Companies which cannot afford to employ their own accountant or bookkeeper outsource their financial documentation to companies or individuals who can assist them. These services are vital to any company and cannot be avoided, which is why there is such a gap in the market for freelance bookkeepers to do well and be successful. There will always be business for you, even for smaller companies which cannot afford to approach bigger companies, they’ll then seek out individuals who can help at an affordable rate.
The beauty of this service is that everyone needs it. If you haven’t already got the experience, there are a number of colleges that offer bookkeeping courses as well as online tutorials which provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to be able to pursue this as a career.
Once you’ve completed your courses and ready to set off on your own, you’ll have the freedom of setting your own prices, taking on as many clients as you want and establishing the services you wish to provide.
Here’s a closer look at how to be successful in this type of position:
- Choose the kind of services you enjoy and wish to offer clients
You will be able to specialise in a specific service that appeals to you and brings you the income you need to sustain your lifestyle. In the beginning, you will need to select basic services to assist smaller companies, like accounts receivable, accounts payable, bank reconciliation, payroll services and financial report preparation. And additional, more skills-specific services include auditing, loan packaging, business plans and accounting software training for companies. Dedicate some extra time to your studies and you’ll soon be making waves with bigger companies, quickly gaining new clients through word of mouth.
- Purchase bookkeeping and payroll software
Once you’ve purchased a software that is easy to operate, you will be able to customise your clients’ needs to suit your software. Make sure that you have the correct equipment to be able to operate this type of software on, with the ability to constantly update or upgrade your packages should you need to. If you obtain training in several online accounting programs, you will be able to build a client base that meets your skills. And vise versa. Some bookkeepers might prefer to take on larger clients with a greater volume of work whereas others might prefer to keep their client’s smaller, but simply just have more.
- Set your own freelance rates to support industry standards and your bank account
There is no doubt that in the beginning, you are going to be charging too little for the amount of time and effort that goes into a job. But that is what freelancing is all about: getting to know the industry and adjusting your rates accordingly. Do some research on local companies to see what the standard rate for bookkeepers and payroll services are. This will give you a clear indication of what you can charge your clients without them taking advantage of you. The more clients you have and the more well-known your clients are, the more professional and desirable your services will become. Of course, once things take off and you’re doing really well, your rates will be able to increase due to your demand and experience.
- Join and connect with business organisations which will benefit from your services
Join some local business networks to interact with business owners, giving yourself a platform to communicate your business and its unique selling point. Take any opportunity to generate brand awareness online, through face-to-face communication or traditional methods of advertising to better inform people about your business, your rates and your services.
If you have some money that you could contribute to advertising costs, then try your luck at that too. After all, if you don’t try to meet new people and advertise your business, the chances of your business being successful in the first couple of months are minimal.
- Do research and get in touch with employers looking for part-time bookkeepers
Do some research to see what the demand is for part-time bookkeepers. If you are able to access this information through a local job placement site, phone the companies and inform them about your services. It is these moments where you need to maximise your service offerings and sell yourself to them. It would also be a great opportunity to tell the potential client about the cost-saving benefits of hiring a freelance bookkeeper as opposed to outsourcing a company.
Bookkeeping is vital for company’s operations. Usually, people who start businesses in bookkeeping are likely to be qualified in some form or another. However, this does not mean that you cannot if you aren’t. This type of business requires constant learning and the more you keep learning and developing your skills, the more your rates will be and the more successful your business will become. As your business grows, you will need to invest in new technology and software to stay ahead of your competitors.