How to Build a Successful Bookkeeping Business That People Can’t Stop Obsessing About

Oh, hey there, number crunchers! So, you’ve decided to venture into the topsy-turvy world of bookkeeping and make it your own business? Bold move! We bet you’ve already read a bunch of articles on Google and still felt unsatisfied, so you’re here today, hoping this one will finally hit the mark. 

Well, you’re in luck! 

Since you’ve already read this far, let’s not keep you waiting. No fluff, no beating around the bush. 

We’ll keep it straight and simple.

Reasons Why You Might Be Reading This Blog

Maybe you’re tired of the corporate grind and ready to be your own boss. Or perhaps you’re on a mission to help people change their money habits and simplify their wealth journey. Whatever your motivation, starting a bookkeeping business can be incredibly satisfying.

But unfortunately, it is not without challenges. There will be bumps, spreadsheets, and probably more migraines than you thought possible. These hiccups are part of your entrepreneurial journey. Don’t we all agree?

So, let us help you. In this article, we will walk you through the essential steps you need to take to start your own bookkeeping business.

Remember, everything’s more challenging if you’re trying it alone! Grab your reading glasses and coffee. Let’s get you started.

The Basics of Bookkeeping

The Basics of Bookkeeping

Now, we don’t need to tell you what a bookkeeper does. Do we? But as a ritual of our blogs, we’ll explain this in just three lines…just three, okay?

💡You’ll need some knowledge of business accounting software to manage company finances.

💡You’ll handle accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR).

💡You’ll prepare financial statements (e.g., profit and loss statements, balance sheets).

See, that’s all! But if you’re starting your own business, of course, you’ll need to do some additional bookkeeping tasks.

You’ll help business owners better understand their company’s financial processes, simplify business data reporting to optimize financial performance, and closely monitor the cash flow.  It might sound like a lot, but we promise, it’s all manageable and straightforward.

All clear? Can we jump to our next section?

We’ll take that as a “yes.”

How a Bookkeeper is Different from an Accountant

Okay, this one is not for you. Perhaps newbies who have ventured into the accounting world might want to know this. A bookkeeper and an accountant often get mixed up, but they play distinct roles in the financial ecosystem. 

Here’s the difference:

Bookkeepers record daily financial transactions, including purchases, receipts, sales, and payments. They maintain and balance subsidiaries, general ledgers, and historical accounts.

Accountants analyze, interpret, and summarize financial data collected by bookkeepers. They prepare financial statements, perform audits, and provide tax advice.

Learn more: Essential Accounting Terms Every Business Owner Should Know

Checklist for Starting a Bookkeeping Business

Checklist for Starting a Bookkeeping Business

Here comes the central part. We’ve got a handy-dandy checklist to ensure you’re fully equipped to start off on the right foot.  Tally and see if you’ve checked off a few items or are at least gearing up to sort them out.

✅ Pick Your Market Or Niche

✅ Create a Business Plan

✅ Register Your Business and Get Insured 

✅ Obtain Certification and/or Business License

✅ Pick Your Ideal Bookkeeping Software

✅ Open a business bank account

✅ Develop a Marketing Plan and Find Your Customers

And don’t worry if you’re not close to checking off everything on this list yet. We’ll guide you through each step in the next section. Let’s keep moving forward.

✅ Pick Your Market or Niche

Every business out there needs a bookkeeper, which means you’ve got a buffet of potential clients. We’re not exaggerating here. Every day, there’s a new startup getting off the ground. So there’s definitely no shortage of opportunities.

But if you don’t pick a specific market or niche, you might end up spreading yourself too thin, trying to master the ins and outs of every single industry. Now, you wouldn’t try to cook every dish in the world at once, right? You’d focus on a few favorites and get really good at them.

Makes sense?

So, choose a niche and become the go-to expert in that field. This makes attracting clients and growing your business easier because they know you’re the best fit for their specific needs.

✅ Create a Business Plan

Every new business setup needs a business plan. That’s obvious. Having a business plan helps you figure out where you’re going and how you’ll get there. Plus, if you need funding in the future, it shows potential investors that you’ve got your act together.

But keep in mind that a business plan is not set in stone, so you can tweak it as your business grows or changes. No fuss there.

What to Include in Your Business Plan:

  • Business Name
  • Ideal Customer
  • Services Offered
  • Pricing
  • Startup Costs
  • Marketing Strategy

✅ Register Your Business and Get Insured

Next, you’ll need to decide what kind of business entity your company will be. This is a big deal because it affects everything from taxes to liability protection. 

For instance, a sole proprietorship means all business income is reported on your personal tax return, while a corporation might allow you to benefit from lower corporate tax rates. 

Similarly, an LLC offers flexibility, letting you choose whether to be taxed as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation. 

Also, different structures offer varying levels of personal liability protection. As a sole proprietor, your personal assets are at risk if your business faces legal issues. 

An LLC or corporation, however, generally protects your personal assets from business liabilities, meaning creditors can’t come after your house or car if things go south.

So consider carefully

Here are your main options to register your business:

Sole Proprietorship

If you’re running the show solo, this is the easiest route. You and your business are the same legal entity, which means all the profits (and debts) are yours. But be aware that, as discussed before, your personal assets are on the line if anything goes wrong.

Partnership

Have a business partner? Then this is for you. This option is similar to a sole proprietorship but with two (or more) people. You won’t just share the profits but also the responsibilities and liabilities.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

This is a popular choice because it gives you the liability protection of a corporation but with more flexibility and fewer formalities. Your personal assets are generally safe if your business hits a rough patch, and the tax situation is often simpler.

Corporation

If your business grows too big in a year or two, then this structure should be your choice.  Corporations offer the strongest protection for your personal assets but come with more regulations and paperwork. It’s a viable choice if you plan to raise significant capital or go public one day.

Getting Insured and Protecting Your Business From All Kinds of Storms

Imagine you’re building a house. The business structure is your foundation, and the insurance policies are your walls and roof. Together, they protect everything inside and ensure your house stands strong, come what may.

✅ Obtain Certification and/or Business License

This might sound a bit daunting, but it’s a crucial step to set your business up for success and build trust with your clients. Getting certified or licensed isn’t just about adding letters after your name (although that’s pretty cool).

It shows potential clients that you know your stuff and are committed to maintaining high standards. Plus, it can open doors to more opportunities and higher-paying bookkeeping gigs.

By the way, operating without a license can also lead to heavy fines and severe legal troubles, so take this seriously.

Types of Bookkeeping Certifications

Certified Bookkeeper (CB): Offered by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB), this certification covers all the fundamentals of bookkeeping. To get it, you’ll need to pass a series of exams and have at least two years of full-time bookkeeping experience.

Certified Public Bookkeeper (CPB): This certification is offered by the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB). It covers bookkeeping essentials, payroll, and QuickBooks. To get certified, you’ll need to pass the CPB exam, have one year of experience, and complete continuing education annually.

QuickBooks Certification: If you plan to use QuickBooks (a popular bookkeeping software), getting certified shows you can easily handle clients’ accounts. Intuit, the maker of QuickBooks, offers certification programs for different levels of expertise.

And once you’re certified, the next step is to make your business official (obtain a license)

Here’s how you get your business license:

➜ Check Local Requirements

Licensing requirements vary by location. Visit your city or county government’s website to find out what you need.

➜ Fill Out the Forms

Complete all the necessary paperwork. This usually includes your business name, structure, and address.

➜ Pay the Fee

There’s usually a fee for processing your license. Make sure to budget for this.

➜ Renew Annually

Most business licenses need to be renewed each year. Set a reminder so you don’t forget.

✅ Pick Your Ideal Bookkeeping Software

Now, you can’t do everything on your own. You’re not AI and definitely not a supercomputer.

You’ll need the hands of a powerful machine… or a powerful mind that never ever forgets! Okay, maybe it’s not quite a “mind,” but software that’s packed with features that make your life easier. Fine enough suspense.

We’re talking about bookkeeping software. Your bookkeeping software should have avant-garde features that let you handle your daily tasks without stressing over which button to click.

When choosing bookkeeping software, here are some key features you should consider:

✅ Ease of Use: You don’t want to spend hours figuring out how to use your software. Look for something user-friendly and intuitive.

✅ Integration: Make sure it integrates with other tools you use, like your CRM, payroll system, and banking apps.

✅ Scalability: As your business grows, your software should grow with you (to take the workload) 😉 Ensure it can handle increasing transactions and users.

✅ Reporting: Good software should offer comprehensive reporting features, allowing you to generate financial statements, expense reports, and other critical documents within a few clicks.

✅ Security: Financial data is very sensitive and its security can’t be jeopardized at any cost. Look for software with robust security measures, including encryption and regular backups.

✅ Customer Support: When you run into complicated issues, having reliable customer support 24×7 can make all the difference.

Popular Bookkeeping Software Options

For a comprehensive solution, doola offers bookkeeping software to help you manage all your transactions in one place, set up recurring invoices, create custom invoice templates, and more.

On the other hand, Xero is user-friendly and has strong integration capabilities.

FreshBooks focuses on invoicing and time tracking for freelancers and small businesses.

Additionally, Wave is a free option with basic features for very small businesses, and Zoho Books is great for those using other Zoho products or needing a highly customizable accounting solution.

Also, You Might Need a Payroll Software

If you plan on hiring employees, adding payroll software to your toolkit is essential. Payroll software helps manage employee payments, tax calculations, and compliance with labor laws. 

Here are a few options to consider

Gusto: Known for its user-friendly interface, Gusto offers payroll processing, employee benefits management, and compliance support. It’s great for small to medium-sized businesses looking for an all-in-one solution.

OnPay: A cost-effective payroll solution that offers payroll processing, tax filing, and HR tools. OnPay is designed for small businesses looking for a straightforward, affordable payroll service.

Paychex: This platform offers flexible payroll processing, employee benefits, and HR services. Paychex is ideal for small to large businesses seeking a scalable payroll solution.

✅ Open a Business Bank Account

Alright, so you’ve got your business plan and savvy bookkeeping software, and you’re ready to rock and roll. But there’s a critical step here: opening a business bank account. This isn’t just about having a special place to keep your business money.

It’s about making your financial life simpler and more organized. 

Steps to Open a Business Bank Account:

Well, opening a business account isn’t rocket science, but if you’re buried in paperwork, these tips might help. Take a quick look to make things easier.

1. Pick the Right Bank

Look for a bank that offers good deals on business accounts. Check out the fees, minimum balances, and any extra services, such as business credit cards.

2. Get Your Documents Ready

To get started, you’ll need some paperwork. This usually includes your business license, Employer Identification Number (EIN), articles of incorporation (if you have them), and personal ID.

3. Open the Account

You can go to the bank or apply online. Some banks let you do it all without stepping foot in a branch.

4. Set Up Online Banking

Make sure you can manage your account online. This makes it super easy to track transactions, pay bills, and move money around.

5. Order Checks and a Debit Card

 You’ll need these for everyday business expenses.

Startups of all sizes try business banking right here

✅ Develop a Marketing Plan and Find Your Customers

Here comes the most thrilling part of your journey: landing your first client. It’s not that easy. But there are ways to woo your clients. You’ll probably need a robust marketing strategy to reach your target audience sitting across different locations.

Remember, your marketing efforts will tie them all, irrespective of their locations.

Next, you need to set up your business social media accounts on top channels. It won’t cost you anything. FYI, Bookkeepers often find better results on sites like LinkedIn, where you can connect directly with business owners.

Make sure your profile stands out and showcases all your expertise and services in a way that’s confident but not boastful.

Happy clients are your best marketers. Encourage satisfied clients to refer you to other business owners. Word of mouth is phenomenal and always effective.

In addition, content marketing is another proven way to spread the word about your business. Use SEO best practices to create valuable content that educates your audience and boosts your brand on search engines.

This could be in the form of blog posts, eBooks, webinars, or even short video tutorials. The goal is to position yourself as an expert in your field.

You’ll also need to attend industry events, local business meetups, and online webinars. Get to know people, understand their pain points, and offer solutions accordingly. 

Gain insights: Why Is Social Media Important for a Business?

Start a Bookkeeping Business With doola

When to Choose doola

Alright, number lovers, it’s time to make your dream of starting a bookkeeping business a reality. We know all those steps we talked about can make you second-guess yourself. But don’t let that stop you.

During our bookkeeping consultations, we’ve seen plenty of eager entrepreneurs who started out just like you — nervous but excited — and they’ve made it big in the bookkeeping world. They felt all those same jitters in the beginning. But guess what?

They didn’t quit, and they didn’t surrender. They reached out for help at the right time, which made their journey smoother, even if it didn’t remove every challenge.

You can do the same, and doola is here to help you every step of the way. Starting your own bookkeeping business doesn’t have to be overwhelming when you’ve got the right support. 

For now, grab a free consultation to learn more. 

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