If youâ€™re good at organizing financial information for business owners, you might want to consider starting a bookkeeping business. Bookkeepers build a businessâ€™ financial foundation, helping entrepreneurs make decisions about the future success of their business.
Good bookkeepers are always in demand since many business owners donâ€™t have the time (or inclination) to run this side of their business. Learning how to start a bookkeeping business could get you on the path to earning a good income from home.
To start a bookkeeping business you’ll need some training, a community of other bookkeepers to help you with questions, a good computer with strong internet, and a few clients.
With training from Bookkeeper Business Launch, you could be well on your way to offering your services to business owners and entrepreneurs in your area or across the country.
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How Much Does a Bookkeeper Charge Per Hour?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows the median hourly rate for bookkeepers as $21.20. However, this reflects wages for bookkeepers employed by companies rather than those running their own business.
According to PayScale.com, self-employed bookkeepers charge an average hourly rate of $25â€”experienced bookkeepers and those serving specific niches can command even higher rates.
With the right training, you could run your own successful bookkeeping business and net an average hourly billing rate of as high as $60.
How Much Does a Bookkeeping Business Make?
How much you make running your own bookkeeping business depends on several factors.
The BLS data shows the median bookkeeper compensation at $42,400 working a 50-week year; however, self-employed bookkeepers can charge more per hour and work fewer hours so earnings will vary.
Getting the right training and setting up a profitable business from the onset is critical to your success.
If you want to be profitable, itâ€™s important to learn how to go beyond just basic bookkeeping and help your clientsâ€™ future financial prosperity. Finding a niche will also help you expand and earn more since you can learn the specific ins and outs of your clientsâ€™ business challenges.
If you want to take it to the next level, you can then hire bookkeepers to work for you. They can do the actual bookkeeping and you can focus on getting new clients and the administrative tasks of running the business.
Can You Start a Bookkeeping Business with No Experience?
Even if you have no prior experience, you can still start a successful bookkeeping business. Of course, having experience is a huge plus.
The most common question usually stems from people asking about what credentials they need. Here’s the good news:
You donâ€™t have to be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or have any training before getting started.
However, you need to want to help business owners organize their finances and have good computer skills. There is more to starting a bookkeeping business than just being good at math (although it sure helps!).
Skills for Being a Successful Bookkeeper
Starting your own bookkeeping business does require a set of skills beyond what you might think. Bookkeepers are there to not only help entrepreneurs organize their finances but also to navigate the real-world problems of their business.
Here are some obvious and not-so-obvious skills that make a great bookkeeper:
- Organized: If you enjoy putting things in order and organizing your home, becoming a bookkeeper may be right up your alley. Dealing with numbers all day can be tedious and you need to enjoy the process and thrive on making something disorganized organized.
- Multi-tasker: When you own your own business, you need to handle the bookkeeping for several clients. This requires multitasking skills and the ability to switch from client account to client account. You also need to prioritize and meet your clientsâ€™ deadlines. There will be peaks and downtimes for your workload and knowing how to balance it all is very important for your sanity and the success of your business.
- Detail-oriented: If you deal with other peopleâ€™s money, being detail-oriented is critical. When a business owner entrusts you with their finances, they want the peace of mind knowing that your work will be accurate. Therefore, itâ€™s important to double and triple check your work.
- Self-starter: There are very few tasks in bookkeeping that can’t be put off until tomorrow. If you are a natural procrastinator then bookkeeping may not be for you. While this feature of bookkeeping makes it extremely flexible, it’s also easy to fall behind. You can put off tasks for so long that they become overwhelming. Plus, clients appreciate that their books are always up to date and that their IRS filings are on time.
- Hard worker: Building a successful bookkeeping business takes blood, sweat, and tears. You need to be ready and willing to put in the work necessary to grow your client base and deliver exceptional service. Being an entrepreneur is difficult and there will be many long days and nights, spent working in your business and on your business. Never underestimate how far hard work and dedication will help you in being successful.
How Do You Start a Small Business as a Bookkeeper?
Are you ready to get started with your own bookkeeping business? This is where having the right tools and training can propel you to success and teach you the ins and out of running a profitable bookkeeping business.
The main things you will need to start a virtual bookkeeping business are a good computer and a high-speed internet connection. In addition, you will need accounting software such as QuickBooks Online to run your clientâ€™s books.
You should invest in a quality bookkeeping course that teaches you the skills you need to be a successful bookkeeper.
Enter Bookkeeper Business Launch.
Ben Robinson started this course in 2015 to teach not only the technical but also the business side of running a bookkeeping business. As a former CPA who has owned two accounting firms, he knows first-hand what makes a good bookkeeper.
He has now trained more than 4,000 bookkeepers to handle the finances for busy entrepreneurs and business owners. There is a free intro series that will help you better understand what you will get out of the course.
Sign up here and have the first module delivered to your inbox:
Hereâ€™s a quick look at what you will get with the course.
When you sign up for the course, you will be directed to a landing page with six modules. Here are the topics the course covers:
- Clients (Advanced)
When you click on each topic, you will see several modules that walk you through the information.
Each module is broken down into individual lessons:
The course is designed for beginners with no previous experience. Thatâ€™s right, even if you have no formal credentials or previous real-world experience, you can become a bookkeeper. This course will teach you the basics and show you how to get clients and set systems in place to succeed.
You will need to complete 18 units to learn the basics and get a â€œComplete BBL Courseâ€ star. The required modules are within the first three topics–Skills, Clients, and Systems.
Here are the individual modules separated by topic:
- Final Exams
- Interpret & Advise
- Get Ready to Earn
- Yakkity Yak
- Irresistible Selling Statement
- Specialized Groups
- Consult to Close
- Your Money
- Processes & Checklists
- Tools & Tech
You will also get hands-on training in Quickbooks Online, a popular business bookkeeping software. The training includes how to manage different scenarios with a business and helps you build your skillset.
The information is presented with video tutorials and instruction, which makes the lessons easy to digest.
The Bookkeeper Business Launch course comes with all the information and resources you need to launch your own successful bookkeeping business. You will get video lessons, worksheets, checklists, templates, quizzes, scenarios, case studies, and much more.
In addition, you will have access to a private Facebook community just for students of the course. Being able to connect with other students and learn from those who are already running a successful bookkeeping business is invaluable.
Other perks include support calls, email support, and bookkeeping advice from Ben and his team. As part of the course, you will also have access to a lawyer so you can ask questions you have about starting your bookkeeping business.
Overall, the Bookkeeper Business Launch course is a solid program if you want to start your own business. It has all the information you need to be successful.
The main con about the course itself is fairly minor. The course layout and navigation are not intuitive so it takes some time to get the hang of it. It could have been laid out to flow better but itâ€™s definitely not a deal breaker.
In addition, if you have any prior bookkeeping experience, this may be a disadvantage with this course. You may have to unlearn some of what you already know so you can implement the course lessons and launch a successful bookkeeping business.
Just keep an open mind and be willing to learn.
Should you Take Bookkeeper Business Launch?
It depends. You need to commit the time and energy required to start a successful bookkeeping business. The course will teach you all the steps to getting started and building a strong client base.
Hereâ€™s the catch: you have to do the work. Itâ€™s up to you to go through all the steps of the course and implement each one. If youâ€™re not willing to put in the effort, you wonâ€™t get results. Simple as that.
Interview with a Bookkeeper
I asked my friend Ashley, who started her own bookkeeping business with no formal training, how she got started. Here’s what she had to say:
I just kind of fell into it. My dad owned a successful landscaping company and when he passed away unexpectedly I had to step up and figure it out. One of the first things I did was hire a QuickBooks trainer to come to my house and teach me how to use QuickBooks. It took two in-person sessions and about half a dozen phone calls when problems popped up, but then I had a pretty good handle on things.
As she got the hang of doing the books for the landscaping company, she branched out into other businesses. She eventually got her bookkeeping certification.
I asked her what advice she had for someone who is thinking about getting started in this industry.
Bookkeeping is a great freelance business for someone who needs flexibility and wants to make good money from home. The downside of this is that you have to be able to hold yourself to a schedule. Keeping your client’s books up to date each week is important for the health of their business and yours. If you let transactions pile up any problems you find will be harder to solve. For example, can you remember what you bought at Walmart last month? No, and neither will your client. That wastes time, creates inaccurate books, and you will eventually lose your client’s trust.
Here’s what she had to say about getting clients:
A lot of business owners are intimidated by their books. They put things off and let it pile up until it’s a big stressful mess. You don’t need to sell yourself that much. Just the willingness to take this off their hands is often selling point enough. So don’t feel like you have to have a big book of previous clients and a fancy presentation in order to get hired.
Once you have a client, ask for referrals. Business owners know other business owners and a personal referral goes a long way in this industry.
It’s best if you can make a niche for yourself. Working with similar companies will allow you to become an expert in that niche. Doing the books for a lawyer will be very different than doing them for a mechanic, which will be different than working with a retail store. As you get to know your niche you will be able to more accurately price your services and you can create systems for yourself that will ultimately lead to a higher hourly wage.
One last thing:
Having someone you can call when you have questions is critical when you are first starting out. Having a community like what Bookkeeper Business Launch provides might seem like a small add-on feature now. But when you are in the weeds with a bookkeeping problem having someone you can ask for help is a lifesaver. I would haven’t made it two weeks as a bookkeeper without having other bookkeepers to help me out when I ran into trouble.
The Bottom Line on How to Start a Bookkeeping Business
Starting a virtual bookkeeping business is a great way to earn money from home. If you find the right training program, you need not have any prior experience.
This can be a good option for earning money on the side or scaling to a full-time business. If you already have bookkeeping experience, you can translate your skills to the online world and find business owners who need your expertise.
However, even if you already have bookkeeping skills, you can benefit from a course that can teach you how to start your own business and find clients.
Bookkeeper Business Launch will teach you everything you need to know about bookkeeping, running a business and connecting with clients who need your services. It can shorten your learning curve and help you fast-track your profitability.