How to Become a Bookkeeper from Home in 6 Simple Steps

In recent times, bookkeeping has become a popular job for those looking to work from home. Many businesses have gone virtual and need bookkeepers to help with their records. It’s no wonder people are flocking to the internet to learn how to become a bookkeeper.

The beauty of becoming a bookkeeper is that you have control of how much you work and who you work with, and you can design your life around the projects you take on. Bookkeeping is essential for many businesses so there are many opportunities out there.

If you are someone who seeks freedom from a 9-5 job and can take on the responsibility of handling important records from clients, bookkeeping may just be the answer. Use this guide to understand the bookkeeping role, how much you can potentially earn, and what the basic bookkeeping skills are.

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What Is Bookkeeping and How Much Does It Pay?

Bookkeepers are responsible for continuously recording financial information for clients such as expense reports, invoices, income logging, budgets, and more. The primary method of tracking involves creating documents that easily show clients where their funds come from, where the money is spent, and how much they are actually making each month. These reports are essential to assisting businesses in growing and succeeding.

The amount of money you earn as a bookkeeper depends on your rates, how much experience you have, and finding the right clients. Free workshops like the one offered by Ben with Bookkeepers.com show you just how to get your virtual bookkeeping business started. Take the workshop to start learning how much bookkeepers earn.

Does Bookkeeping Require Certification?

Depending on the company you work with or the clients you attract, certification is not typically required. However, certifications do help show you as an expert when applying for work from home finance jobs or bidding for clients. Certification can be obtained by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers or the National Association of Certified Bookkeepers.

Taking courses from other online programs can further your education even more. Certification programs teach the skills a bookkeeper needs while other courses, like Ben’s course from Bookkeepers.com, show you how to start, grow, and successfully build your bookkeeping business.

Other Bookkeeping Requirements and Qualifications

If you’re someone who is good with numbers, has great attention to detail, and can meet deadlines, bookkeeping is a fitting opportunity. Finances are important to keep straight and clients will rely on you for accuracy. Becoming a detail-oriented bookkeeper will help you stand out from others in your field.

Some companies may look for a bachelor’s degree in accounting before deciding to hire a potential bookkeeper. Other clients may look for how much experience a bookkeeper has and if there are any references from past clients. It truly depends on the business. Ensure you review the requirements before applying to fill a bookkeeping position.

Bookkeeper Salary or Pay Expectations

As with any job, your salary will be based on what you bring to the table. This will include experience, education, and performance. 

According to Glassdoor, the average base pay for a bookkeeper is roughly $46,000 per year. As you gain more experience, this can easily increase with time. Some bookkeepers can even make this base salary working part-time.

This is a great starting point to understand how much a bookkeeper makes. However, keep in mind this can vary based on where you live, the clients you serve, and the aforementioned factors.

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How to Become a Bookkeeper

Man working as a bookkeeper

Figuring out how to get started is the hardest part. Learn how to become a bookkeeper with these six simple steps and take the guesswork out of it.

1: Choose Your Target Client

You get to decide who you want to work with and who you don’t. That’s one of the best parts of becoming a bookkeeper from home. Give it some thought as to who your ideal client is.

While there are many opportunities to be a bookkeeper, it is beneficial to stick within a market that has similar clients. This will help increase your value within that market and grow your authority in that community.

You might think that numbers are just numbers no matter who they represent. However, it’s important to understand how your market of choice does business so that you can best serve them as a bookkeeper.

Related: How to Start a Virtual Assistant Business with No Experience

2: Research and Practice

It’s important to research current practices, filing methods, and tools before diving into a bookkeeping position. One of the best ways to learn is by creating a system and putting it into practice until the kinks are ironed out.

Take free workshops or paid courses to improve your skills. Practice bookkeeping on your own business so that you can develop a system that works and can be used time and time again with other clients.

3: Familiarize Yourself With Bookkeeping Tools

There is a variety of programs available to help bookkeepers with their daily tasks. Understand the popular tasks businesses tend to need completed and familiarize yourself with them.

  • QuickBooks– accounting software that can be helpful to small- and medium-sized businesses. The available packages range in price, including a free option. Understand what your clients will need so that you can recommend the right package to them.
  • PayPal for Business– a platform that can be used to send invoices, accept payments, and track spending. While there is no fee to join, there is a fee associated to accept payments. Understand the benefits and the platform better to discern if this is the right option.
  • Wave– a great option for small businesses, freelancers, and contractors. It is free to use many of its features. However, understand the fee structure for additional services that some clients might need.

4: Build a Portfolio

The best way to get clients is by having a portfolio from past experiences as a bookkeeper. Start out bookkeeping for friends and family in exchange for testimonials. You can also offer your services at highly discounted rates to clients so that you can build your resume and use them as future references.

Make a website for your portfolio to easily send to potential clients. This will help give them a taste of what you can offer them as well.

5: Set Your Prices

It can be so freeing to set your own prices for packages you offer to clients. You are in control of the money you make. Compare rates to other bookkeepers to ensure you are not pricing your services too low.

Based on your experience, your prices can fluctuate. However, you are ultimately in control of them.

Consider how long it would take you to complete a project and break that into hours per day. Then consider how much you want to be paid per hour. This can be a simple way to start until you get more experience. You can always increase your prices down the road.

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6: Start Cold Pitching or Applying to Jobs

Becoming a bookkeeper doesn’t mean clients will be knocking on your virtual door each day asking for your services. There will be a need to cold pitch businesses or apply to positions online. This can make it difficult to know where to start.

Consider what market you want to serve when applying or cold pitching. Once you answer that question, begin your research into those companies and cold pitch your services to them.

Questions New Bookkeepers are Asking

Bookkeeping course displayed on a laptop

Take a look at some popular questions new bookkeepers are asking before deciding if this is the job for you.

Is bookkeeping a dying profession?

Even with all the updated technology and software programs out there specific to helping companies with bookkeeping, companies still need someone to enter the information into these programs. Bookkeepers save the company time, which allows it to focus on other revenue-generating areas. It is not a dying profession, but one that is constantly advancing.

How long does it take to become a bookkeeper?

Get started as a bookkeeper as quickly as today. If you have the skills now, there is no point in waiting around to start a bookkeeping business. Follow the steps outlined in this guide to get your business going quicker. For potentially faster success in starting your business, join this free workshop for bookkeepers.

Can I teach myself bookkeeping?

Yes, there are many ways you can teach yourself bookkeeping. Use platforms like YouTube to watch videos from bookkeeping professionals. Join Facebook groups specific to bookkeepers to learn from others in your new field. You can also invest in an online course to boost your learning.

The most important thing is to treat your learning process as a business expense and keep the momentum going as you begin your new career.

Is it financially worth it to become a bookkeeper?

Bookkeeping is worth it if you have the desire, discipline, and knowledge to successfully complete your clients’ projects. There is no shortage of opportunities to land bookkeeping jobs so there is potential for you every day. You must be determined to build a small business into a full-time income stream.

Are bookkeeping courses worth it?

As humans, we learn something new every day. That being said, prioritize learning from someone else who is a successful bookkeeper. Learning from their mistakes can also speed up your success.

Take courses from reputable sites and learn things about bookkeeping you didn’t know existed. An investment in knowledge is never a bad idea.

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Who Should Become a Bookkeeper?

If you’re good with numbers and data, then learning to become a bookkeeper from home can be perfect for you. Spend your days organizing the numbers, creating data for clients, and solving problems for them.

As a bookkeeper, you can start out using this job as a side hustle to get your feet wet or turn it into a full-time business. The level of success you attain depends on your work ethic and dedication. With all the necessary tools, skills, and knowledge of this profession, there is nothing holding you back.

No matter your reason for choosing a career in bookkeeping, start with this free workshop to see if it is right for you. Remember, your chance of being hired by clients is greater the more dedicated, educated, and driven you are.

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