The key to figuring out how to start a successful bookkeeping business is knowledge. If you have the skills to be a full-charge bookkeeper, you can easily start a freelance or home-based bookkeeping business. Even if you already work for a regular employer, you can easily market your skills to other businesses and generate freelance income. The US Department of Labor; Occupational Outlook Handbook, states:
“Demand for full-charge bookkeepers is expected to increase as they are called upon to do much of the work of accountants. Those with several years of accounting or bookkeeper certification will have the best job prospects.”
According to HR Magazine, 35% of America’s largest businesses outsource bookkeeping, and the percentage is growing. The shortage of experienced bookkeepers is apparent on every posting classified website. Classified ads in every newspaper usually show multiple posts for experienced bookkeepers. Even if you only have a few years of experience, or a few college courses in accounting or bookkeeping, you can probably obtain an entry-level position as a bookkeeper.
Bookkeeping is an easy business to start at home. Working just 20 hours a week can generate a nice income, and many professional bookkeepers establish a few good clients and live exclusively off their part-time income. Some bookkeepers even provide tax services to their clients in addition to regular monthly bookkeeping, because tax preparation is so much easier when you have a client’s books in order.
There are numerous resources on the internet, and a few good books out there for bookkeepers just starting out in the business. For someone who has little experience, a good place to start would be a local college course. Community colleges offer introductory bookkeeping courses that are informative and cheap. Most of the time, you can take the courses online, and many community colleges offer certificate programs that you can finish in a year.
Most business owners have no way of evaluating a bookkeeper, so it is a good idea to consider certification. You can consider becoming a Certified Bookkeeper through the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (The AIPB). There is no degree requirement, but you must pass a four-part exam. Certification ensures that the bookkeeper has proven skills and knowledge in the field of bookkeeping. The exam even includes a section on fraud prevention. For certification, exam candidates must have at least two years of bookkeeping experience, pass the exam, and agree to adhere to a code of ethics. Bookkeepers that pass this certification program enjoy greater respect and higher pay. The Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, recommends certification for bookkeepers.