance writer, and author. She has written legal and marketing content and communications for a wide range of law firms for more than 15 years.

Ask current clients to refer you

Online communities, such as groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, can be helpful outlets for bouncing ideas and asking questions. Whether you operate a brick-and-mortar business or a virtual one, having a professional place to meet with clients is essential. However, it’s important to remember that you have to target businesses where you have the right location and the right skills. If you can fill them, then you have a specialization that is highly valuable to that market. Services based niches as opposed to manufacturing-based are also on the rise. For example, real estate professionals, landscapers, and farming clients are becoming a more prosperous and unique way to do business.

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You are providing a service to your clients, but you’re also giving them a value based on your credentials and experience. So, it’s up to you to set the standards and have them choose between lower costs versus the value of having a CPA prepare your taxes. Traditional accounting firms used to meet with clients just once a year to do their tax return. One of the benefits of starting an accounting firm is flexibility. So, the simple answer to the question is, yes—many accountants can and do work from a home office. Starting an accounting firm is like starting any small business – it requires a lot of work.

Whether you create your website yourself or hire a web developer, you’ll likely need to determine what you want on your website and factor that into your startup costs. Meaning, technology cannot be ignored if you want to get bookkeeping clients, or even land your first client. Think about what you want your bookkeeping business or CPA firm to achieve by that target date. Create a contract of employment for new clients to sign. You want to set expectations of you and your client upfront so there are no surprises.

start your business

The example of Canada also applies to a global stage since 90% of the businesses in the world today are small businesses. A bookkeeper’s top responsibility is to keep a chronological list of related debits and credits of a business; which forms part of a ledger of accounts. As a book-keeper you will be responsible for writing the daybooks, which contain records of purchases, sales, receipts, and payments.

Certification isn’t technically required, but it’s useful because it reassures your clients that you have the knowledge and experience needed to manage their money. Most certifications require at least one year of experience as a bookkeeper in addition to successfully passing one or more tests, so you may need to work for a while before they’re an option. Study the requirements and track your progress toward meeting them. There is also no reward for working efficiently since fewer hours means less billing. As a virtual bookkeeping firm, you’ll need to determine a reasonable rate for your clients, even if they’re located in other areas. You will need a complete office setup, including a good scanner and possibly a printer.

Now that we’ve provided you with a roadmap to get your bookkeeping business started, I want to challenge you to pick a date for when you would like to be ready to take that first client. Then, take this guide and create a weekly to-do list based on the steps we have shared with you. Marketing is one of the most difficult things for accountants and bookkeepers to master. Whether this is your side gig or full-time business, you can get a website customized for your business with a company that offers specialized marketing services, like CPA Site Solutions. Another tool that will make your life easier is practice management software. This can help you organize and track the progress of client work and, in some cases, provide a portal to access your client’s books.

bookkeeping practice

On a whole, you will keep a check on all the money going in and money going out on a daily basis. Do remember, that you need to build your audience first. You can’t start by charging your initial customers high.

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And while an online presence won’t guarantee an increase in exposure, not having one can have a negative impact and can discredit you to a potential client. In many cases, website and social media become an augmentation to your word of mouth referrals. Most people won’t simply call a number without the opportunity to do some basic online research.

Now that you have your business plan in hand and all the paperwork and legal matters finalized, there are a few more things you need to do to make sure you’re prepared to begin bookkeeping. To move forward with your bookkeeping business, you need a business plan. Bookkeepers often utilize business accounting software to help businesses with payroll, profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and other important reports. A business bank account keeps your personal finances separate from your business finances.

  • Considering that bookkeepers rely on the power of technology daily, they should invest in quality hardware and software.
  • Repetition of your UVP on your website, business cards, and all other marketing materials will help define your company’s identity to potential clients.
  • Some business owners learn to manage their finances on their own, while majority opt to hire a professional so that they can focus on the parts of their business that they really love.

Trying to keep track of all these details in your head or on a spreadsheet is a disaster waiting to happen. Work inevitably slips through the cracks and deadlines get missed. That is why you need an accounting workflow software like Financial Cents. It was specifically built to help bookkeeping firms track the status of client work and important deadlines.