Start a Bookkeeping Business
Start a Bookkeeping Business
So you’re ready to start working for yourself as a bookkeeper?
Let us take you through some basic first steps.
At the beginning, when you start a bookkeeping business, you might just be working for yourself, for a few hours each week, from your own home.
YOU MAY BE transitioning from a full-time job. While doing so, you will begin prospecting and marketing your services to find clients. The aim is that slowly you’ll start to invoice your own clients for your services rather than receiving a pay cheque.
Step 1. Find clients to start the transition to work for yourself
When you first start bookkeeping for yourself, clients won’t find you; you have to find them. Tell everyone you know that you are starting your own bookkeeping business. Talk to others in the industry about what works for them. It’s important to understand your capabilities as well as your goals because this helps you understand who your ideal client is — yes, you get to choose.
Reach out to people you know
Friends, family and colleagues will know people, who know people, who are in need of your bookkeeping skills. Contact local businesses and attending relevant networking events. If you have a LinkedIn Profile and a professional-looking website, people will be able to find out more about you in their own time.
Remember, being your own boss is favourable to businesses. From the perspective of other business owners, working with you gives them added flexibility and allows them to “expense” your services rather than putting you on their payroll.
2. Create a bookkeeping business plan
When you start a bookkeeping business — indeed, when you start any business — you must have a clear direction and you’ll achieve this with a Business Plan. Your time is precious and you need to focus your energy. Your business plan will include things like:
- The services you will provide (based on your qualifications, experience and skills)
- How you will deliver these services (part at clients premises, work from home etc)
- Who your ideal client is (size, industry, location)
- How you will charge for your bookkeeping services (for instance, by the hour or a fixed fee system).
Other bookkeeping business plan questions:
What are your goals for the future when it comes to your bookkeeping business? Ask yourself:
- What are your long term goals?
- What are you going to do if you get sick or can’t work?
- Would you consider hiring other bookkeepers to work for you down the track?
- Would you like to sell your business in the future? (Note: If you join a franchise you will only be able to sell to someone who is willing to buy into that franchise)
3. What software packages will you work with?
When you start a bookkeeping business, even if you’re just working for yourself a few hours a week, your clients will expect you to be able to recommend software to them and help them use it for their business. With so many options available, which ones will you specialise in?
- MYOB AccountRight and MYOB Essentials
Many existing businesses use MYOB, so it’s probably vital to have MYOB in your accounting software armoury to assist established businesses. MYOB has a new cloud-accounting program called MYOB Essentials which is great for smaller businesses, or those choosing to stay with MYOB.
Xero is hugely popular in Australia. It’s popularity stems from the fact that it’s a cloud-accounting program which can be used from anywhere; it’s automatically backed up and you can have multiple people working on the same file/s at the same time.
- Intuit QuickBooks Online
The other well known cloud-accounting software package is Intuit’s QuickBooks Online. This company is massive globally and their software is popular in Australia too. This makes it an excellent alternative to Xero. It should be noted, it is also cheaper than Xero if cost is a major consideration.
4. Automate your software apps, add ons and integrations
More business people are becoming aware of receipt scanning software; automated data capture and coding software, like Receipt Bank. There’s also tools like bank feeds that help people reduce their bookkeeping costs and increase their accuracy. It’s vital as a bookkeeper to be abreast of these apps.
Receipt capture software means that clients can provide you with electronic receipts. In the past, this might have been something a bookkeeper could bill for, but nowadays it simply means that you can spend your time helping them in more important and relevant ways. You can also justifiably charge more for these tasks and your clients will appreciate this. If your clients aren’t using this software, they’ll be grateful to you for recommending it.
Efficient bookkeepers also automate the running of their businesses with practice management software. This kind of software makes it so much faster and easier to provide written quotes to clients; enable clients to accept the quote electronically; and subsequently set up automatic payments. These steps alone will make running your business streamlined and less stressful — particularly when it comes to the stress and time spent chasing up payment for your services.
5. Getting found
Digital marketing and promotion
Most businesses will search for a bookkeeper online so a website is a must. Even if you intend to go to networking events and build a referral network, the people you meet will expect to learn more about you via your website.
Building a website is much easier now than it use to be using systems like WordPress. WordPress enables you to create a professional website using thousands of professional themes (like templates). It also enables you to create website pages easily and modify them when you want to.
Your bookkeeping website should be personal and show information your clients look for including your qualifications and experience, your services and your contact details. It’s easy to include images and even Youtube videos and provide links to your social media profiles so they can see what you’ve been up to.
Networking and referrals
Networking is one of the cheapest ways to meet other business people and build a referral network, You have to be patient and understand that everyone attending these events are looking for new clients too so be sure to ask about their needs and meet many different people.
You’ll need business cards and must make sure you collect them from people you meet so you can introduce yourself via email after the event. In the end people buy from people they know, like and trust so take the time you need to with people you get on well with.
Confidence & Motivation
Once you’ve established your goal, digital marketing and business plan it’s important to keep motivated each week to achieve your goals. When you start out you may be nervous or uncertain, you may get resistance from prospective clients or just speak to people who don’t need bookkeeping services so it’s important to refer to your plan and set weekly goals.
Use your networking and digital marketing experiences to learn from and understand that you may not see immediate results from the work you do today. Keep an eye on your business plan and make a note of what works and what doesn’t work in your attempts to get new clients. Any mistakes you make shouldn’t lower your confidence but increase your knowledge about what you should be doing instead.
When you come across a brick wall or feel like you need a break, take one. Also connect with people in your network and speak with a mentor or regional manager to help you refocus.
Staying up to speed
Your success will sometimes depend upon what your competitors are doing. It can also depend on the time of year and changes in technology so make sure you keep reading and researching to keep abreast of the latest regulation changes and improvements in technology – your clients might ask for your opinion.
The more aware you are of your own circumstances the more you will be able to adapt to changes. You may find that you are much better, more accurate and more productive in the way that you work that it actually saves your clients hundreds of dollars per month. When you improve and become a better bookkeeper you should look at which clients are good clients and which ones just take your time and energy.
You can choose your customers, even though many people say that the customer comes first. Don’t try to compete with remote contractors from developing countries, if a clients wants to use them you’re not going to stop them. You will have skills and capabilities that are more valuable and you should make sure you’re always upskilling.
Why Choose National Bookkeeping?
We help finance professionals and bookkeepers at every level
- are new to bookkeeping and have just completed a MYOB, Xero, SAASU, Reach Accounting or QuickBooks Course; or
- have completed a vocational qualification like a Cert IV in Accounting or Bookkeeping; or
- are an experienced bookkeeper who has been helping small businesses with their bookkeeping compliance for some time already.
We have worked successfully with hundreds of bookkeepers and we can help you too.
Our Bookkeeping Business Membership Packages
We love helping Australian bookkeepers achieve better work-life balance and run their own bookkeeping businesses, no matter how large or small, from their homes or home offices.
Our goal is to provide an affordable system to help people start and manage their own bookkeeping business providing bookkeeping services to local small businesses from their own home.
TO THIS END, we have a number of different Bookkeeping Business Start Up Packages available. Our packages vary according to how much experience you have as a bookkeeping and/or finance professional, and how much marketing you would like us to do for you. All of our packages include:
- Software Accounting online training course access (including MYOB, Xero and Quickbooks)
- Small Business Startup and Administration online training course access
- A Bookkeeping Business Plan (you can customise this as you need for your own circumstances and we will help you)
- A Premium Directory Listing
- Online Content Marketing that is targeted directly at business bookkeeping services and dedicated specifically to YOU
- Putting you directly in touch with registered BAS agents (this applies to bookkeepers who do not yet have BAS registration)
- Much, much more!
The Odds are in Your Favour for a Successful Bookkeeping Business
- Bookkeeping is a non negotiable: every business needs bookkeeping as part of their ATO compliance
- Most small business owners prefer not to do their own bookkeeping
- Bookkeeping is often NOT a full-time role, so can be performed by a bookkeeping contractor
- Some bookkeeping tasks are mundane and repetitive. Therefore they are ideally suited to a contractor who comes in fresh each week/month etc.
- Many people looking for bookkeeping work want to work close to their home
- Many bookkeepers are parents who want to do a great job and then go home to their family
- A low-cost system for bookkeepers will help them provide lower cost services to small businesses.
Read more about the common bookkeeping tasks required in a small business.
Helping You Find Work as a Bookkeeper
Our ‘Find Work as a Bookkeeper Pre-Qualification Process’ enables us to collect your details and experience as well as other information we can use to promote you online. When you’ve completed all your details, choose the services you would like us to provide for you: Find Work or Clients See Bookkeeping Business Options