Can you really learn to be a bookkeeper online, even with no classroom time?
Twenty years ago, the answer to this question would’ve been no. The only way to specialize in a profession was to go off to college or university and study before starting the role you wanted to do.
But now, that’s all changed.
Thanks to the rise of internet-based learning opportunities, the need for a formal classroom has diminished over the years, lowering the barriers to entry for those wishing to get into a specialist profession like bookkeeping. Today, not only can you tap into a vast database of knowledge through a simple Google search, but online training and courses are making it easier than ever to learn exactly what you need to know to start your career.
Bookkeeping, in particular, has seen a rise in access to online training. This is because bookkeeping can now be run as a virtual business, with clients and contractors never actually needing to meet in person.
In this article, we will look at the online Bookkeeping course Bookkeeping Launch, provided by Bookkeepers.com, to see how it shapes up against going to college and studying for this exciting profession.
What is Bookkeeper Launch?
Ben Robinson's course Bookkeeper Launch teaches the skills of virtual bookkeeping as well as the required business building skills. It enables you to build your own online bookkeeping business so that you can run it from anywhere and do your bookkeeping around your family's schedule. It is the only proven system that helps you start a 100% virtual bookkeeping business from scratch.
The course’s step-by-step bookkeeping blueprint combines:
- 21st Century Bookkeeping Skills
- Efficient Systems
- Marketing to Attract High-Quality Clients
- In addition to the system that has helped over 11,000 women and men just like you, Bookkeeper Launch also includes your exclusive membership to the World’s #1 largest, most active community of virtual bookkeeping pros.
We know what you’re thinking, can a person with no formal post-secondary education really learn everything they need from an online course like Bookkeeper Launch? Is it still worth investing in formal education?
Let’s look at the aspects of the Bookkeeper Launch course vs learning bookkeeping at college, and the pros and cons of each:
The Financial Investment Needed to Become a Bookkeeper
The average cost of tuition for the academic year 2021-22 for public four-year schools came to $10,740 for in-state students and $27,560 for out-of-state students, according to this Bankrate guide. In contrast, Bookkeeper Launch costs $2499 or $2999 (alternatively 12 payments of $249 or $299) depending on whether you take the Pro or Premier course.
Not only is college an exponentially bigger investment than Bookkeeper Launch, but it could take you years to pay back that debt. In contrast, many Bookkeeper Launch graduates make back their investment within a few months.
What's the Time Commitment for Learning Bookkeeping?
Depending on what kind of diploma, certification, or degree you’re going to school for, you can expect to spend 2-4 years going to a traditional college.
Bookkeeper Launch is a robust course with hours of training and exercises. The course typically takes about ten weeks to complete, but it is self-paced, so some students may take less or more time.
While neither avenue is a “get rich overnight” scenario, with Bookkeeper Launch, you can feasibly get your bookkeeping business up and running within a few months.
The Advantages of Studying Bookkeeping at Home
Although many colleges are introducing online classes into their platforms, more often than not, you will still need to show up to a classroom for at least some of your lessons. You get limited control over your schedule, and even as a part-time student, you may find that classes interfere with your work schedule and personal life. Bookkeeper Launch is entirely self-paced, and you can access the training materials whenever you want, making it ideal for parents or people who are also working a full-time job.
The Support of a Community of Bookkeepers
One thing that is nice about college is that you have access to a live teacher throughout the lessons. Outside of the classroom, the teachers may hold office hours for students to come and ask them questions. Although Bookkeeper Launch classes are pre-recorded, there is a strong support system in place for students who need help with the material. There are regular Q & A sessions twice weekly for those who need help with clients and course material, as well as monthly “Legal Lunch” sessions for assistance on the legal side of bookkeeping.
Bookkeeper Launch also offers unlimited email support and a private Circle group where students can ask questions and seek advice from the moderators, the Student Support Team, and fellow bookkeepers.
The Disadvantages of Studying Bookkeeping at Home
Some corporations want to see a diploma or degree on your resume before they hire you, and this is one area where going to a traditional college can have an advantage.
Bookkeeper Launch offers a certificate of completion that you can put on your resume, but it may not carry the same weight as a college’s formal degree or diploma.
That said, there are plenty of small businesses out there who don’t care about university degrees and just want to hire someone they know will get the job done right. Bookkeeper Launch still carries enough credentials to help you land high-paying clients.
How Much Money Can You Make as a Beginner Bookkeeper?
While salaries are wide-ranging, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of bookkeepers in the US is $41,230, with over 10% of bookkeepers even earning $62,410 or more.
Bookkeeper Launch graduates’ earnings can also vary greatly, depending on how much they can or want to work. For example, one stay-at-home mom makes $1200 per month as a bookkeeper as a side-hustle, while another course graduate makes $6000/month with their business working full-time. (You can find interviews with some of Ben's students in the Work-at-Home Spotlight section.)
Do College Bookkeeper Courses Guarantee Success?
While neither college nor Bookkeeper Launch can guarantee you will be a successful bookkeeper after graduating, there are some pretty significant differences between the two avenues:
- College gives you the credentials but not necessarily an avenue to pursue once you graduate.
- Bookkeeper Launch prepares you for success by not just teaching how to be a bookkeeper but how to network and market your business. You become much more than a bookkeeper with Bookkeeper Launch; you become an entrepreneur.
It's Your Move, Start Your Bookkeeping Career Today
Looking into future employment practices, traditional in-classroom colleges and universities are no longer going to be strictly required to become a professional in most industries. Bookkeeping is definitely a field where you can learn everything you need from online certification.
Depending on your long-term career goals, it likely makes more sense to learn from the comfort of your home than to go to traditional college classes.
If you want to learn more about Bookkeeper Launch, be sure to read our comprehensive review.
You can get started with Ben’s free 3-session introductory video course if you want to get a better feel of what it is all about.
What do you think of college vs Bookkeeper Launch? Have you ever considered substituting college with an online course?
Share your thoughts with us in the comments!