There’s something so empowering about starting a bookkeeping business. You get to do something you’re passionate about without working in an office and reporting to a boss every day. It’s also a way to make money at your own pace without the added stresses of an office job.
If you want to unlock your freedom, bookkeeping could be for you. This guide will outline how to start a bookkeeping business. Below, you’ll find the answers to several important questions:
- Can you run a bookkeeping business from home?
- What are the requirements to start a bookkeeping business?
- Learning how to start a bookkeeping business: What to do?
You’ll also find step-by-step directions to follow in order to start your operation.
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Can you run a bookkeeping business from home?
Absolutely! The beauty of bookkeeping is that it can be done anywhere. Depending on your business model, you might have very little interaction with your clients. Bookkeeping can be done strictly via email and over the phone. No face-to-face interaction is required. Most of the tools that you’ll be using are digital.
What are the requirements to start a bookkeeping business?
When thinking about starting a bookkeeping business, many people get discouraged because they’re not a CPA and they don’t have a degree from an Ivy League school. But you don’t need either of these to start your own bookkeeping business.
If you have experience working as a bookkeeper — plus a passion to learn or a love of finance — then you have everything you need. To run a business takes commitment and drive, not a prestigious degree.
Learning how to start a bookkeeping business: What to do?
This section is all about how to start a bookkeeping business from scratch. Follow along and you’ll have your operation up and running in no time.
Pick the perfect name
It all starts with the perfect name. If you already did some brainstorming, you’re ahead of the curve. If not, it’s time to create a bookkeeping business name.
Choose a name that has to do with bookkeeping. “Steve’s Car Wash” is a pretty terrible name for a bookkeeper, wouldn’t you agree? Having the word “bookkeeper” in your official name will clear up any confusion and also help your company show up on Google when people search for a bookkeeping business.
Shorter is sweeter when it comes to a name. People need to read it quickly and understand what you do. If it’s too long, it won’t fully fit in your social media handle, email account, or Google’s results.
This is also your opportunity to get clever with the name — should you want your brand to have a fun tone.
Put together a list of your services, along with pricing and packages
You’ll want to consider every service that you’ll offer. The world of bookkeeping is pretty diverse, so you’ll need to pick a specialty.
This is also the time that you’ll determine what makes your business special and which niche you’re more likely to fill. Will you focus on providing a low-cost option or an exceptionally high-quality service?
Packages will need to be well thought out. You might build a package that improves your market position for certain customers. It’s easier to attract enterprise clients when you have a pre-built package for them.
As you do some research, you’ll notice that there are a lot of bookkeeping programs to help you. QuickBooks, Hubdoc, Insightly, and Bill.com are all examples. As you consider using different options, you’ll have to make sure you have the upfront money for the packages.
Find out how much money you need upfront
Speaking of upfront money, buying bookkeeping software is just part of the upfront money you’ll need. If you want to work from home, you’ll need to make sure you have acceptable phone and wireless plans to keep up.
You’ll also need a space and a computer setup that lets you get work done. If you want to find an office to rent, that’s an additional expense. Beyond these transactions, there aren’t many more costs associated with bookkeeping.
It’s not uncommon to get started for less than a thousand dollars since the business doesn’t have a lot of required equipment.
Do some market research
As you’re getting closer to launching, you’ll need to do some homework. This means doing market research and finding out the demand for your services.
If the market isn’t big enough for your planned services within the targeted location, you’ll have to make a change. Either shift the services you offer or widen the location you want to serve.
Solidify your business plan
You can’t do anything without having a business plan. For your small business, a plan might not be super intensive but it’s really important to have. Most of the previous steps were done for the sake of your business plan.
You’ll be doing a lot of thinking and planning ahead of time. As you’ll find out, a little planning goes a long way. Starting a bookkeeping business isn’t as simple as hanging an “open” sign on your door. Learning how to start a bookkeeping business takes some forethought.
A plan you’ll want to have for a small business is generally made up of four parts:
- Executive summary. This is a short explanation of your proposed bookkeeping business. It’s the elevator pitch of what you’ll do, why you’re special, and why people would choose your services.
- Marketing plan. Your marketing plan will justify the need for your business. It will also outline how you plan on reaching new clients in the future. If there’s no viable market for your business, this section will quickly point that out.
- Key management biographies. This is a short-form introduction to your decision-makers. If you’re going to run your bookkeeping business on your own, this would just be your bio.
- Financial plan. This gets into the weeds about your services, pricing, and any upfront money you’ll need.
Start marketing your business
After launching your operation, it’s time to start hustling. You’ll want to start marketing to get bookkeeping clients.
A lot of starters will begin by looking at job sites and social media platforms. You might be surprised to see how many people are looking for a professional bookkeeper. This also provides the much-needed experience in freelance bookkeeping.
Make sure you take your first few clients very seriously. If you do a good job, they may refer their friends to you.
Generate more leads
As you keep going, lead generation is something you’ll want to focus on. Your business won’t go anywhere without clients, and leads will eventually turn into clients. You might consider running a Facebook or Google Ad. You’ll discover that paying a little bit of money can return even more money through either of these options. And, with the right email marketing campaign, you’ll be able to nurture those leads and convert them into loyal customers.
Need more advice on growing your bookkeeping business?
The instructions above were created to teach you how to start a bookkeeping business. As your business gets bigger, you’ll want to make sure you have the right tools in your belt. To help, get your free copy of The Download, the ultimate online marketing guide to bookkeeping.