Best Work-From-Home Jobs: Running A Bookkeeping Practice

Kickstart your virtual firm

I want to let you in on a little secret: Most small businesses (and even large businesses) hate accounting! Either they don’t understand debits and credits or really get frustrated when trying to read through financial statements, there is plenty of room for accountants to come in an aid businesses.

Plus, as technology continues to gain traction, most clients are willing to accept a virtual accountant, as long as they get the work done that is needed.

This produces a perfect formula for accountants who want to work from home and make a good living simultaneously through running a bookkeeping practice.

If this sounds like something you are interested in, I have detailed out the steps to take, from opening up your own LLC to getting clients, to even seeking help on complex accounting solutions, in running a bookkeeping practice from the ground up.

Let’s dive in.

1. Get Certified

Most people many think this means to obtain a CPA license. Though this may help in gaining clients, it’s not necessarily a required step. Inside, if you want to be in charge of running a bookkeeping practice, you will need to become equipped with the knowledge and skills of working with an accounting software (i.e. Quickbooks, Xero, Sage, etc).

Getting certified is not too difficult, especially once you have selected the accounting software that will work best for you and your potential clients. If you have chosen Quickbooks, you can take an exam to become a Quickbooks Pro Advisor and begin to market yourself with this qualification.

Here are some resources to learn more about how to become certified in an specific accounting software:

2. Create A Website

No joke, you can create a fully functioning website (with 0 code) for a total of $150. Or, if you want to go cheaper than that, you can open up a website using Blogspot where you are granted a free website name alongside hosting for your site.

Having a website helps legitimize your business capabilities. Here is what should be included on your bookkeeping or accounting practice website:

  • Your Photo
  • Your background & certifications
  • A summary about who you are (interests, hobbies, resume)
  • Services that you offer (bookkeeping, tax returns, compilations, etc)
  • Your fees (you can even state TBD depending on the scope)
  • Contact Me (include a phone number, state or address you are in and email address)

To learn more about how to create a website, here are some below links:

  • Domain Name Purchase & Hosting – Godaddy
  • Easy Drag & Drop Website Theme – OptimizePress
  • Complete Website Builder – Wix
  • Free Website Builder – Blogspot

3. Find Your First Customer

This is where the fun comes into play. Finding your first customer can be quite difficult and at times emotionally overwhelming. But the keys to sales is to remember that of the 9 “Nos”, there is just 1 more Yes right around the corner.

Here is some valuable insight into how to find your first customer when running a bookkeeping practice:

  1. Go through your email contact list, and directly email every person on that list letting them know the services you are providing.
  2. Post on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/LinkedIn informing your following of your new practice and that you are looking for new clients
  3. Search for possible prospects utilizing LinkedIn’s advanced search. For example, if you are looking to service clients in the Real Estate space, search for Real Estate Small Business groups and start connecting with individuals. Then, obtain your LinkedIn connection’s email address (here’s how). Finally, send out a personalized email confirming your connection of your new service.
  4. Finally, and the most important, FOLLOW UP. If you sent a personalized email, and nobody responded, follow up until you hear back.

Here is the follow up strategy you should use:

  • Day 1: First follow up (+2)
  • Day 3: Follow up (+4)
  • Day 7: Follow up (+7)
  • Day 14: Follow up (+14)
  • Day 28: Follow up (+30)
  • Day 58: Follow up (+30)
  • … (from there on once a month).

If you are a little uneasy about how to approach sales, especially if they are cold sales, here are some recommended Cold Email Templates (link) you can use to start reaching out to people directly as well as a link to phenomenal video on this topic exactly shown below.

4. Iron Out Your Fees

This is more of an art, than a science. Depending on the work that you provide, how long it takes you to complete the work, and the quality you want to offer, pricing can range anywhere from $25/hr – $150/hr.

The usual method is to have a set charge per hour, however, some providers will have a set amount for certain types of work such as $100 per month for bank reconciling and reports, and then charge $1 per sales or purchase invoice prepared, and so on.

Here is a great 2 part article series on pricing out your accounting services:

Remember that with experience comes confidence and the more experience you have, the more confidence you’ll gain which will be obvious to a prospective client.

Your confidence will make them comfortable to let you handle their accounting, and this will turn to trust when you offer them a consistently accurate and professional service.

5. Accept The Engagement & Get To Work

Congrats! You have now brought on your first customer that is willing to pay you the rate you have requested! Boom!

Now it’s time to start knocking out the accounting work. This is where things can get a little more tricky. Here are some questions that might roll around in your head

  • What if you don’t know how to do something?
  • What if you do something wrong?
  • What’s a debit and credit again?

Regardless of the questions that might come up, there is help out there. You just need to look for it. Here are a few resources that can help you brush up your accounting skills:

Sometimes your customers may ask you an advanced question that you do not know how to answer.

It is a good idea to develop a relationship with an accountant or someone who knows more than you so that you can find out about the more complicated stuff when it comes up.

In the meantime, you could continue on with more advanced bookkeeping and accounting studies and qualifications and then be the person that helps other beginner bookkeeping providers!

6. Collect Your Cash & Get More Customers

By this step, you have already become bookkeeping certified, built your own website, conquered your first customer, provided excellent service and received your first paycheck as self-employed. I think it’s time for a celebratory drink!

After you have celebrated and ready to get back into your practice, your next step is to go out and get more customers. Since you have already added one customer to your list, you now how the confidence to let prospects know that you are a thriving business. Plus, if you can get your customer to give you a referral, it means more inbound business flooding into you!

Here are a couple of other resources you can utilize to get yourself on the map:

Good luck to you on your journey to running a bookkeeping practice! And as always, leave a comment with any questions or additional insight you might have!

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