Guide On How to Start a Bookkeeping Business

Starting your own bookkeeping business can be a great way to make money and help others with their finances. However, it can be not easy to know where to start.

This guide will outline the essential steps you need to take to get your business up and running. 

Keep in mind that while this is a good starting point, each business will differ depending on its size, location, and clientele. So be sure to tailor these tips to fit your specific needs!

Are you looking for a way to start your own business? If so, you may want to consider starting a bookkeeping business.

This is a great option for those interested in working independently and who have an eye for detail. In this article, we will guide how to start a bookkeeping business. 

We will cover the basics, such as choosing a name and setting up your website. We will also discuss marketing and networking strategies to help you succeed in this industry. So, if you are thinking about starting a bookkeeping business, keep reading!

There is no doubt that starting your own bookkeeping business can be a lucrative endeavour. However, there are a few things you need to know to get started on the right foot.

This guide will walk you through the basics of what you need to do to get your business off the ground. We’ll also provide some helpful tips on the market of your new venture and attract customers.

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to get started. We’ll cover topics such as registering your business, choosing the right software, and marketing your services.

So whether you’re just getting started or are already well on your way, this guide will provide you with the information you need to succeed. 

Good luck!

Bookkeeping 101

The process of recording and organising the financial transactions that occur within an organisation to get a snapshot of the current state is referred to as bookkeeping.

At first glance, this process could appear to be challenging and time-consuming; nevertheless, the bookkeeping apps available today make the process significantly easier and more efficient.

The most fundamental level of bookkeeping is required to be eligible for funding from the government in the form of loans, grants, and programmes like the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

These conditions demand that the bookkeeping at your firm be both accurate and brought up to date.

These are some of the bookkeeping items that new businesses may need to record and keep track of, but this list is not exhaustive:

  • In general, the things that a company possesses will be detailed on the balance sheet under the heading “assets” (cash, inventory, equipment, etc.)
  • On the balance sheet, liabilities are an itemised list of what a company owes to its various creditors (debt, wages owed, taxes owed, etc.)
  • Earnings from the sale of goods and services are referred to as revenue. Revenue is also referred to as total sales.
  • Expenses are the many costs associated with running a business, such as payroll, inventory, insurance, rent, and marketing.
  • Revenue is subtracted from expenses, taxes, and interest to arrive at net income, sometimes referred to as net earnings. This is a crucial aspect to grasp if one is going to comprehend profitability and cash flow.
  • Equity can be defined as the difference between the assets and liabilities of your organisation. The net value of your company is represented by its equity.

Market Trends

MYOB has identified a number of trends that are now having a significant impact on the direction that the accounting industry is heading in.

Bookkeepers, for instance, are increasingly being asked to weigh in on business strategy rather than merely being employed for their ability to crunch numbers, and this trend is expected to continue.

Bookkeepers who are able to not only monitor and compile reports but also evaluate those findings and offer recommendations on strategic decisions are more useful to businesses in today’s environment and have the potential to make a significant impact on the success of an organisation.

The bookkeeping sector has also seen a transition towards a greater reliance on technological advancements and the automation of previously manual operations.

Bookkeepers will have more time to focus on client services such as evaluating data and providing those important recommendations mentioned above when they integrate technology that can save them time and take care of some of the more fundamental and repetitive operations.

Bookkeepers need to put a priority on having a healthy work-life balance because the employment market is in a state of flux, and there is a near-constant focus on productivity.

As a consequence of this, bookkeepers are becoming more picky about the customers they work with since they have realised how critical it is for a customer to be a suitable match for the bookkeeper’s company and vice versa.

Who Is A Bookkeeping Company’s Ideal Client?

Bookkeeping companies target their marketing efforts primarily towards business proprietors who are in need of expert assistance in the maintenance and preparation of their financial statements and records.

Some companies that keep books have a speciality in working with particular kinds of companies, such as those in the financial industry, while others focus on working with either small enterprises or huge corporations.

How to Launch a Bookkeeping Company

1. Obtain Certifications

Demonstrating that you have the knowledge and skills necessary to conduct bookkeeping, payroll, and maybe tax returns is one of the quickest ways to acquire credibility with potential customers or clients.

If you already hold a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential, becoming a certified bookkeeper is probably not going to be beneficial for you; nonetheless, you should still give some thought to becoming certified in whatever accounting software you use.

Certified Bookkeeper

Before you launch your own bookkeeping company, you should consider earning a certification as a bookkeeper.

This is something you can accomplish even if you have no prior schooling in accounting or bookkeeping.

Because these certificates, unlike CPA certifications, are not controlled by the state, it is important to select a major organisation with a good reputation in order to ensure that the certification is useful and respected.

Accounting Software Certification

Bookkeepers can demonstrate their expertise with accounting software for small businesses by participating in a certification programme made available by some of the industry’s leading vendors of such software.

The majority of the certificates are provided free of charge, and some even include free accounting software for your company. The following is a list of some of the most widely used accounting software and the certification programmes associated with them:

  • As a QuickBooks ProAdvisor, you should know that QuickBooks is the most popular accounting software for small businesses, and it is extremely probable that some of your customers will use it. Both the online and desktop versions of QuickBooks are eligible for the ProAdvisor certification offered by QuickBooks.

However, in order to obtain the Desktop certification, you will need to acquire the QuickBooks Desktop Accountant software, which costs $449 per year. The Online certification is completely free.

You can get your certification by completing lessons at your own speed and then passing examinations at the end of each lesson.

  • FreshBooks Partner Program: FreshBooks is a well-known piece of accounting software for companies that provide services and require advanced functionality for billing customers. A partnership programme is available for accountants to participate in on FreshBooks’s website, which includes FreshBooks certification and training opportunities.
  • Xero Partner Program: Xero is an alternative accounting software that is competitive with QuickBooks but is sold at a lower price. Xero provides its users with a partnership programme that also includes Xero certification, just like FreshBooks does.

Tax Certification

A paid preparer does not need to have any type of certification in order to sign a client’s tax return. Even yet, unless you are a tax professional or are ready to put in the effort to become one, I strongly advise you to avoid preparing tax returns on your own.

There are several bookkeeping companies that create financial statements for their clients, who then take those statements to CPAs or other tax professionals to complete their tax returns.

As a direct consequence of this, you might find yourself collaborating closely with their tax preparer. By working together, the two of you will be able to deliver excellent service to the customers you share.

2. Develop a Strategy for Your Company

Before beginning their own company, each person have to first compose a business plan outlining their goals and objectives. The amount of thinking that goes into producing a business plan is what gives it its true value.

While a business plan can be utilised to secure capital for your business, the actual value lies in the work that goes into writing a plan.

When you are drafting your business plan, you should give some thought to all aspects of your company, such as the products and services you will sell, how you will promote those products and services, and who your competitors are.

A predicted profit and loss statement for the next 12 months, projected cash flow, and projected balance sheet are going to be included in the financial plan that you are going to produce.


The following is a list of the most important components that need to be incorporated into every business plan:

  • Cover page
  • Executive summary
  • Company overview
  • Competitive analysis
  • Marketing plan
  • Startup costs
  • Financial projections

3. Doing Business as a Bookkeeper Requires Registration and Organisation

Before you can begin providing services to customers, there are a number of significant choices that need to be made.

This step is essential because it demonstrates that your firm is legal and could reduce the amount of personal liability you face in the event that your business is ever sued.

You should not miss this stage, regardless of whether you are working on this endeavour on a part-time or full-time basis.

The items on the following list are required at the municipal, state, and federal levels in order for you to legally operate your business.

Choose a Company Name

The process of naming your company may be both an enjoyable and stressful one. First and foremost, your company’s name needs to be representative of your brand, as this is the first thing that prospective clients will see before they come in for an initial consultation with you.

Check to see that the name of your company conveys exactly what services you offer. Now is not the time to be cute unless you are also able to be clear about what it is that you do.

Here are some excellent pointers on how to choose a name for your company:

  • Aim for precision: people should be able to understand what you do just by looking at your name. Include the speciality area in which you will be concentrating your bookkeeping work in the name of your company.
  • Utilise a term that is already associated with a well-known brand. For instance, you may use the name of the city in where you are located, such as “Scranton Bookkeeping.”
  • Ask for the opinions of other people: Request the opinions of loved ones and close friends. Have some fun with it, and announce on your various social media platforms that you are searching for recommendations regarding the name of your company. Give the winner a reward for their victory.
  • Please put it to the test: See what the reactions are like from potential consumers if you try it out on them. Examine the names of your competitors to determine whether or not your brand name is distinctive enough, without being overly so.

Choose an Organisational Form for Your Company

The sole proprietorship, the partnership, the limited liability company (LLC), and the corporation are the four most frequent types of organisational structures for businesses.

Your liability in the event that the company is ever sued, your tax liability, and your capacity to acquire money are all going to be determined by the structure that you choose.

The majority of people who run a part-time bookkeeping firm on their own without any staff will operate as a sole proprietorship, which in most cases is quite acceptable.

However, if your company expands to the point that you need to hire people, you should think about converting to either an LLC or a corporation.

In addition to the potential repercussions on your taxes, your potential legal liability in the event of a lawsuit might vary greatly depending on the form of your organisation; thus, you should contact with an attorney.

4. Learn How to Run a Bookkeeping Company

You can now begin setting up operations for your firm, such as acquiring the appropriate insurance and opening a separate bank account for your company, now that you have your company organised.

It is essential to keep the financial aspects of your company distinct from the day-to-day activities of your company if you want to simplify your bookkeeping and reduce the risk that you may be held liable in the event of a legal dispute.

Use a Professional Answering Service

As a one-person organisation, you may discover that it is challenging to get back to clients quickly away, particularly during tax season.

However, if a potential consumer needs your services, sending them to voicemail instead of a live person could cost you business.

The solution is a bilingual answering service that links your clients to live customer service representatives around the clock through phone, text message, web chat, or email. You may get started right now with a free trial that lasts for thirty days.

The Importance of Opening a Business Bank Account

It is essential to maintain a financial wall between your personal funds and those of your company.

It is essential to start keeping track of expenses right away so that they can be deducted as part of the business’s initial costs, even though the majority of individuals believe they should wait until the company starts generating cash flow.

The opening of a checking account for a company is a simple process.

Create a Mailing Address for Your Business

In the event that you intend to rent office space, the location at which your workplace will function as your mailing address.

If you do plan to establish a home office, you will, however, need to get a company mailing address so that you are not required to use your personal address when conducting business.

This will keep your privacy intact while giving the impression that your company is more professional.

There are a few different courses of action to take.

To begin, you can visit the post office in your area and rent a post office box for yourself. You will be responsible for paying either $80 for the full year or $60 every six months. The cost will, of course, change depending on where you are located.

Renting a UPS mailbox is an additional choice that can be made. You can utilise the genuine street address that the UPS Store provides you with. Some retailers won’t deliver to P.O. boxes and instead demand a street address, so utilising a UPS mailbox can be beneficial in this regard.

Get Bookkeeper Insurance

If you are a bookkeeper, you ought to obtain liability protection in the event that you are sued by a client for an error on their accounts. Both the expense of settling a lawsuit and the costs that lawyers charge to defend against a lawsuit may be covered by insurance in some circumstances.

5. Purchase the Best Accounting Software

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when faced with the process of selecting the right software to handle all of the moving parts of your company.

To get you started, I have compiled a list of the different aspects of your company for which you will need to choose the appropriate software application from the options listed below.

Bookkeeping/Accounting Software

Since you are in the process of launching a bookkeeping business, I am certain that you have already given some consideration to, or made a decision on, the accounting software that you intend to use for your company.

You are probably aware that there are hundreds of different options available to pick from. On the other hand, I strongly suggest that you make use of QuickBooks Online, which was judged to be the most effective accounting software for small businesses overall.

Payroll Software or Provider

When you are ready to begin hiring staff members, you should be able to activate a payroll processing option inside the bookkeeping or accounting software that you use.

This option will typically be available to you. If you choose with QuickBooks as your accounting software, you will have access to several different payroll alternatives from which to pick.

Practice Management Software

Practice management software is one another tool that will make your life simpler and more efficient.

This programme can help you manage and keep track of the progress of work for clients, and in some instances, it can even give a portal via which you can view clients’ books.

Both QuickBooks and Xero offer practise management software that is connected with their respective accounting software products.

Electronic File Sharing/Management

If you use a tool that allows you to share documents, such as bank statements, copies of receipts, invoices, and accounting files, with your clients, you can do so regardless of where you are physically located in the world.

Dropbox is a widely used software for sharing files and folders. You are able to set up a dropbox specifically for each customer, after which they can begin inputting their information.

Sending data by email or using a USB stick isn’t nearly as safe as utilising this method instead. A user identification number and a password are required in order to access the material.

Since all of the files are kept in the cloud, there is no requirement for a backup to be performed.

6. Finance Your Bookkeeping Company

After finishing your business plan, you will have a decent sense of the expected costs involved in getting your firm off the ground.

If you work out of a home office rather than leasing office space, which is something we will talk more about in the following section, the costs associated with starting a bookkeeping firm can generally be kept to a minimum.

According to financial advisors, you should always have enough money saved up to cover your costs for at least six months.

Check out our guide to startup business funding for further information if your company is just getting off the ground and you don’t yet have any customers to report revenue from.

Get a Credit Card for Your Company

You should get a company credit card as soon as possible and get an account set up. It is probable that the first type of financing you will be eligible for is a business credit card. 

This type of credit card can be an excellent financial tool that can assist you with cash flow or essential expenses while you are just starting out with your company.

Keeping track of your business’s costs can also be made much simpler with the help of a credit card for companies. This will go a long way towards making filing taxes a breeze when it comes time for them.

A startup credit card is often used by bookkeeping businesses in their early stages to float expenses related to working capital, receive rewards, and manage staff.

7. Establish a Workspace in the Comfort of Your Own Home for Your Bookkeeping Business

Installing a home office when you’re just getting started is one way to reduce the expenses associated with running your business. Make an effort, if at all possible, to meet with your customers either in their place of business or digitally.

We do not recommend that you welcome clients to your home office unless you know them very well and have a separate space where you can work. In this case, you should not invite clients to your home office.

Don’t overlook the possibility of tax deductions for work done from home either. You can deduct a share of the costs of utilities and real estate taxes, as well as repairs and maintenance to the space that is utilised for business. And don’t forget about homeowners insurance!

If you can’t make a home office work for you, you might want to check into office sharing or virtual office space instead.

In most cases, this will include a physical office space, a mailing address, a local telephone number, a receptionist to take calls, and access to a conference room that can be rented by the hour.

Establishing a professional company number for your home office that is accompanied by a professional voicemail message is an additional essential step in the process of setting up your home office. I strongly suggest acquiring a virtual phone number that can have its calls forwarded to the mobile phone you already have.


You will be able to maintain the confidentiality of your personal telephone number by using a virtual phone number that comes with its own expert voicemail greeting.

8. Promote Your Bookkeeping Company

Mastering marketing is one of the most challenging skills for business professionals like accountants and bookkeepers to acquire.

However, if you work with a company that provides specialist marketing services, you can have a website designed specifically for your company, regardless of whether or not this is your primary source of income.

It will then proceed to develop your website, complete with your company’s logo, graphics, and content, after which one of their web administrators will contact you for a brief talk lasting no more than fifteen minutes.

CPA will place a primary emphasis on the design of a website that boosts revenue, strengthens customer loyalty, and promotes brand exposure. It even provides a free trial of sixty days so that you may determine whether or not it is effective for your company.

There are many different strategies to market your bookkeeping business, in addition to having a website, including the following:

  • Become a counsellor to businesses.
  • Try your hand at being an adjunct professor.
  • Obtain your certification in the use of accounting software.
  • Join websites that are dedicated to bookkeepers working independently.
  • Join the local Meetup group for accountants and bookkeepers in your area.
  • Establish a scheme for the referral of customers.
  • Create social media accounts that reflect your professionalism.
  • Identify a specific market segment, and then join the trade group serving that sector.

Some Ideas to Improve Your Bookkeeping Client Leads

1. Craigslist

Many people have found success in attracting customers by posting ads on Craigslist. Put up an ad on the website offering your services, and watch to see if there is any interest in what you have to offer.

You could even find people asking for someone to keep their books for them.

2. Provide Subcontracting Services

If you are a bookkeeper, you have the opportunity to collaborate with other bookkeepers that require assistance with some of their workload.

On the other hand, it is not unusual for one to reach a point in their line of work where they have 40 or 50 clients and are unable to handle the workload independently.

You can discover your first client by networking with other bookkeepers, letting them know that you are open to subcontracting, and connecting with them.

3. Upwork and Other Platforms

You are able to place bids on job advertisements on platforms such as Upwork and Freelancer, among others. Create an account and search for possible posts that are a good match for your area of expertise.

On freelance sites, finding clients may take as little as a few days’ time.

4. Facebook Business Page

Facebook is an excellent platform for building a community and generating buzz in relation to your company. You can start by creating a page for your business, then you can invite your friends and family to join, and finally you can start promoting the page.

You can increase your following by sharing posts about bookkeeping and making use of the platform itself.

5. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the social networking site that professionals use, and it provides a number of different opportunities to acquire customers:

  • Post in related groups
  • Introduce yourself to potential customers by sending them a message.
  • Make contact with other people.

You’ll be shocked to find out how many other people are looking for bookkeeping services if you look for possible clients on there and message them.

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