The process of becoming a bookkeeper is straight forward, like many other careers you can learn on the job and/or undertake some formal training. You do not need any formal regulatory qualification to work as a bookkeeper. Many bookkeepers start with basic bookkeeping forming a part of their admin or reception role and gradually learn how to work accounting software over a few years of necessity!
However, if you intend to ‘practice’ as a bookkeeper and sell your time/services for financial reward, then you will need to tick a fair few more boxes!
The career development often starts with a Cert III in Accounts Administration (FNS30317) which has bookkeeping elements within the qualification which complements learners looking to learn ‘on the job’. The minimum requirement for entry and recognition into the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) is the Cert IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping (FNS40217). These qualifications need to be undertaken through a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). Further study from and ongoing personal development will usually take the form of the Diploma in Accounting (FNS50217).
Benefits of Starting Your Own Bookkeeping Business
Lets take a look at some of the benefits and some of the challenges and considerations:
- Low cost start-up
- Laptop, software,
- Bookkeeping courses
- Flexible hours
- Get more time with your family
- Take care of school runs
- Work from home
- No more Commute!
- Gain 2 hours of your day back and save on travel costs
- Set your value/charge out rate
- Bookkeepers charge from $50 and $80+ per hour
- $100,000 to $150,000 in income a year.
- Choose which clients you want to work with
- You are in charge, if you don’t like your client you can leave them!
- Relatively recession and pandemic proof
- Through the recent pandemic, the need for good bookkeepers to assist companies with compliance and Government support increased significantly.
- Compliance based nature of BAS & Bookkeeping means its an essential spend.
Balancing the Ledger
You like the sound of the benefits and have set your sights on a new career path. But lets take a step back. Remember you are still starting a business, so just being a good bookkeeper unlikely to be enough.
There are lots of other considerations and skills that you will need to address:
Identify your skills and experience
Educate yourself! You might be an awesome bookkeeper already, but running a business is a whole new experience and requires a new set of skills. Just like your bookkeeping skills, legislation is continuously changing and you will be learning and taking on new challenges every day. Seek out relevant short courses and training courses to support your learning.
Consider undertaking a course specific to business start-up such as BSB30220 – Cert III in Entrepreneurship and New Business or a targeted skillset in marketing such as BSBSS00098 – Marketing Foundation Skill Set or SIRXMKT006 – Develop a Social Media Strategy
Consider your business model
But first consider your personal goal! Are you looking to build a business to sell, or simply maximise your income earning potential. Maybe you are after a sea change and seek a lifestyle business that provides adequate income and a work life balance?
Once you identify this, consider the following:
- How will you structure your business: Soletrader, Corporate trading Trustee or Pty Ltd entity?
- Do you intend to hire employees or use contractors, or do all the work yourself?
- Will you look to specilaise in a certain software such as Xero, Quickbooks or MYOB?
Follow your passion!
Do you have experience in specific type of industry?
Do you have a passion for or deep interest in a certain field that you would like to work in?
A professional Website that highlights your unique skill set, offering and personality is a must. Utilise free SEO opportunities like ‘Google My Business’ and try to Blog about subjects that matter to you and your clients.
Join and follow others in the bookkeeping community; these groups provide an excellent source of knowledge and support; it can be a lonely journey in the early days!
Social Media is an excellent way to promote your point of difference to a large audience. A micro credential such as SIRXMKT006 – Develop a Social Media Strategy could be a great place to start and help you work on your online personality/brand. Work towards attract client traffic and converting traffic to followers to whom you can provide relevant technical and informational content.
Lets not forget to protect ourselves and any assets/wealth that you may have built up already. Research what constitutes adequate Professional Indemnity (PI) Insurance it is essential, not only for piece-of-mind and to protect your assets; but it is also a requirement of both the ICB and the Tax Practitioners Board if you intend to practice as a BAS Agent or Tax Agent.
The clear message here is that running your own bookkeeping business is a big undertaking and not without its challenges – but that is any business. A structured approach to ongoing personal development and not just within the accounting and bookkeeping area, is essential for the continued success of your new business venture . That goes for any business.
More and more training organisations are aligned with business owners needs, developing short course and micro credentials that provide instant hits of knowledge without the need for a lengthy 12 month qualification.
The Australian Institute of Finance Training offers online self-paced courses in Business, Entrepreneurship and Accounting. Targeted at students looking to enter the bookkeeping industry, start or scale their own business and those looking to simply upskill. We have a suite of targeted Nationally Recognised qualifications alongside specific skill-based ‘how to’ style short courses where you can learn practical skills for everyday use.
For more information please contact us at (07) 3556 3831 or via email at [email protected].