Thinking of starting up your own bookkeeping business? You’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re taking the leap from corporate into self-employment, or are an industry newbie, here are steps you should take to ensure your new venture is a success.
1. Build a business plan
This is the 101 of startup success. Creating a plan will help focus your mind and give you something to refer to once you’re up and running. It should include your vision, your target clients and competitors, what services you’ll offer, and how you’ll run your business day-to-day. It should also detail your marketing strategy, your projected finances, and more, so make sure to do your research.
2. Figure out a pricing strategy
Deciding what to charge for your services should be part of your business plan, but it can be tricky. If you don’t ask for enough, you’re underselling yourself and may struggle to turn a profit. By overcharging, you could price yourself out of the market. To get it right, the first decision should be between an hourly or project-based fee.
Most bookkeepers choose the former. Looking at industry benchmarks can help you determine appropriate rates. However, make sure to take your knowledge, qualifications, and experience into account. You also need to consider if your target clients’ budgets are in line with your business strategy. For example, are you offering a premium or economy level service?
3. Register your business name
To operate as a sole trader in Australia, you must apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN) for tax purposes and register a business name. You can do both from the Australian Government Business registration page. Your business name is important, as it identifies you to clients and also communicates a bit about your business. Struggling to come up with one? The best advice is to keep it simple but meaningful, for example, North Shore Bookkeeping. Before you register it, check the domain name and email tags are available.
4. Create your brand identity
When you’re a bookkeeper, the concept of branding may be a little vague. While the first thing that probably comes to mind is a logo, creating your brand identity involves much more than this. It’s about communicating who you are and what you stand for, consistently. This can be done visually through your tone of voice, colours, fonts, and the design templates you use, for instance, for invoices and letterheads and client interactions. A professional graphic designer can help you visualise your ideas.
5. Invest in the right systems
Technology can help make your bookkeeping business smarter and more efficient. So, it’s important you have the right systems in place. Thanks to online bookkeeping software, such as QuickBooks Online Accountant, you can manage your admin tasks such as invoicing, client books, and even client relationships with ease – leaving you free to tally the figures. Good Wi-Fi and your own business landline, mobile, and video call accounts are also crucial.
6. Start marketing yourself
Whether you’re starting out with a small base of clients, or with no-one on the books, marketing your bookkeeping business should be a top priority. The best place to begin is online. First, create an easy-to-use and engaging website. Next, set up Facebook and LinkedIn pages – and be active on them. Try pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to build awareness and get people to your site. Also, make sure you’re listed in relevant bookkeeping directories.