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Starting a Bookkeeping Business

LAST UPDATE 05/20/2018

If you just started a new bookkeeping business or thinking of starting a bookkeeping business, hopefully this article is useful!

Define your CORE services, Your What’s:

  • Cash-basis bookkeeping (also known as “write-up”), non client-facing services performed weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly
  • Collaborative bookkeeping, client has access or control to the books, using QuickBooks or whatever accounting software you support, you work on it once a day week month quarter complete the books of the client could not do and or correct mistakes here she me
  • Bookkeeping support, you’re not responsible for any specific deliverables but client will request support when they need you


Define your secondary (Additional) Services:

  • Sales tax preparation
  • Payroll processing
  • Income tax preparation
  • Local or regulatory form preparation
  • Business Consulting
  • Document digitization and archiving (scanning)
  • Teaching and training quick books or bookkeeping processes


Define you Limits (What you will NOT do)

  • Income tax returns
  • Signing financial statements
  • Representing clients in front of third parties
  • Acting as your client’s employee, answering the phone, opening their mail, etc.


Why are you in business?

  • Why should a client hire you?
  • Why should you work for the client?
  • Why are you a better choice compared to the competition?


Define your How’s:

  • How would you communicate with your client?
  • How would you do that work? (On-site, remote, and/or a combination of both)
  • Which platform will you use? (Excel, QuickBooks desktop, QuickBooks Online, Wave, Freshbooks, ZohoBooks, Xero, or other accounting software)


Defined your Who’s:

  • Who is your target client?
  • Who can your partner with? (Local CPA firms, tax preparers, bankers, etc.)
  • Who will be in your team? Spouse, Employee, Contractor, Business Partner, Strategic Partner, Etc.
  • Who will you want to work with you in the future?


Educational minimum requirements:

  • Fundamental business and business administration skills
  • Fundamental accounting skills
    • College degree in accounting
    • Graduate certificate in accounting
    • Continuing education certificate in accounting or bookkeeping
    • Certified bookkeeper program from a AIPB
    • Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
    • Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
  • Enrolled Agent Program (for Tax Preparers)
  • Technical/software certificates:
    • Certified QuickBooks Pro advisor
    • Xero Advisor
    • T-Sheets PRO
    • Guru
    • Certified Excel user
    • Halon Financial Accountant Program


  • Pick a unique, easy to read, easy to pronounce, and descriptive name
  • Get an LLC or Incorporate
  • Get a logo
  • Use your WHY’s HOW’s WHO’s and WHAT’s to come up with a slogan
  • Get business cards
  • Get uniforms with your logo and slogan, and wear it hundred percent of the time
  • Join the local Chamber of Commerce
  • Volunteer in local small business workshops
  • Set up your website
  • Set up the basic social media accounts, such as a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and a YouTube channel. Share your journey with the world and share everything that you have learned; this needs to be PUBLIC information


Other important skills to learn:

  • Networking and the relationship building
  • Salesmanship and presentation skills
  • Public speaking and teaching skills
  • Contract negotiation
  • Project management and time management
  • Pricing and conversation about the value
  • Data importing an app integration into QuickBooks or any accounting system you support


Keys to success

  • Specialize on a type of solution that you will provide or a specific industry that you will serve. Stay as narrow and specific as possible to become highly attractive to a small group of potential customers. Allowing you to present yourself as one of the few experts in the very narrow field
  • Over-communicate, Make sure that all interactions with customers and team extremely clear. Especially with every party’s expectations of the future and desired results
  • Show genuine concern for your clients needs and pressing issues, build deep relationships with your clients
  • Respond fast, always have time to respond to leads and/or clients requests. Being available when the client needs you is the most important part of customer service
  • Be unique and don’t settle for just being “different”
  • Price your services based on value, do not charge by the hour or based on effort.  Customers do not care about your time or your efforts, they only care about results that you are able to deliver
  • Go to as many trade conferences about  accounting, bookkeeping, and related technology as much possible to learn from your peers. You must be up-to-date with all software technology and industry issues to be able to serve your client with the most modern technology and techniques.
  • Go to as many learning opportunities (such as trade shows or other places where your potential customers hangout) So you can understand what their pain points are. Remember you’re supposed to specialize on a specific type of customer, wether it is an industry or type a solution you focus on
  • Stay up-to-date with all technology such as latest versions, compatible apps, compatible devices, etc.
  • Hang out a social media, learn from the veterans on how to communicate with their peers and customers
  • Focus on being effective, NOT efficient.
  • Read as much as possible about leadership, customer service, economics, accounting/finance, marketing, people skills, and growing a business
  • Find inspiration in everyday things and inspire people around you to succeed as well, even if it feels detrimental to you.
  • Be ethical 100% of the time, no funny business, so you can sleep well at night
  • Save money, be frugal, have financial stability, and pay your taxes… Be an example to your clients!


Best of luck! If you think i missed some bullet points, e-mail me your comments:



Hector Garcia

Hector Garcia

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