Home office desk with computer by a window

How to Start an At-Home Bookkeeping Business

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Nearly every business will need some kind of bookkeeping in order to complete tax returns and check the financial health of the company. But it is usually the top of the list of jobs that business owners hate to do!

That’s why there’s a massive opportunity to start an at-home bookkeeping business and take these jobs off their hands.

So how do you start an at-home bookkeeping business? 

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Home office desk with a computer by a window

Start Your Own Home-Based Bookkeeping Business

Consider Becoming Certified

One of the important things when getting clients is being able to show that you are competent at what you do. With bookkeeping, this is more important than other business types because there are lots of rules and regulations involved.

If you don’t already have some kind of background in accounting or a previous qualification, it is worth getting one. There are two main options in the US:

Both of these websites offer information for courses and certifications.

There are also many accredited online courses that you can take around other commitments to get the required paperwork.
It is also worth considering gaining some software qualifications. QuickBooks and FreshBooks are two of the biggest, and both offer certifications for their systems.

Another great option to consider is Booming Bookkeeping Business. This course is taught by Bill Von Fumetti, who is a certified public accountant.

The course is six weeks of in-depth training, including learning QuickBooks, how to get clients, how to price your bookkeeping services, and more.

You do not need a degree or any special training to take this course. If you are interested, you can go here to read more and enroll.

Create a Business Plan

Once you have handled any certifications or training needed, you are ready to start designing your business and deciding what you want to do. This goes into your business plan, an overview of your business, and what it does.

You can get quite technical with a business plan and include lots of elements such as projected cash flow and a projected balance sheet. Or you can keep it simple to start with and build into it as you go. 

Consider what kind of clients you will be working with. Do you want to specialize in a particular industry or just consider any business? Will you only work with companies of a certain size or profit? 

Laying out these specifics at the start will help with marketing your business later.

Set up the Business

Armed with an idea of who you want to work with and what your business will look like, you then need to do some admin tasks to create the business. The exact process can be different depending on where you live or operate, but a few things you will need to do include:

  • Selecting a business name
  • Selecting a business structure
  • Set up a business bank account
  • Create an online business presence
  • Get relevant insurance

Your structure will likely be one of the four common options – sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or a corporation.
As a bookkeeper, you will appreciate that doing this right will be crucial as it impacts your tax liability, legal standing, and ability to raise capital.

Having a physical and online address for your business is also important. You can use a PO Box if you don’t want to give out your home address and don’t have a business property (which is often not needed for this type of business). Or you can use a UPS mailbox if you want somewhere to receive deliveries as well as be a business address.

Get the Software You Need

Having established your business as a legal entity and created an online presence for it, then you are ready to start looking at the software and tools you need to do the job.

Top of that list will be bookkeeping or accounting software. QuickBooks and FreshBooks have been mentioned as two of the top ones, but it doesn’t hurt to add others as you build your business. 

You will also want to look at payroll software if you are offering this service and also tax software providers if you are completing tax returns.

In addition to the accounting software you’ll need, you will also want some kind of system to manage your clients. Customer Relationship Management software or CRM can be a useful option, or you can use something simple like a spreadsheet system or a project management tool. You will also want to have a file sharing option such as Dropbox or Google Drive to share documents with clients securely.

Creating a Home Office

Because you are going to be an at-home bookkeeping business, it is important to create a home office of some kind. Ideally, you would have a small room where you can put a desk, computer, and other essentials, but there are plenty of variations.

Even a walk-in closet or a small bedroom can work. The idea is to have somewhere in the house where you are ‘at work’ when you are in it. It is best to have some distance from the busiest areas of the house, but this isn’t always possible. Try to avoid just working on the sofa as it isn’t great for productivity – or posture!

Finding Your Clients

You’ve put a lot of work in and come far, but now you have what is always the hardest part of setting up a business – finding clients. There are loads of different ways to market your new company and find clients. Deciding on the right approach can be dictated by the type of business you want to work with.

For example, if you want to work with local brick and mortar shops, then marketing will mean making calls, sending emails or flyers, or even popping in to speak to business owners. Get ideas about what they are struggling with and where your services can help. Offer free consultations in return for feedback and a testimonial to help build that credibility.

If you want to work with online businesses, then creating your website and using content marketing is a great option. Make the most of social media to meet up with potential clients and showcase how your service can help their business.

Grow Your Home-Based Bookkeeping Business

There’s no denying that starting your own business involves a bit of preparation and a lot of marketing to find those clients. But you can do it, and then you can find yourself growing your at-home bookkeeping business, adding new services, and even having people working with you. As the saying goes, the sky is the limit!

Learn the basics of starting an at-home bookkeeping business, including how to set up your business and start getting those clients coming in!

Interested in Bookkeeping Without Starting a Business?

If you aren’t quite ready to start your own bookkeeping business, but you like the idea of working at home in the field, it’s okay. You can go here to find a list of companies that hire bookkeepers to work at home. 

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