In the United States (and many other countries), there are literally thousands of new businesses start-ups each and every month. There is currently a great opportunity for bookkeepers and accountants who are willing to provide these businesses with the services they require.
This opportunity will suit any of the following: Bookkeepers currently working but not getting job satisfaction, wishing to avoid the commute, looking for more control over their working lives and hours or simply wishing to fulfil their dreams. You get to choose your work hours, the clients to work with and it gives you time for other important things like time with your family. This type of work is both more rewarding and more satisfying than the daily commute and grind of working for somebody else. You also get to choose which clients to work with!
There are fairly few requirements of starting small business bookkeeping services and anybody with good attention to details, is good with numbers and willing to learn bookkeeping software can open a bookkeeping service. The law requires every business to do accounting on a monthly basis and so skilled small business bookkeepers are always in demand.
To begin your own business providing bookkeeping services, you will require a small office and the usual trappings, such as a computer, telephone stationery etc. The type of business you wish to operate needs to be determined. It is probably best to begin as a sole proprietor but you should seek the necessary advice and information before deciding. Other business types include corporation, cooperative and non-profit. Choose a business name to suite your work, apply for a business license and do the business name and type registration. You will need a copy of software you will be using for your bookkeeping business. Peachtree, Sage, Quicken and quickbooks all have good offerings with Fusion accounting offering a good online service which is very suitable for this type of work due to it’s portability.
Getting clients is the next stage and this may not be as difficult as you may think. Networking is a very worthwhile activity, but choose your groups wisely. Test a few in your area and stick with the ones showing most potential. Speak with local accountants who may not be interested in this level of work and so be able to pass clients on to you. Keep good track of your business expenses and pay your taxes when they are due.
As you become familiar with different business accounting needs, you will become more efficient in your work, which will also give you more freedom with your time. Take very seriously the risk in your business of data loss as this could be catastrophic. Create regular backups of your electronic files and store these securely so that is disaster does occur, it is easily rectified. Never omit to take your backup as this could save you countless hours and drudgery redoing lost work. You provide the client with orderly reports of all invoices, checks, tickets, statements and any additional services they may require such as tax computation totals. This will also help when it comes to billing the client; operator time etc and hourly charges are $20 average.
Networking is an important part of a home or small office bookkeeping service because that is where you will find potential clients. Attend as many local meetings and business events as you can where your target clients may be present. Talk to them and distribute cards, but be careful of hard-selling here.
Your future clients need to be able to find you online too, so ensure a good presence there as it is money well spent. Do not go for flashy websites, but ones that are optimised for the search engines so that you will be found. Another good tip is to try and name your business with the letter “A” as it’s first letter. This will help you be nearer the top of business listings and in telephone directories. If possible, obtain a phone number for your business which is memorable. And don’t underestimate the power of catchy slogans, but keep them professional sounding too.
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