The need for independent bookkeepers declined for some time due to new software that made it easier for businesses to do their bookkeeping in-house. However, the boon in the new gig economy means more and more people are working independently. This independent workforce means more people once again need a bookkeeper. If you are interested in starting your own bookkeeping business, now is a great time.
If you are not a certified bookkeeper (CPA), you should look into becoming certified. Being a CPA lends credibility to your business and is necessary for some areas of bookkeeping. The American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers and the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers are the most respected means of obtaining your certification.
To start your own business:
- Select your business structure. There are four common structures. Each has its advantages and drawbacks. You can operate as a sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Corporation (LLC), and corporation.
- Secure insurance. You will incur liability as an independent bookkeeper. To ensure your protection, investigate the type of insurance most suited to your needs.
- Set up a business bank account. Keeping a separate account for your business will help make your personal bookkeeping and tax liability simple.
- Research and purchase the right accounting software. There are hundreds of options in types of accounting software. Chose the one most respected for the kind of clientele you plan to serve.
- Decide on a document sharing program. To stay abreast of your clients’ needs, you will need to be able to share documents effortlessly. Programs like DropBox make the process simple and are most likely to be familiar to your clients.
- Market your services. Identify your customer base and determine how you will get the word out about your new business. Social media is a popular marketing tool, as are networking sites like LinkedIn.
One of the greatest advantages of owning a small service business is that it is possible to work from almost anywhere including your home. Working from home helps to mitigate start-up costs. You have no commute, lower overhead, and often added benefits like not needing after school care for children.
Be prepared though. Working from home is not always as easy as it seems. Other people in your life may have a difficult time respecting boundaries around work hours. You may have to be firm with family, friends, and neighbors. Set specific work hours and make sure those around you know that this is time set aside specifically for work.
Make sure you have the self-motivation to fulfill the jobs you take on. It can be harder than it seems without the structure of an office environment. The flip side is to make sure you do not work too hard. When starting a new business, there is a real temptation to take on more than you can reasonably do. Either of these issues can lead to a lack of success in your new venture.
Self-motivated individuals with good time management skills will flourish in the freedom of running your own bookkeeping business.