The Ultimate Guide to Freelance Bookkeeping

8 minute read

Interested in freelance bookkeeping? A lot of people do not know that freelance bookkeeping is an option, or that it exists in the first place. However, if done correctly, freelance bookkeeping can be a fairly lucrative business as a primary source of income or as a side-hustle. 

It's the perfect job for many. Read on to learn more about the best websites, resources, and ways to grow as a freelance bookkeeper.

What is a freelance bookkeeper and what do they do?

Generally, a bookkeeper is someone who provides their clients with a variety of bookkeeping and accounting services, such as payroll, data entity, filing invoices everyday transactions, keeping track of financial discrepancies and general finances, writing and editing budgets, and ensuring their client is compliant with state and federal laws. Essentially, a bookkeeper keeps track of anything and everything related to finances to protect their clients’ financial stability. 

Freelance bookkeepers are exactly what they sound like: they take on work from businesses on a freelance basis, meaning they work with different businesses at different times rather than being employed by one company. This also means that freelancer bookkeepers do not have a salary. Instead, the money they make is based on the amount of work they take on and their rates.

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What do I need to be a freelance bookkeeper?

Freelance bookkeepers do not need official qualifications or a formal education to do the job (though most businesses like bookkeepers to have a high school degree and some sort of training), but here are a few things you may want to consider before starting work as a freelance bookkeeper. 

Here are a few basic necessities:

  • Reliable internet connection;
  • Reliable computer or laptop;
  • A phone to reach customers and colleagues (separate from your personal phone);
  • Organization skills/organizational system;
  • Bookkeeping software.

Best freelance websites for bookkeepers:

Acquiring training can be advantageous even though it isn’t required, especially if you don’t have prior experience. There are several websites that provide online courses or seminars that can supply vital information about accounting software and the ins and outs of bookkeeping that may come in handy later, such as:

  • Bookkeeper Launch, designed specifically for bookkeeping, helps virtual bookkeeping businesses start from scratch, develop bookkeeping skills, develop efficient systems, and market to attract high-quality clients;
  • Accounting Coach, a service that helps develop bookkeeping skills, provides an opportunity to earn certificates, and helps clients become acquainted with accounting jobs and opportunities;
  • Udemy has a wide variety of course topics, bookkeeping and accounting among them, which focus on the basics of bookkeeping and information to start a bookkeeping business;
  • LinkedIn Learning, designed for software, creative, and business skills, has courses on basic and advanced bookkeeping skills, and teaches you how to use specific software and other tools.

There are a plethora of other training programs that can provide you with the tools you need to build a successful freelance bookkeeping business. The most important thing to remember when selecting a training program, if you choose to do so, is to do your research. While each program is advantageous in its own right, they have different skills and benefits to offer: choose the program best tailored to your knowledge and goals. 

Freelance bookkeeping jobs from home/remote

Since freelance bookkeeping does not require you to be in an office, you can usually work from anywhere, at any time. When you’re not confined to a traditional workday you have more flexibility to balance your personal responsibilities and other obligations. This can give you increased productivity – and income! – given you make a schedule and stick to it.  

Working as a freelancer also means you get to choose who you work for or with. Instead of working under a supervisor you’ll have the opportunity to source your own clients and figure out how you can best serve the needs of the business and your personal goals.

What are the average freelance bookkeeping rates?

Freelance bookkeeping rates can vary greatly, depending on which clients you take, how many clients you have, and a variety of other factors. Every business needs to keep track of their financial transactions throughout the year, whether they’re large or small. The main difference is the volume: in general, a smaller business will have less financial transactions to keep track of than a larger business.

Hourly rates for freelance bookkeepers vary depending on geographic location. Where a freelance bookkeeper in Massachusetts may charge about $43.40, a freelance bookkeeper in Mississippi may charge about $29.21. Rates also depend on where you’re located within the state. A freelancer in Boston, MA may make more than a freelancer in Rockport, MA. 

However, this can change based upon the frequency of your interaction with a client. If you’re working with a client once, your rates should be higher than a client or business you work with on a regular basis, because frequent clients often require less work than clients you see one time or annually.
You can check the average bookkeeper hourly rate by state here under the geographic location tab.

Finding Your  Niche

Finding a bookkeeping niche can help to market your business, find a good clientele, and allow you to focus your time and energy on learning how to manage finances for a specific sector. Pick the perfect accounting niche for your business by determining what your strengths are, what you’re interested in, what topics you have a background in,  what areas are most profitable, etc. 

Some examples include catering toward:

  • Law firms 
  • Engineering firms
  • Local bookkeeping
  • Construction and trades
  • Nonprofit bookkeeping
  • Real estate
  • Medical bookkeeping

Establishing a niche will help to get your business off the ground and stabilize your income: it is one of the best ways to find and develop new clientele.

Next Steps

Establishing a new business is never easy and takes time. Being patient, setting goals, sticking to a schedule, and marketing yourself and your business are all essential to achieving long-term success in freelance bookkeeping no matter what you seek to get out of it. Keep putting in the time and effort!

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