How to Start a Bookkeeping Business – NerdWallet

even as the nature of business changes, one job that is constantly in requirement is bookkeeping. Bookkeepers are essential for other businesses to thrive, making surely that they ’ rhenium keeping track of their financials correctly and on the right track to grow. In this guide, we ’ ll review how to start a bookkeeping business, including what you need to do to get set up, how to price your services, how to find your customers and how to fund your business if indigence be.

What does a bookkeeper do?

A bookkeeper is an instrumental part of any business mathematical process. A company hires a bookkeeper to manage and organize its finances, including detailing and categorizing all transactions. They help small-business owners get a treat on their cash run — one of the most crucial barometers for a healthy business. They will besides often help businesses produce crucial fiscal statements such as the net income and passing argument and balance sheet.

Keep in mind, though, bookkeepers differ from accountants as they can not file taxes or perform audits like certified public accountants. Bookkeepers besides aren ’ thyroxine required to have an account degree. While they can receive certifications through educate programs, they can besides simply acquire on-the-job experience to establish their bookkeeping business. typical bookkeeping services include :

  • Managing a commercial enterprise ’ mho finances through business accounting software .
  • manage accounts collectible and receivable .
  • serve businesses with an overview of their finances to help them understand their habits .
  • Generate fiscal statements .

How to start a bookkeeping business in 8 steps

The good news is that learning how to start a bookkeeping clientele international relations and security network ’ thyroxine hard. Follow these steps to launch your bookkeeping clientele in no time.

1. Pick your market and niche

A bookkeeper ’ mho work is applicable across many different types of industries — after all, every business needs to track and optimize its finances. however, to help market your occupation and set it apart amongst the contest, you may decide to specialize in a specific industry. This could help you build credibility inside that segment, angstrom well as help oneself you hone your skills. additionally, determining your aim audience will be simple if you have a peculiarity. To help determine your niche, you should besides research the marketplace to determine what bookkeeping businesses are already established and which industries they serve.

2. Write a business plan

regardless of the type of occupation you run, all business owners should write a business plan. That, of course, includes bookkeepers. A clientele plan involves outlining your plans for your party in detail. It is a comprehensive document that explains not entirely your services but besides your market and the competitive advantage you ’ ll have in your business. You ’ ll create projections and make plans for your increase. This document does tend to be drawn-out, but it ’ mho authoritative to do. It ’ ll serve you focus your commercial enterprise and run efficiently out of the gate. There are two pieces of the business plan that deserve a short excess consideration.

Choose a business name

Your business identify will be the beginning impression for likely clients, so you ’ ll want to consider this very cautiously. What do you hope to communicate with your mention ? Is it your expertness, your peculiarity, your personality ? Before you choose your commercial enterprise appoint, make indisputable person else international relations and security network ’ thymine already using it, lest clients get confused. besides, run the name by a few people to see the impression they get of it. once you have your finalists, run the names through your secretary of express ’ second business name database to make certain it ’ s available.

Consider certification

As we mentioned above, you don ’ triiodothyronine technically need to be certified to run a bookkeeping business. You might, however, want to consider becoming a certified public bookkeeper, or CPB, which signals to clients that you have professional-level skills and might be an important contribution of how you differentiate yourself in a competitive grocery store. authentication is besides available within certain software products, excessively — for exemplify, you can get certified in QuickBooks.

3. Register your business and get insured

once you ’ ve picked a business name, the future footprint is to register your occupation and make things official. The accurate process will vary depending on how you plan on structuring your business and where you ’ re planning to do commercial enterprise. You ’ ll want to look up the demand rules for how to register your business with your secretary of state ’ randomness office.

Choose a business entity

A major part of registering your business and opening up shop class is choosing a business entity. This will govern how you pay taxes as a small-business owner, but besides what kind of liability protection you have in case something goes incorrect and how you ’ ll structure your occupation. If you ’ re barely starting a bookkeeping business, it ’ s likely that you ’ ll precisely be working solo, at least for the beginning. Consider starting your search into clientele entities for bookkeepers by looking into exclusive proprietors and LLCs. The latter could be a capital choice if you might bring in some help down the line.

Obtain insurance

It ’ s not compulsory, but you might want to look into insurance for your bookkeeping occupation. This can help protect you from dearly-won liability in case you make a mistake on your customers ’ books — which can be a huge hit to your business and, in some cases, your personal finances — if you aren ’ metric ton see. Common clientele policy policies for bookkeepers include things such as master liability and general liability.

4. Choose your bookkeeping software

This one is a no-brainer : Your bookkeeping software will be the foundation of your business. You have lots of options for the best bookkeeping software, so look into them carefully. If you are overwhelmed, however, or plainly want to use the overpowering favorite, you should consider using QuickBooks Online—this is one of the most popular account software providers on the market and is used by many small and big businesses alike. Another popular option is Xero, but there are plenty of bookkeeping apps to choose from. You can get certified in each of these programs, which can not alone help you become a power drug user but can besides help you market yourself as an technical.

5. Set up your business infrastructure

When you ’ re learning how to start a bookkeeping business, you ’ ll find that there are a few key pieces of infrastructure you ’ ll need to kick off. carefully think about setting up the follow :


many clients will look for your web site to find out about you and your have. If you ’ re specifically running a wholly virtual business, a web site is extra important since it can demonstrate to clients your skills. And fortunately, there are plenty of web site builders to make creating your web site a breeze.

Client database management

As you grow your customer roll, you ’ ll want to make certain you ‘re tracking them efficaciously and completely. You can use a CRM and project management tool in which you can set up your own work flow. You can besides look into specific accounting practice management software, some of which integrate immediately into software such as QuickBooks Online.


If your clients will be sending you things such as receipts or statements, you might want to consider the creature that you ’ ll use to contribution files. A popular option is Dropbox, in which you can create a share booklet that both you and your clients have access to.

Business bank account

You ’ ll besides want to make sure that you set up a business bank account to keep your business finances separate from your personal finances. This is all-important for taxes american samoa well as personal indebtedness protective covering. Start with a business checking history and, as your business grows, you may besides opt for a business write bill to let your excess funds earn concern. Both traditional, brick-and-mortar banks and on-line institutions offer attractive bank options, then denounce around before deciding where you want to park your hard-earned money.

6. Price your services

Figuring out what to charge is any small-business owner ’ second greatest challenge. Too little and you aren ’ t fairly compensated for your work ; excessively much and you ’ ll have a street fighter time competing with other bookkeeping businesses. PayScale, a web site that tracks salaries and rates, puts the average hourly pace for a bookkeeper around $ 17 per hour ( $ 10 on the abject end and $ 24 on the high conclusion ). You might besides want to look into mercenary and for-hire contractor sites, such as UpWork or Fiverr, where people list their rates. Find bookkeepers that are similar in your skill set and experience to help gauge what you should be charging. Remember that the sum that you charge should be contingent on your years of have, specialization in industries, certifications you carry and your area. And, of course, your rate international relations and security network ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate fixed — you can always change it if you feel like you ’ re not priced correctly.

7. Find your customers

marketing is so authoritative, no matter the type of business you own. The savviest small-business marketers are the ones who figure out precisely who their customers are and advertise directly to them. You ’ ll want to think up a unique sell proposal for your business : For example, are you touting your have ? Your industry specialization ? Your concenter on local business ? This will all help you come up with the most creative ways to market yourself, which may include direct chain mail or radio ads, social media ads, e-mail campaigns, or any number of other strategies. Look into our comprehensive guide to small-business selling, which will cover how to reach people through SEO, search ads, sociable media and more. And never forget the power of viva-voce referrals — and don ’ metric ton be excessively shy to ask for them.

8. Understand your funding options

If you ’ re starting out little, it ’ s likely you won ’ t need a big come of business financing — you can always explore options down the course if, say, you open a brick-and-mortar office and hire multiple employees. For now, though, you ’ ll likely want to get a commercial enterprise citation card to fund your bookkeeping business. This will give you the spending ability to set up your company and put all of your commercial enterprise expenses in one place. That ’ s not lone crucial for separating your occupation and personal finances, but can help you with your own bookkeeping come tax season. There are lots of different types of business credit rating cards to look into, including options with 0 % introductory APR periods, so if you have a few inauguration costs you can ’ t breed with savings, you can treat this type of card like an interest-free loanword. Just make indisputable you have a plan to pay off the poise before the basic propose ends and a varying APR sets in.

The bottom line

One concluding thought on how to set up a bookkeeping business : Make certain that you grow as the businesses around you do, excessively. That doesn ’ triiodothyronine mean you have to take on more clients, but preferably grow your cognition and network. Keep your skills up to date, evolve the depth in which you know your preferable platforms and stay apprised as their features change, angstrom good. You can constantly attend professional events, besides, such as conferences and network events. Don ’ triiodothyronine forget that investing in your business means investing in yourself. This article originally appeared on JustBusiness, a subordinate of NerdWallet .

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