7 Steps to Consider When Starting a Bookkeeping Business

accounting accounting firm growth bookkeeping bookkeeping business Sep 05, 2023
Bookkeeping Business

Every successful company has one thing in common, no matter how big or small they are or what they do - accurate, reliable bookkeeping. While it might not be the flashiest or most fun part of running a business, it's critical for leaders to understand their financial situation, spot trends, and make informed decisions for future growth. Still, many organizations don't have the skills, willingness, or umph to do it themselves.

Not only does bookkeeping help with business decision-making, but it’s the law that EVERY business must keep accurate and timely bookkeeping records. There are over 33 million small businesses in the US, with 543,000 new businesses taking off each month! That is a lot of opportunities and demand for bookkeepers!

Take a look below for some of what you need to know about starting your number-crunching company. 

Consider These Steps When Starting a Bookkeeping Business

Don't get overwhelmed by what’s standing between you and your thriving bookkeeping business. When broken down step-by-step, it’s a more manageable process.

1. Reflect on Your Skills and Qualifications

Not everyone has what it takes to be a bookkeeper, but, believe it or not, there are no degrees or certifications required to operate a bookkeeping business.

Whether you have a college degree, a license, a certification, or none of the above, there is still the opportunity to start your own bookkeeping business.

With that said, it’s never a bad idea to get a certification. They’ll help build credibility with potential clients and up-level your skill set by learning specialized knowledge and advanced skills. This will allow you to provide greater value so you can attract better and higher-paying clients.

Software skills and a good understanding of simple math (i.e. problem-solving, adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing) will come in handy, but personality traits like attention to detail, problem-solving, effective communication, and a strong desire to help people will set you apart. 

But have no fear if communicating financial concepts to clients isn’t a strong suit, I (Nicole Ossenfort) teach this concept and so much more in Bookkeepers Ignite.

2. Create a Solid Business Plan

Before you go any further, you need a complete, well-thought-out business plan. This will guide your actions in the weeks and months ahead. 

Start by setting short- and long-term goals, company structure (both legally and leadership-wise), and a general description of the services you plan to offer - don’t forget to include any specializations or distinguishing factors. 

Next, analyze the market by researching competitors and business conditions in your chosen niche. This will build a clearer picture of your target audience and give you a sense of what you need that current bookkeeping companies aren't providing.

Competitor research will help you to set a pricing strategy. Your prices should reflect:

  • Your costs
  • Your value 
  • (I teach how to set effective prices in Bookkeepers Ignite)

Wrap up your business plan with financial projections that show how and when your new bookkeeping business will begin making money and how much runway you have with your startup capital.

3. Follow Legal Regulations

Before opening your doors, check all the relevant boxes with local, state, and federal regulators and tax authorities. These will vary based on your location, but typically require registering and some licensing as well. 

You'll also need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS and register it with local and state tax authorities. You know as well as anyone that tax situations vary from area to area, including sales tax, so be careful to stay in compliance. 

4. Set Up Your Office and Software

Take the time to create an office space with the equipment and workspace you need to be comfortable and efficient. If you plan to host clients, put extra care into designing a space, making it:

  • Comfortable
  • Attractive
  • Confidence-inspiring

If you plan to work from home, treat your space with the same care.

This is also the time to select your bookkeeping software and tools. Quickbooks and Xero are common choices, but there are plenty of options available for different needs and industries. Take your time on this step because your software will serve as the engine of your business, and switching later can be a hassle.

5. Create Your Brand and Start Marketing

Now that you've set up the backend of your bookkeeping business, it's time to consider how you want to present yourself to potential clients. 

Create a brand that showcases your:

  • Experience
  • Skills
  • Professionalism

Don’t forget to be consistent in your messaging. Start with an attractive, easy-to-use website and social media accounts to help connect with customers. 

This will take careful thought and planning, but successful branding pays dividends over time, becoming increasingly recognizable and trusted.

6. Zone in on Client Acquisition and Retention

Que the tough part - finding clients - that is unless you’re working with Bookkeepers Ignite. I provide a lead generation program and help you set a sales system in place. 

However, it won’t hurt to keep the following in mind. 

A good place to start is your personal and professional connections. Your contacts can provide valuable referrals and testimonials. 

In addition to your other marketing strategies, you can also try: 

  • Online paid advertising
  • Free workshops to gain attention and establish yourself as a resource
  • Promotional materials to demonstrate your expertise

Once you've found clients, don’t let them go.

  • Communicate well and often 
  • Be proactive in providing updates and guidance 
  • Treat them like you love them 

Avoiding client turnover is the best way to ensure the cash is always flowing.

7. Scaling Your Bookkeeping Business

Once you’ve built a rock-solid foundation, turn your eyes toward scaling expansion. 

Maybe you need to hire staff to increase your client totals, maybe you decide to expand your services to grow deeper in revenue, or maybe you need to implement processes and systems so your business isn’t completely dependent on you. 

It’s all exciting, but it all requires hard work and strategy. 

That’s where Bookkeepers Ignite steps in. We are here to mentor and support entrepreneurial bookkeepers on how to quickly launch, grow, and scale a bookkeeping business that they love to 6-figures and beyond so that they can live their dream lifestyle on their own terms. Visit our website to learn more and see how we can help!

Your journey to 6-figures+ starts here. SIGN UP NOW! 

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