The numbers add up to start your bookkeeping firm - Firm of the Future

5 min read
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Over the years, the word “bookkeeper” has gotten a bad rap. People often hear the word and think of a nerdy number cruncher, spending their day with a calculator. 

However, I am proud to be a bookkeeper extraordinaire. As the pandemic occurred, I was fortunate enough not to experience anything different in my work life as an at home bookkeeper.

When I first started in this industry, I worked for others, but quickly learned that this was not for me. Then, I started my dream of owning my own business. I turned to teaching myself the online accounting software, QuickBooks, along with their online training, and then began networking with others. My business began to grow and so did my dreams.

My big dream was to have my husband join our business full-time and live in Disney World. In 2017, this is exactly what happened after many years of hard work, and we now have a lifestyle business, where we help clients across the country, while also getting to play at the parks.

I know running your own business is not for everyone, but here are some of the reasons why you may want to reconsider and pursue your own dreams.

You can work from anywhere. Beach money is a real phenomenon. It may not be ideal (and a little sandy) to work from the beach, but you really can work from anywhere that has internet access. This means you get to be in charge of where you log in. Originally from Chicago, I wanted to make sure the Florida experiment would work before making it permanent. I was a snowbird for two winters to test it out. My clients never even knew I was working from sunny Florida in February, rather than in two feet of Midwest snow.

You get to make the rules. The best part of running your own firm is that you get to make the rules. You get to decide who you work with and what you do for them.

It is recommended to become clear on the type of clients you want, perhaps a specific industry, but, more importantly, the type of person. Are there specific characteristics that you want to work with or avoid? It’s best to determine this before you start taking sales calls, so that you can decide quickly if it makes sense to continue the sales conversation. 

When bookkeepers are starting out, they tend to overlook this and take on any client that calls simply because they will pay. This makes sense, but what you end up with are a bunch of clients that drain your energy. If you’re selective from the beginning as to the type of client you want to work with, then you can build a practice that you love, with clients you enjoy helping.

You also get to make the rules with the services you want to offer. You get to pick and choose what you prefer doing, and what you want to delegate. To get started, decide what core set of services you want to offer. You can always add to them as you grow or gain more experience.

By knowing what services you offer, it will be much easier to let others know specifically what you do. Will you be offering monthly bookkeeping, or only training and consulting? Will you be offering payroll? If you dislike payroll, then you would want to have options available that the client can use instead. The cool part is that it’s your business, so you’re in charge.

Make your own schedule. The flexibility of running your own business on your schedule is a definite plus. You get to determine when and how often you want to work. It works well for those who have other obligations, or for those that work better on an unusual schedule. Personally, I am not a morning person and work much better later in the day. I am able to schedule calls and appointments that fit my lifestyle.

Your earning potential is up to you. When running a practice, you’re in charge of deciding how many clients you want to take on and how to price them. This allows you to reach whatever income levels you want. If you’re looking to run a lifestyle business, then you start with determining the amount of revenue you need, and can easily calculate the number of clients you would have to obtain. If you want to have a legacy business with lots of clients and larger earning potential, that takes more work, but is also accessible.

How to start a bookkeeping business

The benefits of running your own bookkeeping firm are that you can work from anywhere, work with clients you enjoy on your own schedule, and make the amount of money you want. There are a lot of decisions, but in the long run, you can create an enjoyable and rewarding business.

Then, when people ask what you do, you can say, “I am a bookkeeper old word, new definition.”

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Feel you’re better informed about starting your bookkeeping company? The QuickBooks blog covers a wide range of business-related topics – it’s all part of our mission to help small businesses grow.


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