How to Become an Online Bookkeeper

Last updated on January 12, 2021

how to become a bookkeeper

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Did you know that bookkeeping is one of the most profitable small businesses

And the good thing about pursuing this career is that you do not necessarily need to have experience or a degree.

If you have an interest in numbers, I’d advise you to go for it. There are so many ways you can learn how to do bookkeeping.

What’s more? There is demand for bookkeeping services. Both small and large businesses need a bookkeeper.

So, if you acquire this skill and market yourself effectively, you will land clients. 

You can also do bookkeeping remotely, whereby you offer your bookkeeping skills virtually.

What does a bookkeeper do?

what does book keeper do

There is often confusion between bookkeepers and accountants. These two professions are different.

For instance, if you want to become an accountant, you must have a certification or a degree. You don’t need all these to become a bookkeeper. 

Accountants are not involved in the day to day financial activities of a business. They mainly do financial statement audits and prepare taxes.

On the other hand, bookkeepers are involved with a business’s financial health on a daily basis. They can pay bills, receive receipts, and collect payments. 

If you become a bookkeeper, you’ll be responsible for the money coming in and out of the business.

Want to become a bookkeeper without any experience? Below are some steps that will get you there:

Step 1: Get basic training on bookkeeping

bookkeeping training

As is with any kind of business, you need to get the basic training on bookkeeping.

Such training should enlighten you on what bookkeeping is, how it is done, the tools you need, how to get clients, and how to be a successful bookkeeper among other important details. 

Fortunately, today, there are so many ways you can learn about bookkeeping. First, you can take advantage of the internet.

There is so much information about bookkeeping on platforms such as YouTube. 

Here, you will find comprehensive tutorials on bookkeeping; how to do it, how to set up efficient bookkeeping systems and how to close deals, and so much more information.

You can also take up an online course about bookkeeping. Some courses are free, while for others, you have to pay a certain amount.

When selecting a course, first look at the outline to determine if it is comprehensive.

Depending on many factors such as your grasping ability and your desire to become a good bookkeeper, you might have to do a lot of courses. 

At the end of the day, you want to gain knowledge and skills required for you to succeed in this career path.

Along with the training, you also need to have certain skills that will set you up for success. 

Some of these skills include: 

  • Effective communication skills
  • Transparency
  • Attention to details
  • Adept to technology 

Step 2: Get your work tools ready

bookkeepers tools

Now that you have gained the necessary skills needed to do bookkeeping, the next thing you want to do is have your tools ready.

The common tools that you must have include a computer and an internet connection. Of course, you will be storing your client’s files here and maybe communicating with them online.

You also need bookkeeping software. Such kind of software will make your work easier while managing the finances of your clients.  

There are many bookkeeping softwares. They vary in terms of functionality, capabilities and pricing. Among the most popular accounting software include QuickBooks Online, FreshBooks and Xero.

You choose the best based on the bookkeeping goals of your client’s business. You might also consider

When starting out, you don’t need very advanced bookkeeping softwares. Get one that is affordable and can get the job done.

Other tools that you will need include a mobile phone or landline to reach your clients or team members.

In the beginning, you can use your own phone. However, your goal, in the long run, should be to separate your business and personal communications. This makes life easier for you as an entrepreneur. 

Step 3: Create a website

create a website

After getting your bookkeeping tools ready, the next step is to have a website ready. 

You want to set yourself as a bookkeeper who knows what they are doing and can be relied on by businesses to help with their finances.

A website will help you communicate the skills that you can offer and every other quality that gives you a competitive advantage over other bookkeepers. 

A website is also ideal if you want to work as a virtual bookkeeper. If you offer your services virtually, it means that you will not necessarily have to meet clients one on one.

This will give you the freedom to work for many clients at a go and the ability to balance your work and personal life. 

Your website should contain all the details that potential clients need to know. Some of these details include:

  • Services that you can provide
  • Your unique value proposition
  • The packages
  • Your areas of specialty
  • Testimonials from clients
  • A contact form

Setting up a website is not really hard. You can develop one yourself or hire a web developer to do it for you.

Other charges you might incur while establishing your website include hosting and buying a domain name.

You also need content on your website.  You can learn all these things on your own. If you don’t have the time, hire a good web developer. 

Step 4: Launch your business

launch a website

If you follow the three steps above, you have a system in place. You already have the bookkeeping skills and can now help clients solve their bookkeeping problems.

It’s time to launch your business officially.

First, get the necessary licensing required to run this kind of business e.g. a business permit. These vary based on your location.

Secondly, select a structure for your business. You can run it as a sole proprietorship, a partnership, limited liability company etc.

If you run the business alone, you will have full control over it. If you decide to partner with someone, ensure that they understand your business in terms of the value that you want to offer.

A good business partner, in this case, would be one who understands bookkeeping and is committed to seeing your company grow. 

Finally, register your business or company. Registering your business has several advantages. It makes it possible to get bank accounts, loans and build a good reputation with customers. 

If you are a virtual bookkeeper, you don’t need a physical location. You can offer these services from the comfort of your home or a convenient location.

Otherwise, you need to find an ideal physical location, i.e., an office, and run your business from there.

This might be an expensive option considering that you need to pay for the office, equip it, pay for the operating bills, have staff, etc.… 

As you launch your business, you also need to consider your pricing. 

Some of the factors to consider are your level of expertise, bookkeeping needs of a company, your expenses in delivering the services, and customer lifetime value among others. 

You could set your rates per hour or have packages defining different kinds of services at certain rates. 

Step 5: Market your business and pitch clients

market your business

Now that you have already established your business, it is time to market it.

You might have the best bookkeeping skills and services but if people don’t know about you, they will not hire you.  As such it is important to market your business.

Your marketing goals, in the beginning, should be to create awareness about your business and have people contacting you for the same.

As you continue to conduct the business, you want to attract as many clients as possible and retain them for a long time.

You need to come up with a marketing strategy. Begin by defining who your target clients are.

Who exactly do you want to render your services to? Is it small, mid-sized, or large organizations? Are there specific industries that you want to deal with? 

When marketing your bookkeeping business, you should focus on communication to your competitive advantage. Let potential customers know that they can rely on you for their bookkeeping needs.

Here are some of the ways that you can market your business:

  1. Social media

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter have become great tools for marketing businesses.

All you need to do is create profiles on different platforms and let potential know the services that you can offer them.

You don’t need to be on all of these platforms; you can start with one and add more as you continue.

2. Cold emails

You can send emails to potential clients informing them that you can do bookkeeping for their businesses.

Search on the internet or look around your area to see businesses that you think might need your bookkeeping services and write to them.

The pitches must be good enough to make the potential client want to hire you.

3. Networking

You need to connect with people who are in this bookkeeping industry. They might not necessarily give you jobs but if you prove to be good at what you do, they might refer you to clients.

When they have a lot of work to do with tight deadlines, they can consider you. You could also learn from them;

how they started their business, how they get clients and become successful. This is how you build your business.

4. Word of mouth

You can also rely on word of mouth to market your business.

Tell your friends and family members about the bookkeeping services that you can provide. Ask them to spread the word about your business.

This may not be a really reliable marketing technique, but if you do it alongside the rest, then you will have done a great job in creating awareness about your business. 

5. Offering free services

Without a portfolio of the businesses you have worked with before, it might be hard for clients to trust that you can deliver.

You might therefore want to consider offering your bookkeeping services for free or at a discounted price.

Approach businesses in your area and do bookkeeping services for them for a few months.

If your services are excellent, they might consider hiring you afterward or refer you to other business owners. 

Step 6: Keep learning and perfecting your skills

keep learning

Most importantly, you must keep learning about bookkeeping and perfecting your skills. 

As you do business, you will know exactly what clients want. Aim at attracting long-term and high paying clients. The only way to do this is by being perfect at what you do. 

To improve on your skills, you can have mentors in this field.

You should read books, watch documentaries, tutorials and take courses in bookkeeping. You also need to be updated on trends in this area.

Moreover, keep on improving on yourself. Build a good reputation with your clients, be trustworthy and someone who can be relied on to help businesses with their bookkeeping needs.

Transparency and integrity are qualities that will make you successful as a bookkeeper. 

Where to find jobs as a bookkeeper.

bookkeeper jobs on fiverr

Now that you have everything in place to run a bookkeeping business, you need to find clients. 

As mentioned earlier, you can send cold emails to potential clients. 

You can also join freelance marketplace sites online such as Upwork and Fiverr. Here you will find bookkeeping jobs, either temporary or long-term jobs. 

Conclusion 

As you have noticed from the analysis above, it is possible for you to become a bookkeeper with zero experience. You don’t need a degree.

All you need is to have the right attitude, at least love numbers, and be ready to learn. 

There is a huge demand for bookkeeping services; meaning that if you position yourself well, you can make good money.

Even better, you can offer these bookkeeping services virtually. 

Being a trustworthy, reliable, and honest person will enable you to make major achievements in this career path.

I’m Olivia Miller, founder of Dollarberg.   My goal is to equip people with the skills required to run profitable businesses from the comfort of their homes.   I teach how to make money online while working from home. In this blog, I cover blogging, work-at-home jobs, email marketing, and Pinterest marketing.   As a housewife and a mother of 3 kids, I have found a lot of freedom and flexibility working from home - and I would like you to have this fantastic experience too.   Besides work, I love spending time with my family, traveling, and swimming. Want to know more? Read more about me here.

Olivia Miller 

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