Did you know Entrepreneur named bookkeeping as one of the most profitable online small businesses? The low overhead and next-to-nothing startup costs combined with the $80+ per hour rate help it land this coveted title.
And that’s why, if you’re in the marketing for a new online career, I highly recommend starting a virtual bookkeeping business.
Even if you have absolutely zero professional bookkeeping experience, you can get started with this in-demand, high-paying, remote-friendly career path. Here’s how.
What Does A Bookkeeper Do, Anyway?
Many people confuse a bookkeeper with an accountant. In reality, they are two very completely different careers. For starters, accountants often require a degree or even certification. Bookkeepers, on the other hand, don’t require formal education.
Education aside, the roles of a bookkeeper and accountant are also quite different.
What An Accountant Does
You may use an accountant to do your taxes each year, and for good reason: Accountants figure out taxes owed and prepare tax returns. But they also help individuals and businesses:
- Organize financial records
- Comply with state and federal laws
- Examine financial statements
- Evaluate records and suggest ways to save money
Often, accountants audits financial statements, but aren’t responsible for day-to-day finances. That is, they don’t pay bills or deal with accounts payable or accounts receivable.
What A Bookkeeper Does
Unlike accountants, bookkeepers often take charge of a business’s daily financial health. They may be responsible for paying bills or collecting payments on invoices. Other responsibilities of bookkeepers include:
- Updating financial records
- Creating financial reports
- Checking records for accuracy
- Posting financial records in computer programs
- Putting debits and credits to appropriate accounts
A bookkeeper may also receive receipts, reimburse company employees for work-related expenses, and take charge of accounts receivable.
Generally, a bookkeeper is responsible for keeping track of all debits and credits — money going in and money going out on a daly basis.
How Much Can I Earn?
For an entry-level bookkeeper, hourly rates hover at about $18.50 an hour. This comes out to nearly $40,000 a year. Keep in mind, this is for bookkeepers who work in the accounting department of a company or corporation.
Bookkeepers who strike out on their own can often earn three times that rate (or more). Mostly because freelancers, like virtual bookkeepers, can set their own rates. And, because these bookkeepers often work for multiple clients, their combined hourly rate is much greater than the set pay of an employee position.
Can I Really Become A Bookkeeper Without A Degree?
You sure can! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), entry-level bookkeepers don’t have a degree. Instead, candidates rely on a combination of existing skills and on-the-job training to be successful in the workplace.
What About Previous Professional Experience?
Again, because a bookkeeper does not advise organizations on financial records, no previous experience is required. Many bookkeepers gain experience on the job while working in accounts receivable, accounts payable, or in an administrative-type role.
Where Can I Find Remote Bookkeeping Jobs?
Almost every business — large and small — benefits from the services of a bookkeeper. While there aren’t specific companies that routinely hire bookkeeping candidates, almost any remote-friendly company will, at some point, have the need for a bookkeeper.
You can even subscribe to FlexJobs if you’re worried about scams. FlexJobs individually screens every single listing on their site and guarantees they are 100% legit. It does cost a monthly fee, but it may be worth the cost for peace of mind 🙂
Freelancing as a Virtual Bookkeeper
Don’t forget to sign up for popular freelance marketplace sites. Often, you can find a variety of bookkeeping jobs posted across the different platforms. These can range from temporary gigs to long-term projects.
The key to success as a new freelancer is to pick a niche and stick with it. In this case, maybe you’d like to become a bookkeeper who helps florists. Or maybe you’d like to work as a virtual bookkeeper for lawyers. You can always expand your niche, but in the beginning it’s a good idea to focus on a particular client and grow organically.
Once you have a niche in mind, it’s time to set up a freelance service site that sells your bookkeeping services for you. This is actually really easy to do (I promise!). And all starts with a well-branded domain name. For example, yourname.com or yournamebookkeeping.com
Curious if you can turn your name into a website? Check to see if it’s available by typing it in the box below:
Getting your own freelance bookkeeping website set up is an important step. But what comes next is even more important: getting clients!
A great place to start learning the basics of securing clients is by reading (and re-reading) the book: How To Open Your Own In-Home Bookkeeping Service.
It’s packed with a lot of insight and helpful tips for gaining traction as a home-based bookkeeper!
Help! I Want To Start A Virtual Bookkeeping Business But Need Step By Step Guidance
No problem. I too like a little hand holding when it comes to going down a new path. And there’s nothing wrong with that!
If you’d like to build a solid foundation that leads to a thriving bookkeeping business, I highly recommend Bookkeeper Business Launch.
Ben Robinson, the mastermind behind this online course, breaks down the business behind bookkeeping step by step.
He’ll also give you the tools needed to start from scratch and grow to a thriving, independent bookkeeper regardless of your previous experience.
But before you go all in and sign up, be sure to take this free 3-part training series. In it, you’ll learn what a bookkeeper does, why it may be a good fit for you, and whether or not you’ve got what it takes to get started.
P.S. This post contains affiliate links. Learn how I use them by reading my disclosure statement.