Working with finance has long been one of your talents. Up to this point, those skills have primarily found expression with managing your funds. Now that you’ve decided that having a bookkeeping business of your own would be great, it’s time to start preparing for opening your operation.
Opting to purchase an accounting business franchise is the most prudent move to make. Above and beyond that, you’re wondering “How do I start a bookkeeping business from home?” The fact that you’ve never run a business or even worked in the accounting field does not have to be an obstacle. Here are some tips that will help.
Practical Experience and Training Helps
Before you delve too deeply into the specifics of becoming a franchisee and launching the business, you do need to expand the abilities that you already possess. That can be done by taking a few courses online. The goal is to ensure the classes are offered by a reputable institution. At a later date, being able to point to the association with a recognized institution will help in your marketing efforts.
Along with courses that enhance the grasp of basic accounting principles, go for courses that also provide some aid in attracting certain types of clients. For example, you may have more of an interest in taking on small business clients or handling the financial affairs of individuals. Classes that provide some perspective on what those types of clients need will also help when you launch the business.
Organizing the Tasks
Several tasks must be completed after you broaden your knowledge base. Many of them have to do with structuring the operation and ensuring you have the resources to make it during that first critical year. In a sense, you’ll be developing a checklist for starting a bookkeeping business and then addressing each line item in a logical sequence.
Create a checklist. Ideally, every line item prepares you to tackle the next one. This helps to avoid wasting time and also makes it easier to track your progress. In those moments when you wonder if everything will ever be finished, it’s easier to take one quick look and see how far you’ve already gone.
Some of the tasks that must be addressed are simple and fast. Others may be more time or labor-intensive. Don’t get discouraged if it takes some time to manage one of the essential tasks. As long as you’re moving forward, even at a slow pace, you’re getting closer to the day that you land that first client.
Determine How You Will Finance the Venture
Unless you’re independently wealthy, you will need to secure some type of financing. It’s not just a matter of knowing how much is a bookkeeping franchise going to cost; you also have to allow for funding that covers general business expenses and provides some type of discretionary income while you build a clientele. This is especially important if you don’t plan on continuing to work at your current job before and during the first few weeks after the launch.
The good news is that finding financing may not be as difficult as you think. When you approach a franchisor and ask how to start a virtual bookkeeping business, one of the issues that will be addressed is financing. You may only need to come up with a small amount on your own. The franchisor may have connections with lenders who can consider providing the rest of the funding that you need. In many cases, the financing they offer is competitive with whatever you could find elsewhere.
Understand that it could be some time before your franchise reaches the “break-even” point. You are likely to take in less than you spend for at least a few months. In the long run, is a bookkeeping business profitable? The answer is yes if you take proper care of your clients. As long as you have enough resources to make it until your collected revenue exceeds your operational expenses, things will turn out fine.
Creating a Legal Entity
Is it hard to start a bookkeeping business? It does take dedication, but it’s a lot easier if your business is properly incorporated and set up in full compliance with current regulations. Simply put, prospective clients will want to confirm that your business is a recognized legal entity.
There’s more than one way to structure the business. You may want to consider becoming a limited liability corporation since that type of business structure will serve you well now and also be helpful when you expand the franchise later on or decide to purchase more franchises and add them to the structure.
Remember that as part of the process, you will need to register a legal name as well as trademarks. Comply with all the requirements associated with the structure that you choose. The good news is that several states make the process of incorporating easy. Even if you’re based in another state, you can still apply for incorporation in one of those states.
Obtaining The Necessary Permits and Licenses
With the incorporation completed, now it’s time to obtain any permits or licenses that are required by the local government. That would be your city or whatever type of municipality where you live. Remember that based on local laws, the types of permits and licenses needed if you’re making use of one of the financial services franchise opportunities in the area may differ slightly from starting a business from scratch.
And Proper Business Insurance
You will also need business insurance for your accounting franchise. Liability coverage is essential, along with coverage for any vehicles that you use as part of operating the company. Make sure the liability coverage includes protections related to the use of data. As a bookkeeping service, you’ll be handling a great deal of proprietary data.
Quickbooks Certification is a Must
Inspiring trust in potential clients will be a must for your accounting business franchise. Don’t be surprised if clients want to know if you have Quickbooks Certification. Given how many business entities use Quickbooks for their internal financial accounting, it makes sense that they would want to work with a bookkeeping service that can easily exchange data with what they already have in place.
You may be asking yourself “how do I get QuickBooks certified?” It’s possible to do all the necessary training and take the exams online. Along the way, you’ll also get some of the practical training that you need to offer accounting services to the clients. Once you complete the courses, you’ll receive the certification and the right to use proof of that certification in promoting the business.
Structuring Your Rates
So how much is a bookkeeping franchise supposed to charge? Spend some time researching what other firms are charging. That includes other businesses that operate online. Your goal is to match or possibly beat those rates to capture positive attention.
Be mindful that the rates you set must provide a reasonable return for your time and effort. Ultimately, what you’re offering is primarily high-quality support rather than cut-rate pricing. Resist the urge to set unreasonably low pricing with the idea that you’ll make it up in volume later. That will only lead to having a lot of work to do with very little returns.
Getting the Word Out to the Community
Even with the best financial services franchise opportunities, you’ll need to get the word out to potential clients. Today, that means using a combination of online and offline methods to capture positive attention.
If you asking yourself “how do I find bookkeeping clients?” take a look around at how other businesses communicate with customers. Set up social media accounts, a website, and make use of online adds. Set up a Google My Business account and use it to redirect traffic to your website. You can also make use of text and email campaigns to reach people who might need your services.
Become a member of the local chamber of commerce and attend events.
Start With a Few Clients But Be Prepared to Expand Over Time
How many clients can a bookkeeper handle? That’s a question only you can answer. If you’re starting the franchise as a part-time venture, less than five may be all you can reasonably manage at first. As the business grows, you may add more people who allow you to set up teams and take on additional clients. Keep the client base in line with your ability to take care of each customer. That will help ensure your reputation is a positive one.
Remember that starting a bookkeeping business involves drawing on what you already know and choosing to flesh out your knowledge and abilities. Take your time, learn what you need to learn, and choose the best franchisor as a partner. With proper preparation and attention to detail, you’ll be ready to open your doors and begin to build a client base that sticks with you for years.