Hello! Today, I have an informative interview to share with you that will show you how to become a bookkeeper. I recently had the chance to interview Ben, founder of Bookkeeper Business Academy, who explains how becoming a bookkeeper may be a possibility for you.
Ben helps people start and grow their own bookkeeping business with his online bookkeeping course. And guess what? You don't have to be an accountant or have any previous experience!
If you are looking for a new job or even just a side hustle, this may be something that you want to look into.
Check out the interview below for more information on how to make money by becoming a bookkeeper.
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Please give us a little background on yourself.
I am a CPA – bean counter – by trade. For 14 years, I owned my own accounting firm. I loved helping business owners with their financial, accounting and tax needs.
However, I quickly discovered that all of the business owner’s needs – finance, accounting and tax – are all based off of solid bookkeeping. And you know what? Finding great bookkeepers to provide this service was near impossible.
Regular bookkeepers are a dime a dozen, but great bookkeepers – who truly have the business owner’s best-interest at heart – were so hard to find.
What exactly is a bookkeeper? Can you explain this more for those who have no idea?
Think of bookkeeping like caring for your household finances…but on steroids.
Every business is required (and should) track every dollar that comes into their business or goes out. In theory, this seems pretty darn easy. In practice, it just isn’t so.
Most entrepreneur / business owner types are excellent at what they do: carpentry, dentistry, carpet-cleaning…you name it. However, most of them are clueless when it comes to tracking their finances. Enter the bookkeeper.
The bookkeeper is the person business owners rely on for accurate financial information. Business owners want to be able to focus on what they are good at, and delegate the tasks they are not so good at. Bookkeeping is a prime example of a task that savvy business owners outsource to others.
Who are the typical clients for a bookkeeper?
Typical clients are small to medium-sized business owners who are in need of someone who can HELP them; someone who knows their stuff, is personable and has their back when it comes to bookkeeping.
My students are taught to focus on one or two industries in which they can become an expert bookkeeper.
By specializing in a particular industry, clients are much easier to find for my up-and-coming bookkeeper students.
How much can a new bookkeeper expect to make? How much can a person expect to make around one year after they start?
This is one of the most common questions I get asked. It really is 100% dependent upon how much effort, time and care one puts into starting and growing their own virtual bookkeeping business.
Bookkeeping is NOT a get-rich-quick scheme. I half-jokingly say it’s a work-your-tail-off, rewarding, lifetime profession.
I teach my students to have goals, one of which is income. Some students want part-time / supplemental income; some want to replace full-time income. Either case is not only a possibility; it’s also simple.
Some students wish to earn $10,000 per year which is around 3-4 clients.
Some students wish to earn $40,000 per year which is around 12-16 clients.
In either scenario, this is doable within one year IF they work the blueprint we give them. But, I want to emphasize that earnings are 100% dependent upon how much effort, time and care the new bookkeeper invests into their business.
There is a short-term sacrifice that you make for a lifetime of benefit as a professional bookkeeper.
What specific steps does a person need to take in order to make money as a bookkeeper?
First things first: they need to make sure, before they venture down this road, that bookkeeping is the right business for them. My free introductory class is meant to shed lots of light on the professional and business side of bookkeeping. Before investing a single dime or minute in pursuit of a bookkeeping business, one needs to make certain this is the right move.
After the student has made the determination that bookkeeping is a great fit, they need to get training. And, not just bookkeeping Xs and Os training; they need training on how to set up, market and grow their virtual bookkeeping business.
Our comprehensive course, Bookkeeper Business Blueprint, provides students with a turn-key solution to learning bookkeeping Xs and Os as well as the business and marketing side of the business.
Next, it’s up to the student to get to work doing the specific tasks we teach them. Bookkeeping should be marketed in a very specific manner. You can’t just hang a sign that says you’re a bookkeeper and expect a line of clients to form. You have to seek these clients. But, you never sell…you only educate your prospective clients.
What are the positives and negatives of being a bookkeeper?
How much time do you have? 🙂 In all seriousness: there are so many positive aspects of being a bookkeeper AND running your own business.
For starters, you are truly helping business owners. You become their go-to person and that feels awesome.
Second, there is never a dull moment in bookkeeping. There are exciting challenges you face daily. If you like learning and developing a craft, like I do, then bookkeeping might be right up your alley.
Another positive is that you are a professional. Just like an accountant, attorney or consultant, your client sees you as someone whom they respect and rely upon. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want to be in a highly respected profession.
The ability to work from home (or anywhere you choose) is great. You get to determine when you work, where you work and with whom you work.
And, of course, everyone wants to be their own boss! You get to be at all your kids events. You don’t have to ask for a day off…you just go!
As for negatives: sometimes it can be mentally challenging work. For me, this was a positive. For others, they see this as a negative. Also, as you progress with your bookkeeping business you will get busy; I mean super-busy if you want. You have to make sure you set up an efficient bookkeeping business to prevent you from going nuts-o!
What kind of training is needed to become a bookkeeper? Do you need to be an accountant?
You do NOT need to have any previous experience with accounting or bookkeeping. That’s another positive aspect of becoming a bookkeeper.
You DO need real-world training; training that shows how to serve multiple bookkeeping clients. Training that shows you how to WOW clients so that it’s a win for you as a self-employed bookkeeper and a win for your clients.
You do NOT need theoretical training that does not equip you to serve clients in real situations.
How much does it cost to start this type of business and how much on a monthly basis to maintain it?
Oh, this is a GREAT benefit of becoming a bookkeeper. It does not cost a lot. In fact, during my second free training class, I go over all the costs required to start and maintain your business on a monthly basis.
Spoiler alert: it’s not a lot. I know of no other business, which is professional, that you can start for as little as a bookkeeping business.
Lastly, are there any other tips that you have for someone who wants to try becoming a bookkeeper?
As mentioned before: do your homework BEFORE you make a go at a bookkeeping business. Make certain it’s a business worth your time and financial investment.
After you’ve done your due diligence, commit to being a success. No turning back! Leave yourself no other option but to be a hit with your business.
Now, I know you offer an online bookkeeping course to help others become successful bookkeepers. What can a person learn from your classes?
I designed these classes to help people determine for themselves if a bookkeeping business is right for them.
The first class gives an overview of the 7 key characteristics great bookkeepers share. It also covers your earning potential as a bookkeeper and what separates a great bookkeeper from an average bookkeeper.
The second class covers the exact tools and technology you need, the costs to start and maintain the business and – most important – the mindset you need.
The third and final class covers how to market your bookkeeping business to get clients (even if you hate sales like I do).
Are you interested in working from home? Does becoming a bookkeeper interest you?
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