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7 Min. Read

How to Start a Bookkeeping Business – A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Start a Bookkeeping Business – Step-by-Step Guide

Bookkeeping is a tasking part of any small business. Small business owners know that time management, organization, and detail-orientation all need to go into keeping a strong system of accounting afloat. If these are skills you’ve mastered, you may consider starting your own bookkeeping business.

This step-by-step guide will map out the process to get started on your own bookkeeping business. We’ll cover building a bookkeeping plan, creating a strong accounting system, marketing and gaining clients and other helpful tips to get your business set up.

Here’s What We’ll Cover:

Benefits of Starting a Bookkeeping Business

Launch a Thriving Bookkeeping Business

More Resources for Bookkeepers

Benefits of Starting a Bookkeeping Business

Perhaps you’ve worked as a bookkeeper for a larger company or firm and you’d like to branch out and start your own business. You may be ready to be your own boss, work virtually,  make your own hours, and build your own accounting software program.

There are some things you should consider when thinking about starting your own bookkeeping business. Learn the benefits of starting out on your own small business venture that will encourage you to take that leap.

You get to establish your own management style.

Different bookkeepers have different methods of accounting. Depending on your training, certification, and experience you’ll learn to navigate different strategies and dial in what will help your company succeed. Only you know what accounting style works best for you, choose a system that helps you thrive.

You can choose your hours.

As a small business owner, you get to decide how many clients you want to take on, how much money you want to make, and how many hours you want to work during the day.

You can personalize your business and grow at your own pace.

Build a marketing strategy that draws clients to your unique brand, while becoming familiar with the clients that you’re bringing in, and predict how they could support future business bookkeeping goals.

The great thing about starting your own bookkeeping business is that all of these decisions will be yours to make. You will be the one putting the work in, so creating a personalized business model will be what sets you apart from competition, and what will get you the most fulfilling feedback.

Step One: Draft a Business Plan

Take time to sit down and write out a business plan-- a roadmap of what you’d like your business to look like. This can be as creative as you’d like, and include short-term and long-term goals that you have for your bookkeeping business.

Your business plan should define your purpose in wanting to start this new endeavour.  Be specific in what you’re trying to accomplish-- what satisfies you about accounting and how you will amplify that satisfaction to create a practice of purpose?

Another key aspect of building your business plan will be finding your target audience. Again, it’s important to detect what potential clients you will be bringing in. Are you looking to get hired by small businesses bringing in large income? Or freelancers starting out on their own?

Step Two: Create Your Accounting System

This step may be the most important aspect of beginning a successful bookkeeping business.

When you decide to go into business for yourself, a big part of your decision may be the thought of making your own hours and working less. The only way to make that transition a reality is by time management.

The key to time management is creating an effortless bookkeeping accounting system. This step may take trial and error but you will use your skills and experience to dial in a software program that is repeatable and strategic so that each client you decide to work with will be managed in the same structured pattern.

Having an effortless accounting system will be imperative when it comes to hiring on additional help for your business-- as you could familiarize them with the existing software system and they could get started right away.

Step Three: Market to Prospective Clients

A successful business needs a strong marketing strategy from the start. By learning early on what your target audience is, you will gain huge insight on what procedures you need to take to keep your bookkeeping business at the top of potential clients' radar.

Reference your initial business plan -- what type of clientele are you aiming to serve? If you're directing your accounting services to freelance businesses, you will implement practices that will be unique to serving freelancers, and that will encourage them to hire your business over a different bookkeeper.

Another aspect of marketing is dialing in your brand, which goes hand in hand with the type of clients you want to bring in. Knowing the market and what makes you stand out from other competitors will naturally draw your potential client base to your bookkeeping services.

Figure out what bookkeeping methods you’re good at (whether it be tax returns, payroll, financial data entry, insurance, etc.) and put emphasis on those services so that when potential clients see your website, they will know they want to work with you.

Step Four: Create a Business Website

When you dial in your business structure, accounting system, brand, and target audience, you’re ready to showcase it on a professional bookkeeping website.

Having a strong website will make you stand out against your competitors, and there are key elements to consider when building your platform.

  • Choose a Structure - Different website platforms have many different styles and structures to choose from. Find a clean, manageable layout that will not distract visitors from your services.
  • Make a Statement - What key statement do you want potential clients to remember that will set you apart from other professional bookkeepers and make them want to hire you? Fill guests in on your experience in the industry and they want to work with your company. Clients will prefer to work with an accredited professional bookkeeper-- stating your certification and training could be useful.
  • Guide Your Clients - Having organized and accessible services on your website will allow you to get clients familiar with what your business has to offer. Let clients know if you provide online bookkeeping service and how you can connect virtually. Make your services, your unique brand, and your mission apparent to each client that finds your site.
  • Add Contact Information - How can clients contact you for your service? State where clients can find you online, via social media (linkedin, facebook, apps) and how they can get started and schedule a consultation with you.

Step Five: Strive for Business Success

Once your bookkeeping business is underway, you will have to trust that your system will draw clients to you. Time management, experience, and consistent energy will all be factors in your business success.

Maybe you learn that you’re drawing in different clientele than you’d anticipated, or you need to hire more assistance to help with a growing workload-- managing and adjusting minor details in the beginning stages of your business will help dial in your bookkeeping services.

All the while, as you navigate your new business, keep in mind the initial goals you made, and continue to feed consistent energy into bringing those goals to life as you build your professional practice.

Launch a Thriving Bookkeeping Business

One of the most rewarding parts of building your own business is that whatever you put into it, you will see the outcome and reap the benefits. As you move along in your business plan, you get to decide how much time, energy, and motivation you have to give to your endeavor. Business owners alike know that the more you put in, the more you’ll get out.

Whatever your motivation for starting a business of your own, if you take the steps to create a strong roadmap, build a successful accounting system, and draw in clients through an organized and professional website, soon enough you'll have your first client and be reaching your business bookkeeping goals.

More Resources for Bookkeepers