Are you looking for a lucrative form of self-employment? Some sort of service that lots of people need? Has virtual bookkeeping ever crossed your mind?
Does it fit the bill? Yes!
Because every business under the sun needs to balance their books – but few have the time, know-how, or interest.
And with freelancers rising up to make up more of the working population (there nearly 4 million more freelancers in the U.S. today than there were five years ago), the need for virtual bookkeepers is higher than ever.
Better still, breaking into this industry isn't as hard as you may think. For example, did you know that you don’t need any sort of University degree to be a great bookkeeper?
Having said that, bookkeeping isn’t for just everyone, either.
If you’re curious about starting a virtual home-business, there are 9 telltale signs that you would make a great bookkeeper:
1. You are a Caring “People-Person”
CPA Ben Robinson maintains that the #1 trait of successful bookkeepers is being a personable and caring person. That’s because bookkeeping is all about authentic networking and forming professional relationships.
This trait means that you will form a connection with your clients and provide fantastic service because you’re able to effectively communicate what you’re doing within their business and help them by making recommendations on what they can do to make their business better.
2. You Have an Iron-Clad Work Ethic
Work ethic isn’t specific to bookkeeping, but it’s definitely a requirement if you plan on starting any serious business and hope to be successful. This means you have the determination to get the job done properly, and will do what it takes to exceed expectations.
Proper bookkeeping means keeping certain deadlines while handling sensitive financial information, so you must be dependable and trustworthy.
3. “Organization” isn’t Just a Skill to You, it’s a Hobby
I may exaggerate a bit by calling it a hobby, but if you’re a naturally organized person, bookkeeping is a great gig for you. Juggling spreadsheets and keeping transactions or other paperwork well-filed will be second nature to you.
And it's incredibly important because if your client gets audited, you’ll need to know where everything is and be able to support all the information claimed in your books!
(Side note: if you’re an organization junkie you will love this post with organization hacks for your small office!)
4. No Small Detail Escapes You
Attention to detail is another crucial skill that can make or break a bookkeeper. You’re the kind of person who goes crazy when the numbers don’t add up 100% and will go comb through every piece of paper and line item until you find the missing puzzle piece.
You prioritize accuracy over speed and you believe that nothing is worth doing unless you’re doing it right. (This is where your inner perfectionist can roam a bit more freely!)
5. You’re Willing to Learn New Software
You can’t just keep all your client's books in an Excel spreadsheet! And while you don’t need to be a computer genius, you can’t be afraid to learn new bookkeeping software to balance the books.
Some of the most common examples are Quickbooks, Xero or Freshbooks, but there are dozens of different software programs that cater to different business needs. Depending on what your client prefers, you may need to get familiar with a couple of different programs.
6. You’re Not Afraid of Numbers
It is a job that deals in numbers so you knew that math had to crop up here somewhere. But despite popular belief, it’s not as important as you think. Although you don’t have to be a math whiz, you can’t be afraid of numbers either.
Math is a big part of bookkeeping but it involves basic skills like addition, subtraction, division, multiplication, and percentages. Provided you have a standard calculator, you should be able to solve the kind of math problems that come up in bookkeeping!
7. You Have a “Can-Do” Attitude
Your positive attitude means you have no problem seeking out clients; you believe in the services you have to offer and your positivity makes you very likable to prospective clients!
Also, every client’s business is unique and there may be times in your bookkeeping career when you come up against a new challenge and the process for overcoming it isn’t always “by the numbers”. This is when you rely on your resourcefulness and can-do attitude to find the solution!
8. You’re Willing to Invest in Yourself (and Have the Time and Means)
Many people don’t realize that you don’t actually need to have a University degree or be a CPA to become a virtual bookkeeper. But that doesn’t mean you don’t need proper training.
There are some fantastic, online trainings available, one of which being Ben Robinson’s Bookkeeper Launch, but it is a significant financial investment.
But just the financial investment alone isn’t enough to get your business rolling. You have to put in the time to learn the material, and this can take weeks or even months depending on your learning speed and time availability. Virtual bookkeeping is not a good fit for someone who is looking to start bringing in tons of income overnight.
9. The Idea of Building and Running Your Own Virtual Bookkeeper Business Excites You
Your motivation to grow a thriving bookkeeping business is arguably the most important factor of all. Because no matter what kind of business you start, you need to have a solid foundation for starting it, or your “why”.
Perhaps it’s to break free of your nine-to-five or have the flexibility to spend more time at home to raise your kids. But whatever that reason is, it has to be strong enough to see you through the challenges of starting and running your business.
You can get all the training and certification in the world, but if you don’t have the drive to do the work and push yourself through the setbacks, you won’t make a good bookkeeper.
Ben Robinson's Signs You'll Make a Great Virtual Bookkeeper
Since we first published this post, Ben Robinson of Bookkeeper Launch has refined his list in this post. It's hard to go wrong with a list from someone who's trained over 14,000 virtual bookkeepers, so we're including it here.
Use this list in conjunction with ours, and you'll have a strong sense of whether virtual bookkeeping is the right work-from-home career for you.
How Do I Start Virtual Bookkeeping?
Training is vital for any virtual bookkeeper. You can find bookkeeping courses at many colleges, but these have drawbacks such as the expense, schedules, and other course requirements. Also, college programs seldom teach the vital skills needed to create and sustain a thriving virtual bookkeeping business.
Ben Robinson's Bookkeeper Launch has it all, at a fraction of the price. You'll learn everything from study hacks to make the most of your learning time to how to set up a website. The course covers no-cost marketing techniques and how to choose clients you'll love working with. You'll be able to do all the practical bookkeeping and create solid systems and processes so your business runs smoothly.
You can read a deeper comparison of Bookkeeper Launch vs. college here.
Becoming a virtual bookkeeper is a skill that can be learned like anything else. But if you have most of these characteristics, you already have a strong foundation on which to build your success!
And success is a common theme among virtual bookkeepers! We have witnessed success story after success story from men and women from all different backgrounds who have started a virtual bookkeeping business from scratch and succeeded!
If you’re interested in reading about the experiences of some of these work-at-home business owners, check out these interviews:
- Randy Ballen, who started a virtual bookkeeping business at age 50!
- Jackie Snaza, who took her previous basic accounting experience to start her own business
- Holly Ferris, a businesswoman of 15 years who wanted a change and launched a second business as a virtual bookkeeper
- Amy McLaughry, who is thriving as a bookkeeper more than two years after launching her business
- Caillie Sitek, who made her bookkeeping biz successful within six months of finishing the course.
- Justin Boynton, who’s bookkeeping biz helped him transition from retail banker to a work-at-home Dad
All six of these business owners were able to succeed through taking Ben Robinson’s Bookkeeper Business Launch (now Bookkeeper Launch) training. If you’re curious to learn more about the training, read our most recent comprehensive review of the course.
What about you? Do you show signs of a great bookkeeper? Do you have any questions about these 9 traits? Let us know in the comments!