Steps to start bookkeeping service from home is relatively easy, you don’t need a professional certificate however having one is a good advantage. You can work locally from your geographical area or offer virtual bookkeeping service or combo of both. Make sure your business plan highlights your desired strategy.
Bookkeeping is very lucrative if you have high net worth clients or steady jobs. The good aspect is the ability to accept or reject certain jobs, make your own schedule. You can work from home, offer virtual or brick and mortar services.
What is bookkeeping?
Bookkeeping involves invoicing, billing, receipt tracking, balancing and data entry. Others include income statement, balance sheet preparation, cash flow statement, equity changes. Virtual services requires a dedicated computer, printer, internet connection, bookkeeping software or cloud based software or hosting a virtual desktop.
Services offered by Bookkeepers
- Receipt tracking
- Data entry
- Income statement
- Cash flow statement
- Equity changes
What you need to become a bookkeeper
To become a bookkeeper you need certain level of qualifications. You need bookkeeping qualification and certification from a recognized institution. You also require basic computer knowledge, good math skill, lots of analytical skill and patience. Develop the skill through certificate courses, online tutorials, books, workplace experience.
- Entry level of qualifications
- Bookkeeping qualification
- Certification from a recognized institution
- Basic computer knowledge
- Good math skill
- Accounting knowledge
- Analytical skill
- Ways to Develop the skill
- Certificate courses
- Online tutorials
- Technical institutions
- Workplace experience
Benefits of bookkeeping service from home
The benefits of bookkeeping service from home includes easier time management or scheduled work. You have time to attend to house work tasks, take breaks and set your own pace.
Make sure to dedicate fixed time for the job and work from 20 -50 hours a week depending on your preferred schedule. Other benefits include more comprehensive data, better access to data, convenience more interpersonal relationship for long time clients. Cloud based software offers good security from loss of document or theft.
Benefits for bookkeepers
- Easier time management
- Scheduled work
- Attend to house work tasks
- Take breaks
- Set your own pace.
- Dedicate fixed time for the job
- Work 20 -50 hours a week
Benefit for Small business
- Comprehensive data
- Better access to data
- Interpersonal relationship
- Long term clients
- Cloud based software
- Good security
- Avoids loss of document or theft.
Challenges for bookkeepers are keeping the data secure, encrypted storage, upfront costs and continual update of software. Others are good analytic skill, computer knowledge, technological savvy. There are many regulatory issues, liability or legal issues. The cost of equipment or software is a challenge for new bookkeepers.
Challenges for bookkeepers
- Keeping the data secure
- Encrypted storage
- Upfront costs
- Continuous update of software
- Good analytic skill
- Computer knowledge
- Technological savvy
- Many regulatory issues
- Liability or legal issues
- Cost of equipment or software
How to start bookkeeping service from home
To start bookkeeping service from home you need to secure funding, write a business plan, build a website and have an email address and phone number.
Type of clients
The type of clients to expect are corporate bodies, small business owners. Virtual bookkeepers have many advantages for corporate clients that is why they are in demand. The small business owner does not need to hire staff to perform this duties therefore reducing overhead costs.
15 Steps to Start Bookkeeping Service from Home
- Write a Business plan
The first step is to write a business plan, regardless of the type of business the plan should highlight the way forward. You can write the plan yourself using a template or online resources. Other ways to create the plan is to hiring a professional business plan writer. Next study the competition and understand how the business works.
2. Gain Experience
You can start bookkeeping with little or no experience however gaining experience is invaluable. It offers better insight to bookkeeping practices. Ways to gain experience are work place experience, become an apprentice in a bookkeeping firm or gain accounting experience.
Other ways include online courses, trade institutions, books or podcasts. Popular industry podcasts are Xero Gravity, Cloud Stories, ACCA Podcast, and Accounting Play. There are many opportunities in virtual bookkeeping. Another good thing about this business you don’t need a high level of qualification however basic qualification will suffice.
3. Incorporate the business
It is important to incorporate the business to make it legal. First choose a good business name and register it, you need a company logo and address to start the business. Other requirements are email address, dedicated phone number and website.
Incorporate the business as a sole proprietorship (one man business). However registering as a limited liability company will offer better protection from liability or legal action that extends to your private assets.
Visit the Corporate Affairs Commission of your country for full requirements to form a limited liability company. Another type of incorporation to consider is partnership with an accountant.
4. Open a separate account
It is important to open a separate account from your regular account. The best type is a corporate account to receive funds or transact business.
5. Secure funding
Apart from the cost of the bookkeeping software you can self-fund the business. Funding is required for computer, printer, software, website costs and internet connection.
6. Buy the right equipment
Equipment you need is a powerful laptop, good cloud technology, Wi-Fi or modem. Purchase the right software, desktop, secure bookshelf.
7 Buy the right bookkeeping software
Some bookkeepers purchase the wrong software which impacts poorly on their performance. You need to research and find the best software for your needs.
Popular virtual bookkeeping software are Xero, QuickBooks and SageOne. Video conferencing with clients is part and parcel of the work. Good video conferencing platforms are Skype, Gotomeeting and Zoom. Other financial monitoring software to consider are QuickBooks, Wave.
8. Choose the client
Make sure to select the type of clientele that fits your business plan. Things to consider before accepting a job is the geographical location, type of business and niche. Specialization in a niche industry is very advantageous and highlights your professional experience better.
Learn to work remotely for wider reach and reach more clients. Don’t be too eager to accept clients and setup the business in specific manner and avoid working from a client’s office.
9. Protect yourself
Completely separate the business from personal assets. That is why you should register a LLC, get a separate corporate account and own a p.o box. Use a company address, company email and get insurance protection for you company. Don’t forget you will be dealing with sensitive company papers therefore appropriate insurance cover is mandatory.
10. Reassure clients
Because you will be dealing with very sensitive material it is important to reassure customers. Ensure they have confidence in your professionalism, qualifications and protection of their data and documents. To add value to the business you should broaden the services you offer.
11. Register with a professional body.
Register with a professional accounting or bookkeeping body. This is add credibility to your business and showcase your professionalism. Make sure you are up to date with the annual fees and attend meetings and workshop regularly. The advantage of such groups are insider information, staying updated with best practices and changes in the rules.
12. Build a website
You need an online presence to accept work worldwide. Owning a website is very simple and depends on your budget. You can build a website absolutely free or at a very negligible cost.
Build your website on free or paid platforms and purchase a domain name. The domain name should be the name you incorporated the business for better professionalism. You can use WordPress to build a good responsive website and select an inexpensive host provider.
13. Join online job boards
To get clients for your business you can choose to join online job boards. There are many market places to find paying customers. Top on the list are Upwork and websites like fiver, they are free to join however there is stiff competition for jobs. At Fiverr you create an account and list your services and fees including duration. More freelance websites are Peopleperhour, Freelancer, Flexjobs.
14.Decide how much to charge
The next thing is to decide the fee to charge your clients. Make sure the fees are at par with industry standards not too high or low. You need to conduct research to find out what your competitors are charging.
To set the fees calculate how long it will take to finish the job, type of client earning per hour. Start with a fair competitive price and as your clients increase and experience grows you can increase your fees to professional standard.
15. Develop a marketing strategy
Develop a marketing strategy to attract patronage, focus on local and international clients or those in same geographical area. The marketing strategy should include social media advertisement, twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Open a Facebook page or group to attract people or companies interested in bookkeeping. To attract small-businesses in your area use print media like posters, banners, letter headed papers, business cards.