How To Start a Bookkeeping Business: A Step-by-Step Guide


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Imagine getting to set your schedule, work with your favorite clients, and enjoy your work. You can make that a reality by starting a bookkeeping business or franchise.

Not only can you make your schedule, but you don’t have to start your business without some help. Then, you can make money and enjoy a sense of community.

Keep reading to learn how to start a bookkeeping business.

Bookkeeper Qualifications

Before starting a bookkeeping business, you should consider what qualifications you need. Fortunately, you don’t need any special training or experience to become a bookkeeper.

As long as you have a high school diploma, you can start working as a bookkeeper. You can learn more about bookkeeping as you start a bookkeeping business, so you can improve your skills.

If you don’t have a college degree, starting a bookkeeping business can be a great career path. You can work for yourself and control your work, so you can enjoy what you do.

Getting More Education

If you want to stand out when starting a bookkeeping business, you can get more education and training. Having more education can help you promote yourself and show potential clients you’re the right choice.

If you live in an area with a lot of competition, getting training is an easy way to differentiate yourself. Perhaps you’re the only bookkeeper in your area with training from a specific program.

Or maybe you buy a bookkeeping franchise and are the only one with that franchise near you. It can take time to get the experience you need to stand out from other bookkeepers, but you can separate yourself from the start with some training or education.

Who Should Start a Bookkeeping Business?

A few groups of people should learn how to start a bookkeeping business. While anyone can do it, bookkeeping is an excellent choice for current students. You can work while you’re in college, and you can build your business so that it can support you when you graduate.

If you don’t want to have to get a traditional job after you finish school, use your time now to start a bookkeeping business. Not only can you build your career, but you may be able to make enough to help pay for your school.

Stay-at-home parents can also benefit from starting a bookkeeping business. You can set your own schedule, so you can work when and where you need to. That way, you can take care of your kids, and you can still bring in an income.

Military spouses may also want to start a bookkeeping business for the flexibility. Whether or not you have kids, you may not be able to find a traditional job. If you and your spouse move a lot, you can work on your bookkeeping business from home.

The next time you move, you can keep your clients, so you don’t have to search for a new job. Anyone who moves or wants to travel a lot will also enjoy this benefit.

Veterans can also start a bookkeeping business. If you have a hard time getting a regular job after serving in the military, starting a business or buying a bookkeeping franchise can be an excellent option.

Skills You Need

As you decide to start a bookkeeping franchise or business, you should make sure you have the necessary skills. Fortunately, you can learn most of these skills, so you don’t have to have them now.

Having the right skills will make your job as a bookkeeper a lot easier. Then, you can make money and enjoy the work. Consider a few essential skills every bookkeeper should have.

Computer Savvy

While bookkeepers used to use a pen and paper to track transactions, many use computers now. The software you use can depend on your business and the clients you have. Some clients may want you to use their chosen software.

However, some clients may let you choose the software. In either case, you should be good with computers and a quick learner. Then, you can learn how to use different bookkeeping programs.

As you start your bookkeeping business, don’t be afraid to compare a few accounting programs. If you find one you like, you can use it with all of your clients who don’t request another option.

You may also want to learn how to create and manage a website to help attract clients online. Knowing how to use social media can also help you market your business.

Attention to Detail

If you aren’t good at focusing on details, you may find it hard to track transactions. Your clients trust you to track their revenue and expenses accurately, so you need to focus.

Now, you can learn how to pay attention to details. Practice with your own financial records or make transactions up. You can use your personal bank account and practice recording and categorizing expenses.

Once you get a few clients, you can use those skills to help track transactions. That way, you won’t have to correct your mistakes, and you can make sure your clients can view their financial records easily.

Organizational Skills

When you own a bookkeeping franchise, you also need to be good at organizing things. You may have dozens of clients, and you need to separate each client’s financial records to help provide accurate reports.

Make sure you have a system that works for you to help organize client records and documents. You can organize client information in a few ways.

  • Folders on your computer
  • Email folders
  • Physical binders with printouts

Determine how you like to organize things so that you can find them. You don’t have to use the same system as someone else, which is one of the benefits of owning a business.

Communication Skills

When you decide on small business bookkeeping as your career, you may think you can focus on the numbers. Of course, working with financial statements is important. However, you also need to communicate with clients.

You may need to talk to the business owner about their business finances and answer their questions. If a client’s business doesn’t do as well one month, you may need to explain what happened, such as having fewer sales or more expenses.

You may also decide to hire employees for your bookkeeping business. If so, you’ll need to talk to them, train them, and answer their questions about your bookkeeping process or other issues.

Consider a Franchise

As you figure out how to start a bookkeeping business, consider if you want to start from scratch or buy a franchise. A BooXkeeping franchise can be an excellent option if you want to have support as you start.

Buying a franchise means you don’t have to worry about testing the market demand for your service. You can work with a company that has been around for a while, and you can use that to build trust with your clients.

While paying for a franchise can be expensive, it can save you a lot of time. You may need to build a name for yourself, but you will have the added trust of a larger company.

It’s also a great option for people who love working with others but still want to work from home. You can work with other franchise owners and learn from each other.

Decide Where to Set Up

Whether you buy a bookkeeping franchise or not, you should choose where you want to work. Starting a bookkeeping business from home can be an easy option.

Of course, you can save money on office space. You can also save time on a commute, and it can be easier to head to work for shorter periods, which is nice as a student or stay-at-home parent.

However, working from an office may be a better idea if you get distracted at home. You can also more easily meet with clients in person, and having an office can look more professional.

Wherever you set up your business, make sure you have access to a computer with an internet connection. You may also want to have a printer with ink and paper as well as pens and other office supplies.

List Your Services

Next, you should list out the specific services you want to offer. First, consider if you want to work with a specific type of client. For example, you could focus on small business bookkeeping instead of corporate clients.

You should also consider what types of bookkeeping you want to do. At first, you may want to start with standard bookkeeping, where you focus on maintaining a client’s ledger.

However, you can expand to cover accounts receivable and accounts payable to help clients pay bills and receive payment on time. You can also offer monthly reports of a client’s financial records to help them understand how their business is doing.

Set Your Rates

After you figure out what services to offer, you can set your rates for each service. When you’re new to bookkeeping, you may not be able to charge as much as someone with a decade of experience.

Rates can also vary based on the cost of living near you. Someone in New York City can charge more than someone in rural Iowa.

As you start bookkeeping, you may also consider offering one month for free or a deep discount. You can ask a client to offer a testimonial in exchange for the better deal, and you can share that testimonial with future clients.

Write a Business Plan

You should also write a business plan to outline everything you will do in your business. It can include how you plan to make money and how much money you expect to make.

Your business plan doesn’t have to be long and complex. Even one page can be enough to lay out your plan for how to start and grow your bookkeeping business.

You also don’t have to share your business plan with anyone but yourself. However, it can be a good thing to reference if you ever want to remind yourself about your plans.

Start Marketing Yourself

If you buy a bookkeeping franchise, you won’t have to spend as much time on marketing as if you start a solo business. However, it can still help to promote yourself so that you can get clients.

You can tell people you know about your bookkeeping business, and you can ask them to spread the word. Then, you can get clients who know you and trust you already.

If you use social media, you can also share your new business with your followers. Social media marketing can be an excellent way to grow your business for free.

Network With Other Bookkeepers

If you start a BooXkeeping franchise, you can also network with other bookkeepers. You can learn from the team of bookkeepers, so you can grow your business and get the support you need.

Starting a bookkeeping business can often feel lonely, especially if you work from home. However, you don’t have to start your business alone.

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.

Hire Employees

Another optional step for starting a bookkeeping business is to hire people. You can hire someone to help manage clients’ books, but you can also hire people to help with other areas of the business.

If you want to focus on social media marketing, you can hire a social media manager. You may also want to hire a writer or editor to help create content for a blog to help promote your business.

Is Starting a Bookkeeping Business for You?

If you want to work for yourself, you should consider owning a bookkeeping business. Not only can you work for yourself and set your schedule, but you can get support from other bookkeepers if you buy a franchise.

Then, you can have the support you need to start and grow a successful business as a bookkeeper. You don’t have to be lonely as an entrepreneur.

Do you want to start a bookkeeping business? Learn more about BooXkeeping and buy a franchise today.

Max Emma is a CEO and Chief BooXkeeping Officer of BooXkeeping Franchise, Inc. and BooXkeeping Corporation. Max is a serial entrepreneur with many successful businesses under his belt. Max can be contacted at or at 855-935-2669

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