More and more people have started to work as bookkeepers, however, there still are more than a few people who do not know exactly what this occupation is.
In this article, you will find a description of bookkeeping, and will also learn why it is a great choice for anyone looking to earn some extra money on the side, or even to find something to replace their full-time job.
One of the biggest misconceptions regarding bookkeeping is related to whether people need formal training or not. The truth is that pretty much anyone can work as a bookkeeper. You don’t need to be an accountant or have previous experience in this field.
There are people who have completely replaced their full-time job with bookkeeping and have turned it into their main source of income. This having been said, it is a good option for anyone looking to earn money without having to go through training programs or courses.
Most financial aspects of a business start and end with bookkeeping, which means that individuals who have the ability to take care of finances are in great demand.
If you are thinking of doing this, there is no doubt that you will find people to hire you, regardless of the fact that you don’t have any previous experience, however, in order to earn a lot of money, you will have to get hone this skill.
What is a bookkeeper?
Before moving forward, let’s look at what exactly a bookkeeper is, and what he does.
Basically, he is an individual who takes care of a business’ finances. Don’t be fooled by this explanation. Things are not as easy as they seem. Every business has to track the money that it makes and spends. This is where this occupation comes in.
Most entrepreneurs are extremely good at what they do. Depending on their business, they can be great cleaners, carpenters, fabricators, etc. However, this leaves them little time to track their expenses, and most of them may not know how.
This is where they usually look to hire someone to take care of the financial aspect of their business. They still make all the business decisions, but bookkeepers have to keep track of how they spend money and what the company earns.
Who usually hires bookkeepers?
Most clients are usually small or medium-sized business owners who cannot keep up with the financial aspect of their company and are looking for someone to help them. They usually consider that the perfect candidate should know what he has to do and be good at it, be friendly, and help then when it comes to bookkeeping.
It should also be noted that most entrepreneurs are looking for people who know their industry.
This is why it is usually advisable that those who want to pick up this occupation spend the time to specialize in two different industries. This will enable them to find work more easily.
How much can someone earn in this line of work?
Two main questions that people tend to ask are:
- How much can I earn by working as a bookkeeper?
- How much can I earn after about one year?
The best way to answer to both of this questions is through another question: How much time are you willing to put into doing this?
Keep in mind that bookkeeping is essentially a form of freelancing, and this means that you decide how many clients you want to take on, what your rates should be, and how many hours you are willing to work for.
It is safe to say that this occupation is not a get-rich-quick scheme. You will have to work hard, as with any other job in order to earn money, however, you have the advantage of being able to work from home and to make your own work schedule. For some, this, in itself, is a big advantage over their full-time job.
In order to determine how much money you can earn, you will first have to establish what you expect from this job. Some people are only willing to work with 3 or 4 clients and are contempt with earning about $10,000 per year. Others want to build a business in this profession and can make $50,000 per year.
In the end, it depends on how much you are willing to work. If you put in 8 hours per day, you will easily be able to live off of what you earn.
Commitment is important
Being a freelance occupation, bookkeeping also requires a lot of discipline. You will have to make certain sacrifices in order to grow your business, and things may not always go well. However, as you gain more experience and take on more clients, the amount of money that you earn will increase and so will your financial stability.
Consider the following: If you only have 3 clients and one of them terminates the contract, then you will have lost 30% of your income.
On the other hand, if you have 6-8 clients and one of them decides to end the agreement, the impact on how much you make will not be as great.
This means that in order to be successful in this line of work, you will have to commit to your occupation.
What does someone have to do in order to become a bookkeeper?
The first step is to figure out if this business is right for them. People who are looking to make a quick buck may be surprised to see that this is not the case. Those who want to become bookkeepers will need to invest time and energy in honing their skills.
Sometimes it is better to pick up bookkeeping as a way to make money on the side. If you like it and find that you could do it full-time, then you can start marketing your business.
This brings us to an important part of working both as a bookkeeper, and as a freelancer: marketing your skills.
You will be essentially running your own business, and this means that you have to learn how to market it, in order to maximize the amount of money that you can earn from it.
Simply creating an account on freelancing website and specifying that you are a bookkeeper is usually not enough, unless you want to do this part-time (2-3 hours per week).
What are the advantages and disadvantages of working as a bookkeeper?
The answer to this question is again tied to freelancing. The fact that you will decide your own work schedule can be both a blessing and a curse. You will essentially have to work as a bookkeeper AND run your own business, advertising your skills and looking for new clients.
Also, there may be a lot of stress involved as you will become the go-to person for all financial matters. On the other hand, this can also feel really good, as you will actually be extremely important to your client.
As for the good things about this job, you will be a professional, and people will respect you for it. Also, while it may not appear at first, bookkeeping is rarely boring. You will always have something to do or have to deal with new challenges.
In time, it will become easier, and will not seem as demanding, and this means that you will be able to either take on a few more clients or finish early and spend the rest of your day doing something else.
Furthermore, you will be able to work from home, while you’re on vacation, etc. A lot of freelancers work as they travel, spending years in different countries. This is also a plus for parents, who will never miss a school play again.
Lastly, you will be your own boss. So nobody will tell you when to work or for how long. If you will ever feel like taking a day off, there will be nothing stopping you.
What training is required in order to become a bookkeeper?
As specified at the beginning of the article, most people mistakenly think that only accountants can become bookkeepers.
In reality, you do not have to have any previous experience in this field in order to work as a bookkeeper. You could say that this is another advantage; the fact that you do not need any kind of training.
This having been said, you do need to know what you are doing, and this means that you need to have what could be called “real-world training”. You need to be organized, to have decent marketing skills in order to convince potential clients to hire you, and you need to know a bit about bookkeeping.
All of these skills can be learned from your everyday life, by working, calculating your taxes, setting up budgets, etc.
In other words, you do not need any formal training, but you do need to be able to at least do some bookkeeping for yourself, before starting to work for other people.
How much money does one require in order to start a bookkeeping business, and how much does it cost to maintain it?
Bookkeeping is really the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to costs of starting and maintaining the business.
You need very little money to start, and an even smaller amount to maintain the business. Things that you will have to spend some money boil down to marketing your business properly, and making potential clients aware of it.
So you may have to invest some money in creating a website and on buying some software to help you along the way.
To sum up, if you spend some time thinking if this occupation is right for you and decide that you do want to work as a bookkeeper, then there is nothing stopping you from starting your own business. However, remember that this is a long-term commitment and that you will have to work hard in order to be successful.
As long as you treat bookkeeping as any other job, and are serious about developing your business, then you will easily be able to live from what you earn.
The advantages are hard to ignore, and there are no disadvantages that a regular full-time job wouldn’t also have, so in the end, you only have to gain. But this is for each individual to decide. Those who start but are unable to follow through will only lose time and money.