The Simple Guide to Establishing Your Freelance Bookkeeping Business

freelance bookkeeping

Do you love numbers? Did you find yourself right at home during your accounting class in college? If you like working with data, untangling transactions, and presenting clean reports to clients, the freelance bookkeeping world might be calling you.

Working as a freelance professional on the internet has become more than just popular, it has rapidly become the norm.

As we further entangle our lives with the digital space, more people are coming to realize that they can find professional careers from the comfort of their own home. According to a report released by Global Workplace Analytics, more than 5 million people worked from home in 2018!

During today’s discussion, you will learn everything there is to know about working in bookkeeping. From starting your business to landing your first client, we are going to introduce you to the wide world of freelance bookkeeping!

10 Sites For Finding Freelance Bookkeeping Jobs

Working in the freelance world can be difficult. After all, you are in charge of everything from building your business to finding your clients. With so many hats in rotation, it can be hard to find the perfect job with your limited time.

The internet has made our lives easier in several ways. For freelancers, online job-hiring platforms have become a haven for connecting with clients.

Listed below, you will find ten of the best sites for finding freelance bookkeeping jobs.

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1. Upwork

freelancing bookkeeping job sites - upwork

(Free)

One of the leading platforms for connecting bookkeepers with companies in need is Upwork. Established more than a decade ago in the heart of Silicon Valley, Upwork purports to have made more than $1 billion in 2020 for their freelance workers. Upwork operates on a bidding system.

This means that clients will post a casting call/job advertisement and freelancers will submit with their proposal. You can read a comprehensive comparison between Upwork and other platforms here.

Benefits: Easy sign-up process. Applicants can choose between remote, project-based, and contract jobs. The bidding system at Upwork is efficient, allowing freelancers to submit for a variety of jobs without any downtime.

2. FlexJobs 

freelancing bookkeeping job sites - flexjobs

($14.95 — $49.95 Annually)

Flexjobs has been serving up freelance bookkeeping opportunities since 2007. Established by Sara Sutton Fell, Flexjobs offers remote, freelance, flex, and part-time job opportunities to its members.

A premium annual price keeps the pool of rival applicants down while a high level of customer satisfaction keeps bringing new businesses to the platform.

Benefits: Affordable membership plans reduce bidding wars while also improving the quality of the client. Flexjobs also focuses on remote and freelance job opportunities above conventional 9 to 5s.

3. Indeed

freelancing bookkeeping job sites - indeed

(Free)

Indeed has quickly turned into one of the largest hiring platforms on the internet. Used for far more than just online bookkeeping services, Indeed accrues more than 200 million visitors for jobs in countries all over the planet. Indeed offers free registration and an easy-to-implement resume uploading service.

Benefits: Indeed will have one of the largest collections of job postings for freelance bookkeeping professionals to sort through. Indeed also offers potential employees the ability to read reviews about their potential clients before signing a contract.

4. Freelancer.com

freelancing bookkeeping job sites - freelancer

(Free + Paid Plans)

Freelancer.com alleges to be the largest freelancing and crowdsourcing hub on the internet. With 27 million employers in rotation as well as freelancers from 247 countries around the world, we aren’t going to argue their point.

Freelancer.com offers both free and premium plans depending on the freelancer in question. Fixed price projects will incur a 10% fee while services will require a 20% fee of the total price.

Benefits: While Freelancer.com does take a sizable chunk off the top of your profits, they offer a larger selection of potential jobs. Freelancer.com is likely the ideal starting spot for freelance bookkeepers looking to integrate their business into the market.

5. Glassdoor 

freelancing bookkeeping job sites - glassdoor

(Free)

Glassdoor is an innovative service that allows employees to review the companies that they work at. While information is the name of the game at Glassdoor, the prestigious company also offers an entire hiring sector to its members.

While not nearly as active as the other websites on this list, Glassdoor offers reputable jobs to those looking for them.

Benefits: Glassdoor’s employment section is filled with information as well as potential clients. Despite the lack of jobs on the board, bookkeepers will still be able to find steadier long-term work on occasion.

6. Fiverr 

freelancing bookkeeping job sites - fiverr

(Free)

Fiverr exploded onto the scene as a budget platform for freelancers looking to make a quick buck. While Fiverr is brimming with every surface under the sun, a little digging will reveal a wealth of opportunity.

Freelance bookkeepers can sign up for an account, set their rates, and fill out their services page. Searching Fiverr for financial consulting services will reveal the depth of opportunities offered on the platform.

Benefits: Quick and easy registration. You can set your rates, build your brand, and market all in the same place. Fiverr also has protections installed to protect its user base.

7. PARO 

freelancing bookkeeping job sites - paro

(Free Application)

PARO is a freelance accountant platform that specializes in the area of finance. To get on the service, you will have to bypass a rigorous vetting process that weeds out nearly 98% of applicants. Should you make it through the application process, you will find yourself in good company.

Benefits: PARO is exceptionally rigorous when it comes to hiring staff, thus ensuring premium content is always available. PARO is also an ideal place to build your reputation while becoming comfortable within the industry.

8. PeoplePerHour 

freelancing bookkeeping job sites - people per hour

(Free + Paid Plans)

PeoplePerHour was established in 2007 as an outsourcing company with a brick-and-mortar location. Since transitioning to a digital interface, PeoplePerHour has reportedly gained more than 1.5 million users along with 1.1 million jobs from 89 different countries.

PeoplePerHour works a lot like Upwork as freelancers will incorporate a bidding system to apply for jobs.

Benefits: A booming marketplace means jobs are always available. PeoplePerHour also utilizes an escrow account to protect both freelancers and clients. Larger projects can be divided into multiple payments that will be paid out once a milestone is reached. PeoplePerHour is one of the better platforms for protecting employees.

9. LinkedIn ProFinder

freelancing bookkeeping job sites - linkedin pro finder

(10 Free Bids Per Month + Paid Plans)

If you are an entrepreneur or freelancer, you owe it to yourself to create a LinkedIn ProFinder account. Not only is LinkedIn one of the major networking hubs for modern professionals, but its ProFinder tool is also fantastic for applying to jobs.

Clients will post job requests on a hiring board while freelancers will submit detailed proposals. You get 10 free bids every month with an optional monthly fee for unlimited bidding.

Benefits: The ‘free’ account is robust enough that new freelancers can rely on it without concern. LinkedIn’s built-in reputation allows for prestigious clients to utilize the platform. Proposing and tracking bids is easy and efficient.

10. Upward 

freelancing bookkeeping job sites - upward

(Free)

Upward offers part-time, full-time, temp, and intern positions through its highly customizable job board. To get in on the action, users must only create an account before uploading their resume.

Established in 2009, Upward offers more than 10 million job listings from around the world. These listings are curated from newspapers, company pages, job sites, and Upward users.

Benefits: Upward is great for bookkeeping professionals looking for long-term jobs. Upward offers easy registration and profile integration to improve the chances of being selected during the application process.

What Is Freelance Bookkeeping?

According to the dictionary, a bookkeeper is simply a professional that records and tracks the financial affairs of a business. While that definition is limited in scope, it offers insight into what a professional freelance bookkeeper can expect to handle during their time at the office.

While tracking financial records makes up a significant portion of the typical workday, a bookkeeper must be ready and willing to wear many hats. Depending on certifications, industry experience, and professional expertise, a bookkeeper might be in charge of processing payroll, tax preparation, and even handling accounts payable.

As you dig deeper into the bookkeeping industry, you will consistently come across several terms. Let’s highlight a few of the most common terms that you will be expected to understand.

Account Reconciliation — The backbone of any bookkeeping service is reconciling accounts. Comparing transactions with details in your accounting software will give your client accurate information regarding their business.

Accounts Receivable — Accounts receivable are considered legal claims to a payment owed for goods/services rendered. In short, managing accounts receivable will entail going through invoices and payment details between client and customer.

Accounts Payable — The money owed by a company to its suppliers of goods and services. Common examples of accounts payable include short-term liabilities, legal services, supplies, and accounting services.

Balance Sheet — A balance sheet is a financial document that showcases a glimpse in time of the financial composition of your client. This balance sheet will include assets as well as liabilities and equity.

Assets — All the things that a company owns to run its business. Examples of assets include property, tools, furniture, cars, and even cash.

Liabilities — The debts that a business has incurred, including unpaid bills, bonds, and loans.

Accounting Period — Financial reports are tied to periods of time. Some companies opt for monthly reports while others prefer quarter and even annual reports.

General Ledger — The backbone of your bookkeeping business will rest on your general ledger. The general ledger is where a company’s financial accounts will be summarized.

What Are the Duties of a Freelance Bookkeeper?

When we talk about bookkeeping services, what immediately comes to mind? As a freelance bookkeeper, you will be wearing many hats throughout the typical workday. To accommodate the needs of your potential clients, you should expect to handle at least a handful of the following duties.

Monitor Financial Accounts — First and foremost, the primary job of a freelance bookkeeping professional is to monitor and record financial transactions for summation in a General Ledger.

One of the primary benefits of having a professional bookkeeping service is the ability to quickly look at a snapshot of your company’s financial situation. For that reason, bookkeepers must always be on top of things.

Handle Clerical Work — While we might associate bookkeeping with high-level accounting, that isn’t always the case. Bookkeeping is ideal for people who specialize in organizational skills as bookkeepers are routinely tasked with handling company clerical work.

Using industry-standard accounting software, bookkeepers will record cash, vouchers, checks and other financial transactions. This work requires a sharp eye and the ability to focus while routinely double-checking work.

Produce Reports For Clients — Think of reports as the golden egg that a professional bookkeeper can lay. Producing accurate and timely reports, such as balance sheets or income statements, is integral to the long term success and vitality of a company.

Bookkeepers will work with the appropriate software to develop these forms as needed.

Organize Financial Records — Organization is the heart of bookkeeping. Depending on the size or style of business, this organization process can change dramatically. A family-owned antique store will not require the same financial organization as a rapidly growing law firm, for example.

Address Any Inconsistencies — With a sharp eye and the ability to recognize mistakes, bookkeepers must be able to quickly and accurately address any inconsistencies in their books.

freelance bookkeeping

How To Start Freelance Bookkeeping

By this point in time, you should know if the freelance bookkeeping world is for you. If you are ready to leap into the industry with both feet first, consider the following tips to start your bookkeeping career.

Decide What Services You Will Offer

A bookkeeping professional can offer a veritable treasure trove of services. Decide early on what kind of services you are going to offer. From accounts payable/receivable to payroll management and tax preparation, there are many services that you can offer your clients.

Create Your Business Plan

Every entrepreneur should craft a professional business plan. Detail start-up costs, services offered, and the daily responsibilities that you must attend to. For instructions on how to craft your business plan, consider the following information from Millo.

Consider Voluntary Certification

Certification is not required to work as a freelance bookkeeper. However, certifying your services will lend an air of professionalism and expertise to your name. To learn more about voluntary certification, consult with the NACPB.

Acquire Industry Standard Bookkeeping and Payroll Software

Unlike accountants, professional bookkeepers must tend to day-to-day matters for their clients. As a result, you need to be familiar with industry-standard software such as QuickBooks, TurboCASH, Freshbooks, and Odoo.

Perform Industry Research

There is a wealth of resources for industry research. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is a great place to get a birds-eye view of what your industry has to offer.

Establish Pay Model/Rates

After you have performed extensive industry research, you should be ready to establish a pricing model for your prospective clients. Depending on the client, be prepared to change your model.

Prepare Legally Binding Contract Templates

Every independent contractor should understand that the onus to protect themselves legally is on them. To make things easier, consider customizing your own legally binding contract template from ApproveMe.

Register With Top Freelance Job Platforms

Finding success as a freelance bookkeeper in today’s market requires you to stay on top of the game. Signing up for the top freelance job platforms will open you up to job opportunities. Be sure to polish up your resume for the best success at landing a job.

Millo has also produced an invaluable eBook revolving around the 25 Top Freelance Job Sites and it is worth checking out.

Incorporate Your Business

There is no limit to the benefits that will come from incorporating your business. Register with your Secretary of State as an LLC, corporation, or partnership. You will have to pay a fee, but you will receive tax benefits and legal protection in return.

Market Your Business

You can’t sell a service if nobody knows that you exist. While signing up for job platforms and emailing prospective clients can be a great start, you must do much more. Create a professional website and connect it to your job profiles.

How to Charge for Freelance Bookkeeping Services

If you’ve never used a bookkeeping service and have no idea how to charge your client, you’ve come to the right place. Bookkeeping service fees are going to be dependent on several different concepts including transaction volume, employee roster size, and industry.

With that being said, most freelance bookkeeping professionals will charge their clients via one of the following three pricing models.

  • Hourly — While no longer the standard practice, hourly billing is still incredibly common in the freelance bookkeeping world. Hourly payment models revolve around a set rate, typically decided before a contract is taken. The average hourly rate for qualified general bookkeeping services will range from $19 to $50+ depending on the services required. Consider setting your price based on your experience to get the most accurate model.
  • Flat Fee — Flat fee pricing has become more popular in recent years thanks to the flexibility that it offers to both parties. Flat fee pricing revolves around an advanced up-front monthly charge. This charge is based on a client’s specific needs. Larger and more voluminous clients will require a larger flat-fee for your services.
  • Fixed Price Agreement — The best payment model for freelance bookkeepers is the fixed price agreement model. This payment model involves a bookkeeper analyzing a business as well as the challenges that the bookkeeper will face. A fixed price agreement will typically include an interview/meeting between client and bookkeeper to establish a perfect price.

Pros and Cons to Freelance Bookkeeping

We are living in a data-driven world. More than ever, establishing a business is about analyzing both the pros and cons of the effort. With so much information available, you should know what you are getting into before pursuing a career in freelance bookkeeping.

Pros of Freelance Bookkeeping

  • Minimal Expenses — Startup costs for a bookkeeping company are almost nonexistent, at least compared to other freelancing endeavors. Outside of certification, training, and software costs, freelance bookkeepers need only pay for bidding-based job sites.
  • Financial Freedom — Working from home opens doors to an entirely new level of freedom. With the ability to set your schedule and pick your clients, you can work as much or as little as your life requires.
  • No Training Required — While you can voluntarily get certified to showcase your skills, there is no barrier of entry for the bookkeeping marketplace.

Cons of Freelance Bookkeeping

  • Security Importance — As a professional bookkeeper, you will be working with sensitive data on behalf of your client. You are completely beholden and liable for whatever happens to that data. Investing in secured computing software is probably a great idea.
  • Scheduling Inconsistencies — When you work as a freelancer, you are never guaranteed another job. As a result, you must endure the anxiety that comes with not knowing when you will land your next client. That being said, after establishing your business this should become much less of a concern.
  • Tech Expertise Required — While bookkeeping predates the software that we use today, you still have to learn quite a bit about the tech field to stay up-to-date with your services. You must learn to work with new software to maintain industry standards.

How to Find Freelance Bookkeeping Clients

Landing your first bookkeeping client can feel like a Herculean task. After all, there are many clients but there are even more professionals vying for work. If you need a little help to land your next bookkeeping client, consider implementing a few of the following tips.

Get Certified

If you are looking to become an expert in the bookkeeping field, you owe it to yourself to get certified. Become proficient with software like QuickBooks to become a certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor.

Hire a Marketing Professional

It has never been easier to get your name out into the world. However, marketing your services is a lot different from simply becoming well-known. Let a professional marketing team help you bring traffic to your business.

Join Job Sites

At the beginning of our discussion, we highlighted ten amazing platforms that can help you land your next big bookkeeping job. If you are looking to make this your career, consider signing up for as many of those job sites as possible. Keep an eye on new postings and make sure to be quick to apply.

Important Freelance Bookkeeper Statistics

According to a study performed by Global Workplace Analytics, at least 4.3 million people in the United States worked from home at least part-time in 2018. This number is up by more than 140% since 2005, according to the same report by Global Workplace Analytics.

As the workforce continues to change and evolve, so will the freelance bookkeeping industry. With the industry currently growing, now is the perfect time to begin your freelance journey.

A Final Note

By this point in time, you should have a pretty clear understanding as to what a bookkeeper does. You should also be armed with the knowledge needed to begin building your own bookkeeping company.

With the business world in a constant state of evolution, you owe it to your business to keep an eye on industry trends and market research. If you are looking for more innovative ways to make the most out of your freelance efforts, consider checking out these six ways you can improve your company.

Use our guide to jumpstart your business before letting your skills and research lead you to success!


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