If you are looking to start a side hustle and numbers are your thing, then I am here to give you all the details you need on how to become a virtual bookkeeper.
Read on for a crash course on how to become a virtual bookeeper with no experience!
Small businesses (like myself, this blog is run as a business believe it or not! Here is how I make money blogging) usually run on limited staff and resources.
More often than not, it is the business owners themselves who maintain the records of business and financial transactions.
While we busy ourselves with dealing with all other aspects of our business, sometimes we forget to record transactions. This leads to a pile-up of work that needs to get done but also causes stress.
It is in situations like this where the services of a bookkeeper come in handy. If you think this is something you want to do, you can easily learn how to become a virtual bookkeeper even if you have never done it before.
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How To Become A Virtual Bookkeeper: A Step-By-Step Guide
If you’re ready to take this on, here is our in-depth guide on how to learn to be a bookkeeper:
Step 1: Back to Basics
Basic bookkeeping knowledge will include:
- Inserting details of financial transactions in a debit and credit sheet
- Issuing invoices
- Bill payments
- Preparing monthly financial statements
- Preparing a summary of transactions
You can equip yourself with these skills by learning from experience and figuring things out through trial and error.
Alternatively, there are plenty of courses online that you can take.
This will save you time (and probably plenty of tears of frustration) as there will be someone there to guide you through your journey into the world of bookkeeping.
Bookkeeper Launch is a mega bookkeeping course from Bookeepers.com.
Not only do they give you in-depth details on how to start your own bookkeeping business, but they also offer multiple courses on how to promote and market your business as well.
They have something for you, no matter what stage of your business you are in. They have detailed guides whether you are starting, growing, or scaling.
While most of their courses need to be paid for, they have an extremely popular free course run by Ben Robinson, the founder of Bookkeepers.com. (If it is FREE, it’s for me!)
This free course gives you all the basic knowledge you need to become the boss of your own bookkeeping business.
With their tagline being “We are on a mission to build an army of 25,000 21st Century Bookkeeping Pros by 2025”, you can see how committed they are to giving you all the tools you need and to teaching you how to become a bookkeeper.
This is a free online course that gives you all the basic knowledge you need on how to be a virtual bookkeeper.
The content gets straight to the point and is easy to understand. You can choose the topic you want to learn more about and dive right in.
They also have quizzes where you can immediately put into practice what you have learned and gain the confidence you need.
Bonus: There are also Q & A sessions as well as videos of the seminars that you can watch if that is your preferred learning method.
Level Up: Certified Bookkeeping Courses
While you most certainly do not need to be certified to be a legitimate bookkeeper, obtaining a certificate will allow you to increase your hourly rate and take in more high-level clients, such as companies and international businesses.
How to Become a Certified Bookkeeper
The American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) and the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB) currently award certificates to all those who meet the requirements and pass their examinations.
You can register, take their courses, and do your exams online.
Benefits of being a certified bookkeeper:
- You will stand out from other virtual bookkeepers
- You can charge higher rates
- You can attract a diverse range of clients, thus increasing your level of experience
NOTE- You do not need to be certified to work as a virtual bookkeeper. You can try the free bookkeeping class, see if it’s for you, and only invest money later on. Don’t spend all your precious hard-earned money at once!
Step 2: Register Your Bookkeeping Business
While this is not necessary to start a virtual bookkeeping business, it does add the element of legitimacy to your business. This added legitimacy will make your clients more comfortable in trusting you with their financial records and transactions.
You can register your business as a sole proprietor or a private company, depending on how you prefer your tax liabilities to be structured.
Most importantly, you must have a mechanism in place to ensure that your client’s financial data are protected and that they remain private and confidential.
Most countries have strict privacy laws on personal, financial, and sensitive data. If you can show your clients that you are aware of this and that you take their privacy seriously, this is an added value that you can give to them.
Step 3: Let’s Tell The World!
Once you’ve equipped yourself with everything you need on starting a virtual bookkeeping business, you need to make it known to everyone that you’re in business and raring to go.
You can do this by:
- Updating your LinkedIn Profile
- Telling your friends on Facebook and Instagram
- Writing brief bookkeeping articles with useful tips and posting them on your social media pages to create awareness about your skills and business
- Being on the lookout for small businesses. You can write to them to see if they require bookkeeping services
- Setting up a website for your virtual bookkeeping business to inform people of the kind of services you provide
To Niche or Not to Niche?
In starting your virtual bookkeeping business, you may be wondering whether you should provide your services to a particular type of business or industry.
At the early stages of your virtual bookkeeping business, it is probably not wise to niche down just yet. At this point, you want to get clients and work so that you can start earning a substantial income from home.
Providing virtual bookkeeping services for a particular type of business will certainly make your job easier. This is because they are likely to have the same types of expenses and financial recording requirements.
However, the experience you gain in providing virtual bookkeeping services for a diverse range of businesses will allow you to charge higher rates for your services, and expose you to how different businesses and industries operate.
Remember, knowledge and experience are priceless assets that will take you a long way in your virtual bookkeeping business!
What Is A Virtual Bookkeeper?
As a bookkeeper, you can offer small business owners solutions to their record-keeping problems.
As a virtual bookkeeper, you can provide these solutions remotely and have as many clients as you want or need, from the comfort of your home.
A virtual bookkeeper is essentially someone who tracks, records, and manages the business expenses of small to medium enterprises.
What Services Does A Bookkeeper Provide?
In providing transaction recording solutions, among other things, a bookkeeper usually maintains records of the following:
- Money that came in for the day
- Expenses incurred for the day
- Any claims made by staff
- Bills that need to be paid
Additionally, a bookkeeper is also responsible for:
- Drawing up salary slips and ensuring salary payments are made
- Organizing receipts, payment vouchers, and other transaction information
- Coming up with a system or template that accurately reflects all of the above
What Is The Difference Between A Bookkeeper and An Accountant?
A bookkeeper is not an accountant! In case you were wondering, there are some core differences between the roles played by a bookkeeper and an accountant in businesses. A certified public accountant is not the same as a certified bookkeeper.
Essentially, a bookkeeper is responsible for the day-to-day financial transactions of a business and an accountant comes into the picture for more official purposes such as for tax submissions or to draw up certified accountants’ reports.
Here’s a quick summary:
|Records financial transactions||Evaluates and examines financial transactions|
|Organizes transactions||Organizes financial information for tax purposes|
|Ensures that records are accurate||Ensure accounts comply with the applicable laws|
|Does not need to be professionally trained and/or certified||Must be certified and recognized by relevant professional bodies|
How Much Can A Virtual Bookkeeper Earn?
According to ZipRecruiter, as of September 2020, a virtual bookkeeper is capable of earning an average of $38,193 a year.
As a virtual bookkeeper with little to no experience, you can charge $60 per hour and slowly increase your rate as you gain more clients, experience, and skills to up to $100 per hour.
A quick look on Upwork indicates these rates are entirely possible!
Starting A Virtual Bookkeeping Business
If all this sounds a little intimidating, don’t worry. There are many resources out there to help you get started on your journey towards working as a bookkeeper from home.
There is a common misconception that you need to be a math genius to be a bookkeeper. This could not be further from the truth.
You need to have basic maths skills, yes. But you most certainly do not need to have NASA scientist levels of arithmetic knowledge to become a virtual bookkeeper.
Skills That You Need To Be A Virtual Bookkeeper
If you have the following skills, you are well on your way to starting a virtual bookkeeping business:
- Highly organized
If you’re constantly drawing up to-do lists and take satisfaction in ticking them off when they’re done, then you’re highly organized!
- Pay close attention to details
Bookkeeping is a numbers game. So there is no room for error as a single wrong number can throw off all the work that you’ve already done, and make things difficult for your client.
- Familiar with Excel sheets or similar programs and/or similar accounting or bookkeeping software
Your efficiency and ability to navigate around these programs will enable you to work faster and take on more clients.
What Are The Benefits Of Working As A Virtual Bookkeeper?
Starting a virtual bookkeeping business may not be the easiest thing to do at the beginning. However, like most things, once you take the time to set it up and have all your systems in place, it becomes rewarding very quickly.
Some of the biggest pros include:
- Quick and easy business start-up
- Working from the comfort of your home, or wherever you feel like working from
- Flexible schedules so that you can have time for your family and children (human, fur, and plant babies included!)
- You decide which clients to take on and how much work you want to do
- You can get experience quickly and increase your rates accordingly
Where To Look For Virtual Bookkeeping Jobs
There are plenty of ways how to become a remote bookkeeper from wherever you are.
Many freelance websites work as a platform for business owners to post their bookkeeping needs. You can submit your proposals on these platforms and you can also make it known that you provide remote bookkeeping services.
Some of the most popular platforms to look for virtual bookkeeping jobs include:
- Facebook groups – Join bookkeeping groups. You get to see available jobs, and as a bonus, you also get to learn how others in the same industry as you conduct their business and deal with clients.
Tips to Succeed As A Bookkeeper
If you are still thinking about whether to start a virtual bookkeeping business, you may also be worried about:
- the competition out there in the world of virtual bookkeepers
- whether you can get enough work to sustain your lifestyle, pay your bills, and save
- whether being a virtual bookkeeper will yield you a steady income in the long run
Here are some quick tips on how you can set yourself apart and get a steady flow of work:
- Make an excellent first impression
Ensure that you provide your clients with the best virtual bookkeeping services and your work will start to speak for itself. You have one shot to impress a client, make it good!
Think about how you can impress them and set yourself apart from everyone else.
- Let your clients speak
If you’re able to, get your clients to review your services or provide testimonials of their experience with you. You can add these to your website, your social media pages, and your LinkedIn profile.
- Remember that relationships are everything
Build a relationship with your existing clients. There is no better way to increase your clientele than through recommendations from clients who have already used your virtual bookkeeping services.
How can you provide an added personal touch to make your clients smile? I always send them a message on their birthday and comment on any projects I am working on for them.
As you can see, there is plenty of resources, guidance, and courses online that will teach you how to become a virtual bookkeeper.
While it may take some time and effort at first, it is worth the investment in yourself to give you the freedom and flexibility you need while being able to earn a full-time income from wherever it is you choose to work.
How Do I Become A Virtual Bookkeeper With No Experience?
Here are the steps on how to become a virtual bookkeeper with no experience even if you are wondering if it is possible to be a virtual bookkeeper without any bookkeeping experience or any accounting experience.
Among the things to bear in mind, is that with virtual bookkeeping, you are in control over who you deal with – the clients, the jobs, the arrangements with the employer.
You decide which ones you can best serve.
Keep in mind that you must be self-driven, organized, and have excellent time management skills. To thrive in your virtual bookkeeping career, you must possess and grasp these crucial characteristics.
Okay, enough fluff, let’s get to the steps.
1. Step 1: Prioritize Investing In Your Working Tools
The two essential tools in remote bookkeeping jobs are laptops and a steady internet connection.
It goes without saying that it is highly likely that you will be glued to your laptop with initial bookkeeping training, when you are trying to find remote bookkeeping jobs, and when you are ready to launch your own virtual bookkeeping business.
When you are trying to build your portfolio to attract your won clients, you will be relying heavily on your laptop and a good and stable internet connection.
So, pay attention to these two tools, make some changes if necessary, and especially if you are serious about becoming a remote bookkeeper.
2. Step 2: Pick up Basic Bookkeeping Training
Can I teach myself bookkeeping?
Yes! Bookkeeping can be self-taught thanks to the sea of online courses available for you to choose from. Provided that you dedicate certain hours of a day to elevate your bookkeeping experience.
If you want to be a full-time remote bookkeeper, you will need to invest your time to learn about the business.
Here are some courses that can help you increase the bookkeeping skills that you might find useful:
3. Step 3: Learn Accounting Software
Clients will value you considerably more if you know how to use accounting software. Software technologies simplify online bookkeeping, allowing you to work more effectively.
Accounting software may also save time because of features like automation, and it provides a secure location for the owner to store crucial papers and receipts that can be accessed at any time.
If accounting isn’t your strong suit, or if it is and you want to save time, these are some factors to consider when choosing a bookkeeping software:
- Bookkeeping features of the software
- Mobile operations
- Storage facility
You should think about both your clients’ and your own financial management when choosing an online accounting package. Keep in mind that you’ll be using it to manage your personal funds as well.
Software and programs are seldom given away for free, it’s up to you to choose one that will provide you the most bang for your buck.
Can the software help you find your own clients? Can it help you start your own business? Will it help you on your way to being an experienced bookkeeper?
Keep these questions in mind as well, as software can be one of the essential bookkeeping tools to have. Here is some accounting software to try out:
4. Step 4: Get Started On Your Bookkeeping Business
Now that you have the foundation laid, you can start working towards a thriving bookkeeping business.
One option is to concentrate on a certain specialty that you can expand naturally. Almost every firm needs the service of virtual bookkeepers.
They may not be actively seeking one, but they will require virtual bookkeepers to ensure that the business’s daily financial health is in check.
Inform your family and loved ones of your new virtual bookkeeping job, and make use of the connections you currently have. Solicit recommendations from others so that you may get clients and expand your network.
You might start by interacting with individuals on a LinkedIn, like-minded freelance bookkeeper or a professional bookkeeper that could include you in their circle.
Social selling is an efficient technique to advertise your services. As you would with your website, should you decide to create one, make sure to maintain your profile with relevant and quality material.
5. Step 5: Negotiate A Sensible Rate
You can make more when you do online bookkeeping than the average full-time bookkeeper. Providing the value your clients require is the key to charging a better charge.
Freelancing is great for anyone who wants to make money online. The entrance hurdles are minimal and you can start making money quicker than a full-time job.
However, as a business model, freelancing can be a little challenging.
Freelancers operate from their own point of view when it comes to earning with online bookkeeping when they should be looking from the client’s perspective.
As a result, take the time to examine both your client’s and the project’s nature. The importance of the job to the client influences the rate you may charge more than anything else.
Ask yourself these questions when negotiating the rate with bookkeeping jobs:
- What are the benefits of your work to the client?
- What impact will it have on their business?
Questions as such will decide how much you make when you decide to become a bookkeeper.
Always keep in mind the value you can offer your client.
f your service can keep their financial statements and financial records in order, and you have eased their burden as a whole when it comes to bookkeeping, chances are that you can bargain higher rate increases.
6. Step 6: You Are Your Biggest Asset
As cliche as it sounds, you are your biggest investment. In order to excel in anything, you have to put in the time and effort to do so.
Educate yourself on all things necessary to become a great bookkeeper such as financial reports, reconciling bank statements, processing payroll, personal finance, preparing tax statements, so on and so forth.
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There you have it! All essential tips to help you once you decide to become a bookkeeper.
Niching down is one of the keys to success as an online bookkeeper. Even if you end up being one of the many freelance bookkeepers, you can stand out because of your niche.
All you have to do is to choose a particular niche and stay with it.
In this situation, perhaps you’d prefer to work as an entry level bookkeeper for a bakery. Perhaps you would like to work with attorneys as a virtual accountant. You can always broaden your specialization, but it’s a good idea to start with a single customer and grow naturally.
Work hard once you have decided to become a bookkeeper and give your best in all the bookkeeping jobs you secure, and success will soon be yours.