BookkeepingIf you are good at crunching numbers and keeping organized records, you could be a great bookkeeper.  Bookkeepers maintain records of expenditures, sales, sales tax collected, inventories, expense accounts, etc.  All businesses need to maintain certain records that the government requires or that lenders may ask for when the business needs a loan.  Many businesses outsource this task to an outside bookkeeper, and that’s where you come in.

The Good

If you like to organize and multitask, you will like this job.  You’ll have plenty to keep track of and can take pride in keeping neat, accurate records.

The Bad

There’s no room for error in this job.  Businesses are counting on you to keep accurate records.  You’ll need to keep up with current accounting practices and get some experience before you can charge big bucks.  You’ll also have to deal with many different types of businesses, which can all have varying learning curves.

Education / Skills required

You’ll need some basic bookkeeping and accounting knowledge to get started.  I recommend looking for classes or certificates at local community colleges.  Getting certified as a CPA (certified public accountant) will greatly improve your chances of being hired.

Equipment / Tools required

Most records are stored on computers these days rather than filing cabinets.  Make sure you have a decent computer with lots of hard drive space for storing all these records.  You should buy some up-to-date accounting software, such as QuickBooks, and learn how to use it.  (Note: QuickBooks is free to try online.)  Having the right software will greatly simplify your record-keeping tasks.


You can run this business from your home, although having an office for clients to visit you would be a plus.  Start out from home and if most of your clients want to do things face-to-face, consider renting an office space.

Startup costs

Up-front costs will include a computer, accounting or bookkeeping software, and some training/education (if you don’t already have these).

You’ll also need to pay for advertising, such as ads in the yellow pages, fliers, business cards, etc.

How to start

Contact local chambers of commerce to research businesses in your area.  Find out about new companies and small businesses, which are the businesses most likely to need your services.  Contact business associations in your area and advertise in their newsletters.  Hand out business cards whenever you can and ask satisfied clients to spread the word.

Potential clients

Your most likely clients will be small businesses.  Large companies can afford to keep a full-time bookkeeper on staff, so they are less likely to outsource their bookkeeping.  Therefore, focus your efforts on new and small companies.


Charge an hourly fee for your services.  Obviously you can charge more depending on your experience.  When you’re first starting out, research what other bookkeeping services are charging in your area.

Further reading