How to Start a Bookkeeping Business

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bookkeeping and accounting

So my answer to if a bookkeeper is an accountant or not is Yes and also a No. An accountant’s task is more complex and goes beyond bookkeeping and marking transactions. Accountants are meant to be qualified individuals who can financially study and forecast the business. Generally, Bookkeepers are not certified with a degree or diploma. Bookkeeping by itself is a part of accounting, and cannot be compared with accounting as a whole.

how to prepare a trial balance in 5 steps insurance protects you and your assets if that happens. It’s a fantastic piece, and it’s inspired me to get my accounting and travel planning in order. The alternative would be to focus on a specific niche instead, for instance, bookkeeping for the automotive industry. For each process, create a step-by-step account for what needs to take place from the beginning of the process until the very end.


If needed, look for advisory board members with experience in bookkeeping businesses and/or successfully running small businesses. Indirect competitors are other options that customers have to purchase from that aren’t direct competitors. This includes accountants, companies’ internal accounting departments, professional employer organizations, and entrepreneurs/individuals doing their own bookkeeping. You need to mention such competition to show you understand that not everyone engages in bookkeeping services.

Is Starting a Bookkeeping Business for You?

Remember that these are just a few of the many options available to you. The key is to make informed decisions that work best for your current situation. Consult with your accountant before making any final decisions. Networking with others in the industry can help you meet people in a similar situation. If you struggle with something, you can use that network to figure out how people have gotten out of the issue. Determine how you like to organize things so that you can find them.

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You’ll also need the signature of someone authorized to sign on behalf of the business, along with the state’s filing fee. Fees vary by state but are typically between $100 and $200. If you hire Northwest to form your LLC or corporation, we complete and submit your formation paperwork on your behalf for just $100 plus state fees. LLCs and corporations are formed by filing paperwork with a state agency, typically the Secretary of State. To start a corporation, you file articles of incorporation.

Running a successful bookkeeping business does not mean you have to have a fancy office. This photo of Deb’s office gives you an idea of what works, and give you inspiration for creating your own workspace. The issue is that there are plenty of great bookkeepers who never learned how to truly manage a business. Bookkeepers who are qualified, who know the software inside and out, but never had the time or opportunity to really understand marketing, HR or business administration. Patricia found ways to systemize every aspect of her business, from marketing and selling her services, to hiring new bookkeepers, to growing the business. The average annual salary for Bookkeepers, according to Payscale, is around $45,000 a year.

Take the time to get to learn about their businesses and get to know them as people. There are tons of bookkeeping and accounting software tools available. Look for licensing that will allow you to keep the books for multiple or unlimited companies and consider any needs specific to your industry niche. You have beautifully explained how we can start up with an online bookkeeping business and how can it save you alot of money and your precious time.

How Much Can You Earn as a Bookkeeper?

And if you start your business as a side hustle before going full-time, they’ll be even lower. And while certification is useful, it’s not necessary to get started, nor is a college degree in business or accounting. If you can help a business stay on top of their books and ahead of problems, they’re not going to care about the schools you went to.

  • Maybe you’ve worked as an in-house bookkeeper for a business and you’re ready to take the plunge for yourself.
  • You can get a free Google Voice number that includes a local area code, voicemail, texts, and unlimited calling.
  • But if you’re looking for simplicity and ease of use, FreshBooks and Wave are our top picks.
  • Nellie Akalp is an entrepreneur, small business expert, speaker, and mother of four amazing kids.
  • Whether you buy a bookkeeping franchise or not, you should choose where you want to work.

The third reason for market research is to prove to readers that you are an expert in your industry. By conducting the research and presenting it in your plan, you achieve just that. Every day, go door to door to businesses, handing out your brochure and business card. When employers advertise for a part-time bookkeeper, send out a resume with a cover letter. There could be other startup costs such as telephone and electricity connections . Based on this, I guess you will agree with me my gospel of telling you to start your business from your home as the initial cost is a bit on the high side.

It will all depend on how you manage and scale your business. By standardizing core processes, you’ll be able to better streamline your operations and ensure quality control when delivering client accounting services . Small business owners don’t care about which automated software they’re on, so just pick the one you like best.

How to Choose the Best State to Incorporate a Business

You can notify the federal government of your business by applying for an Employer Identification Number . You can also create a business name for yourself and file a “Doing Business As” or “DBA” notice. Now that you understand what you need to do to run your virtual bookkeeping business, let’s take a look at some of the benefits. In the US, you need a general business license or permit to start your bookkeeping business. I recommend checking with your state board to see exactly what licenses are required for your virtual business.


You can refer to our guide on how to open a bank account. It includes a checklist of required documents per entity type. Non-accounting degree holders who would like to pursue a bookkeeping career can take bookkeeping courses online. It’s significantly shorter than a full accounting college course.

Build a Website

In the beginning, you should have enough time on your hands to head to several of these a week to get some word of mouth on the streets and to get to know local businesses in the area. A clear CTA on your homepage is just one tactic to help turn your website into a tool that converts visitors into potential clients. By developing a clear target client market, you’ll be able to better focus your marketing activities which we’ll later discuss. Virtual bookkeeping firms can’t rely on physical files to track their to-do lists.

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There are a ton of different recommendations out there for all the different billing methods. A google search for pricing plus bookkeeping probably will give you a ton of information. My only trouble was adjusting from ADP to OnPay which only has a few. I do run into issues trying to find things every once in a while, but it is really just me on payroll so I don’t have to do much. They don’t have recurring payroll like ADP does (or at least they didn’t when we did the demo). I just added a subcontractor to my payroll runs, and that has been working pretty well so far.

Get Bookkeeper Insurance

This course can take you from zero to success, like it did for this person. And, don’t forget that some of your income will be given over to taxes, so you’ll want to check in with your own state and the tax laws to know what you need to set aside for tax time. As a bookkeeper, unless you are trained as an accountant as well, you will want to hire an accountant to do your own taxes each year. You’ll be looking at roughly $300 a year, which, broken down, is $25 a month. I don’t really spend anything on advertising, but sometimes it is worth it to do.

Bookkeepers don’t prepare taxes, a point that often confuses people. Working as a tax preparer is a whole separate field, and it’s a bit more demanding than working as a bookkeeper as you’ll be liable for any mistakes in the tax returns of your clients. There’s a steep learning curve to this work if you’ve never done other people’s tax returns before, but some find the grind well worth it. Working with international clients can be very complicated. You’ll have to learn the regulations of each country where you want to provide your services, and this comes with a lot of initial overhead. However, it’s also a great way to boost your market presence.


One great way to work from home is to start a virtual bookkeeping business. You can do this by learning all the right skills to become a virtual bookkeeper. As you establish a client base and get more comfortable with your bookkeeping business, continue your learning and consider offering more services. And any time you add a new service is a great opportunity at which to re-evaluate your pricing structure and sell your clients on those new packages! Developing a more robust set of offerings is also a solid way to attract new clients. As a professional bookkeeper the services you will provide will range from managing accounts receivable, accounts payable, reconciliation, payroll, reporting, income tax preparation and more.

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