Learning how to become a bookkeeper can help you create the best small business where you can work at home.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be an accountant to be a bookkeeper.
Bookkeepers are able to charge a high hourly rate and there are minimal startup costs. Perfect if you are looking for a business to start from home!
Entrepreneur named it as one of the best jobs to do because of this (and the $80 hourly rate sure helps!).
If you’re looking for a job that you can do as a stay-at-home mom, this is perfect for you.
We’ll go through exactly how to become a bookkeeper right from the comfort of your home.
What Does a Bookkeeper Do?
Wondering what a bookkeeper actually does? Accounting and bookkeeping are actually very different!
What Accountants Do
Accountants are the people that you will go to for your taxes.
It’s not wise to do your taxes yourself in case you are audited and can be fined heavily. Accountants will do your taxes for you and make sure that your financial records are in order.
They will go through your financial statements and see where you are able to save money.
It takes a lot more to become an accountant, though the salary is very good and the job has great stability.
What Bookkeepers Do
Bookkeepers will generally do the stuff for your financial documents before it gets passed over to your accountant.
Bookkeepers look after the financial data on more of a day-to-day basis.
They will create financial reports, update any financial records and do tasks such as paying invoices, sending invoices, taking care of accounts payable, etc.
You can become a certified bookkeeper, but it isn’t required, nor do you need a Bachelor’s degree in accounting.
How Much Do Bookkeepers Earn?
The amount that you can earn as an entry-level bookkeeper will, of course, vary as it does within most roles, depending on things such as experience.
According to Salary.com, the average salary is $45,626 for those who work as a bookkeeper full-time.
If you are running your own bookkeeping business then you can charge whatever prices you want! You can also take on multiple clients and earn more that way as well.
4 Steps For How To Become A Bookkeeper
1. Get Trained As Bookkeeper
If you want to become a bookkeeper and start a business, there are a few skills you’ll need:
- Algebra (math in general!)
- Attention to detail (detail-oriented)
- Computer skills (typing and certain software will be most important)
Now, you don’t need a Bachelor’s degree to become a bookkeeper, though at least a high school degree is recommended. You can learn bookkeeping from courses or teach yourself bookkeeping skills.
You can teach yourself bookkeeping by doing exactly what you’re doing- researching and reading! You can read blogs and books to become a successful bookkeeper- or even watch YouTube videos to get a feel for it.
Watching videos on how to use QuickBooks and other programs will be really helpful in developing your tech skills as a bookkeeper.
2. Form Your Business
Once you become a bookkeeper, all you need for your business is your computer setup with the works and some bookkeeping software, like QuickBooks.
Both accounting and bookkeeping jobs require this type of software, and you’ll need to buy it to work on the books for your clients.
Next, you’ll need a secure connection, as you’ll be working with confidential and private data from your clients.
Once you have the basics started at home, you can get your business up and running!
You can create a few different kinds of businesses: a sole proprietorship and a limited liability company (LLC) are the most common. The type you register as is up to you and what your business needs are.
You’ll want to create a website, maybe using BlueHost or WordPress, so clients can see what services you offer and how you would benefit them as a bookkeeper.
Marketing your business is very important, and it’s the final step before you look for your first job and find clients.
3. Apply For Jobs Online & Gain Clients
Now that you’ve been trained and have your business started, it’s time to get on the career path by getting some bookkeeping jobs online.
You need to gain clients or your business won’t be around for long!
You should figure out how many clients you want to have at a given time and how many hours you’re willing to work.
Jobs you can specialize in for clients include payroll, financial reports like income statements or balance sheets, tax preparation, or another specific service.
You should have a resume prepared and have it display the programs and accounting software you’re capable of using.
Don’t forget to add in any formal education you have, especially a Bachelor’s degree or certification- they aren’t required, but make you stand out against the competition.
The more you gain experience, the more clients you’ll draw in.
4. Consider Becoming A Certified Bookkeeper
You’ll also want to consider becoming a certified bookkeeper, as you can get more training on how to become a bookkeeper- but not just that!
Certification will make you more appealing to clients, and you can charge more for your services!
A certified bookkeeper can charge upwards of $80 per hour!
There are 2 professional bookkeeper organizations to earn certification from: The American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers and the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers.
American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB)
The certification exam for the AIPB includes training, but you’ll need a total of 2 years of bookkeeping experience, which equates to about 3,000 hours of work.
National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB)
The NACPB requires a bit more to become certified- including an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in Accounting. You need to pass their exam and submit your degree proof for their certification.
Once you’re a certified public bookkeeper, you may have continuing education to keep current, but the programs you join will let you know what sort of continuing education you’ll need and where to get additional resources.
What Are the Pros vs. Cons of Becoming a Bookkeeper?
As with most jobs, there are pros and cons, and it’s ultimately down to you to decide what you are happy with doing.
- You get to set your own rates
- You can take on as many clients as you wish
- It’s a flexible career path, you pick your hours and work time
- You can do this as a side hustle to fit in around work you have currently or your children’s schedules
- You may need a high school degree, but no other degrees are necessary
- Job training is available!
- You will have to find your own clients and pitch to them
- Your income may not be consistent from month to month at the beginning
- You need to know your stuff- you need to be skilled in accounting software and consistent in how well you make financial reports
- Certified bookkeepers do make more hourly, so you may want to go the extra step and put the work in for certification
Can You Become a Bookkeeper Without a Degree?
Yes, you can become a bookkeeper without a degree or bookkeeping certification. Most jobs start with just needing a high school education and that’s it.
There is bookkeeper training from online courses to help you learn, but you may already have the skills you need
If you are organized and good with numbers this will help you in this role. It is also an advantage if you know your way around various accounting software.
Do You Need Any Experience to Become a Bookkeeper?
You don’t need any previous experience to be a bookkeeper, which is great news if you are just starting out.
When it comes to looking for remote work-from-home jobs with no experience it can be hard to find roles that are well paid. This could be the perfect start for you.
It is important that you are meticulous and don’t tend to make any errors because it is important that you remember that you are dealing with company finances.
Can I Work Remotely As A Bookkeeper?
You know that you want to be a remote bookkeeper now, but you’re probably wondering where you find bookkeeping jobs!
If you want to look at job boards first for remote bookkeeping jobs then the best places to look at are Indeed.com or FlexJobs.
More and more companies are offering remote jobs for their workers because they know that more people are looking for flexible work.
Make Money as a Freelance Bookkeeper
To start looking for your own clients you can pitch to any small business that may need your services.
A good place to start is to get your own website set up so that people can find you and see your services.
You can also set up a LinkedIn profile and social media profiles so that people can find you and hear about your business.
One of the best ways to find work in any business is through word of mouth. Let your family and friends know that you are starting a bookkeeping business so that they can spread the word.
Once you’ve got your site set up and you have figured out how much you want to charge, you can go and get out there to find work.
If you are doing this as a serious business then it’s a good idea to go out and actively look for work. You can attend networking events and hand out business cards.
What is the Best Bookkeeping Training to Take?
There are some great basic bookkeeping courses for aspiring bookkeepers.
Most will walk you step-by-step look at a bookkeeping business from an expert perspective and will show you the tools that you need to get started.
Free Bookkeeper Training
This is a good starting point if you are still a bit unsure about whether or not you want to do this as a job.
Starting an Online Bookkeeping Business
There has never been a better time than now to set up your own business and work the hours that you want to.
If you are a stay-at-home mom looking for some extra cash or wanting to start up a fully-fledged business, this is the perfect job to do.
There are such low start-up fees that it’s a great opportunity for a lot of people. Not only that, but you don’t need to have previous experience or a bookkeeping certification/degree.