How to Become a Virtual Bookkeeper with No Experience in 2023 (interviews included)
Want to learn how to become a virtual bookkeeper with no experience?
We asked Ben Robinson, an accounting and bookkeeping expert trainer with over 23 years’ experience running his own practice and training bookkeepers from scratch about how to start a bookkeeping business with no experience.
Ben knows what it takes to learn bookkeeping, find great clients, and build a successful bookkeeping business even if you’re a complete beginner. Finding great bookkeepers to hire for his business wasn’t as easy as he’d hoped. So he decided to build his bookkeeping team from the ground up teaching them everything himself.
Ben says, “I set out to train my own great bookkeeping staff. For over ten years, I developed a program that helped raise up great bookkeepers.”
We also asked Callie Sitek and Amy McLaughry, two of his bookkeeping students about their experiences learning bookkeeping.
Keep reading to find out what it really takes to be a bookkeeper, and get answers to questions like:
- What does a bookkeeper do?
- How to know you’ll make a great bookkeeper?
- Do I have time to be a bookkeeper as a busy mom?
- How much can you make as a bookkeeper?
- Can I become a part-time virtual bookkeeper?
- What qualifications do you need to be a bookkeeper?
- Can I teach myself bookkeeping?
- How do I start virtual bookkeeping with no experience?
- How can I find clients as a remote bookkeeper?
Ok, let’s get started!
Find out if you’ll make a great bookkeeper with these 3 free trainings. This high-paying profession isn’t for everyone. Is it right for you?
What does a bookkeeper do?
Ben: That’s a great question and one I get asked a lot. Bookkeepers can serve business owners in many ways. At the core of a great bookkeeper's service offering is:
- Recording, classifying and reconciling financial transactions
- Preparing financial reports
- Helping to maintain bookkeeping sanity within the business. This one is the oddball and can take on many forms beyond basic bookkeeping.
Some additional services bookkeepers may offer include:
- bill paying
- financial analysis
- financial benchmarking
- the list goes on and on
How to know you’ll make a great bookkeeper
Ben: You do NOT need to have any previous accounting or bookkeeping experience to be a great bookkeeper. In fact, less than 10% of my bookkeeping students had ANY previous experience in bookkeeping.
Great bookkeepers who go on to start and grow successful bookkeeping businesses share some common characteristics. I go into more detail about them in the first free training class.
These are the must-haves for success in bookkeeping:
- You're ready and willing to learn new skills (like bookkeeping, software, and running a business).
- You're an honest, trustworthy person who wants to help small business owners.
- You want more freedom and flexibility in your schedule.
Do I have time to be a bookkeeper as a busy mom?
Ben: Yes. Traditional bookkeepers (as opposed to the “virtual” bookkeepers we train) have little flexibility with the job.
We teach the opposite approach helping people to start and grow a successful, flexible and VIRTUAL bookkeeping business. Setting the bookkeeping business up the right way leads to a flexible situation where the bookkeeper controls every aspect of their business, including where they work, when they work, and with whom they work.
What is the minimum amount of time you need to devote to a bookkeeping businesss on a daily basis?
For instance, could a mom with a small baby or several children start doing this for just a few hours a day?
Ben: This is a great full or part-time business for a stay at home mom with kids. I suggest, at a minimum, that someone has 12-15 hours per week to devote to their bookkeeping business.
How much can you make as a bookkeeper?
Most bookkeepers earn around $300 per client per month on average in most cases.
Ben: When done the right way, a great bookkeeper should earn $60+ per hour once they are established and familiar with their craft of bookkeeping.
Can I become a part-time virtual bookkeeper?
Ben: A bookkeeper normally earns $60+ per hour once they’re established and familiar with their craft of bookkeeping. Part or full time; this is a great, in-demand business.
Another great aspect is that a stay-at-home mom can start part-time and then move to full-time once her kids are older.
By becoming a truly “great” bookkeeper, she will have no problems gaining all the clients she wants. The only limiting factor is the amount of time she can dedicate to running the business.
What qualifications do you need to be a bookkeeper?
You don’t need any official qualifications, certifications, or degree to get a job as a bookkeeper or start a bookkeeping business. Many bookkeepers got entry-level bookkeeping jobs starting off as administrative assistants who also did the company bookkeeping.
To start a bookkeeping business with plenty of happy clients, Ben recommends learning from someone who knows how to do that very well.
Ben: I don’t know of any other business that requires:
- no formal education
- no large investment
- no full-time commitment
and still can yield such great results.
Great bookkeepers are invaluable to business owners. Most of the time, they are viewed as the business owners' most trusted advisor. The reason is simple: great bookkeepers provide real VALUE to business owners.
Bookkeeping is a respectable profession. It's been around hundreds of years. It's always in demand (every business is REQUIRED to keep bookkeeping records).
Can I teach myself bookkeeping?
Amy (a BL graduate): I did a lot of research to determine if there was a way I could do it on my own and not have to pay the fee (frugal!).
And after more research and learning about what it would take to do this on my own, I determined that the ability to help me learn how to market a business which I had never done, the course was going to be it’s worth in gold.
The Greatest Value in Bookkeeper Launch
It’s designed for beginners in bookkeeping and business and streamlined to help you learn easily and quickly with plenty of:
- Coaching and support with experienced bookkeepers, business experts, and lawyers, so you’ll always have the answers you need.
- Practice exercises, projects, and missions so you’ll look like a pro in front of your clients.
You continue to have access to the course and community even after you complete it which is so helpful if you have questions when you start working with clients.
How do I start virtual bookkeeping with no experience?
You can learn the basics of how to become a bookkeeper for free, but as a complete beginner, it’s hard to figure it all out on your own.
Access to teacher support, bookkeeping and legal expert support, and other experienced bookkeepers is a must-have if you’re starting out with no experience in bookkeeping or running a business.
Amy: Ben is a great teacher. He has hired a lot of bookkeepers and had to train a lot of bookkeepers, and he knows what he’s doing.
He provides the material via video, and there may be examples to help explain what he’s talking about, or demos in the software for you to follow along with or you can just watch him do it.
You can print off handouts and follow along while taking notes if you want. He does a good job of providing a variety of learning techniques so you can find what works best for you.
The First Step
Ben: Watch these free training sessions. They’re all content (no marketing or sales) and give a thorough, candid overview of bookkeeping as a professional business. I designed these classes so that my students can determine for themselves if they are a good fit for this business model.
How can I find clients as a remote bookkeeper?
Is finding clients as a new bookkeeper hard?
Ben: I sound like a broken record, but it’s worth repeating: when done the RIGHT way, it’s not hard. Great bookkeepers are magnets to business owners. Regular bookkeepers are not. If you set up a traditional bookkeeping business and are an average bookkeeper, it’s more difficult to get clients and have a steady workflow.
However, great bookkeepers have all the clients they want, and their workflow is consistent throughout the year. Clients must have their bookkeeping done monthly, which means bookkeepers have work month after month.
But, you must go about getting clients in the proper manner. Old school marketing and sales tactics are just that: old school. Worn out. Ineffective.
Our training teaches the right way to develop a marketing SYSTEM that delivers clients: as many or as few as you want.
How fast can a new bookkeeper find clients?
Callie (6 months after finishing Bookkeeper Launch): I just recently hit my client goal I set at the beginning, but I've now hired some other moms to help out with the work on a part-time basis.
Amy: For some it’s easy, and for others like me, we have to work a little harder. I was officially open for business in August and signed my first client right before Thanksgiving, so around 3-4 months. Some students have gotten their first client lined up before finishing the course. It took longer than I wanted, but I think I found the perfect client for me.
How long does the Bookkeeper Launch course take?
It’s a self-paced course and you have lifetime access to it, the updates, the support, the community, and live Q & A sessions.
You can do your bookkeeper training in 10 weeks or at your own pace.
Do bookkeepers have to meet clients, or can you do everything from home?
Ben: For great bookkeepers who provide a virtual service: you can do everything from your home or your local coffee shop…it's YOUR call.
As I mentioned previously: traditional bookkeepers do NOT have this flexibility of working from home. In that case, the bookkeeper must meet clients.
I teach my students how NOT to serve clients based on their geographical location.
What do you need besides a laptop and an internet connection to get started as a bookkeeper?
Ben: Those are two of the main pieces of technology needed to start a bookkeeping business. The other item is a reliable scanner as all the work you perform will be shared by internet.
The second free training session goes through EVERY one of these pieces of technology and software you’ll need as a virtual bookkeeper.
How much do you need to invest in starting a bookkeeping business?
Ben: Not a lot of money.
Most of the pieces of technology most people already own (as previously discussed). The biggest investment is in training and time to devote to becoming a skilled, great bookkeeper.
Learn how to become a bookkeeper at home
Watch the free training sessions and find out more about:
- the difference between good and great bookkeepers
- the mindset you need to be successful as a bookkeeper
- a peek into a real bookkeeping business
- feedback from a successful graduate of the course
Got a question or comment about how to become a virtual bookkeeper with no experience? Let us know in the comments section below.
I really enjoyed reading your interview with Ben Robinson. I have a question regarding getting clients; how would I go about getting clients in a virtual setting? Would I need to advertise online, for instance? Will Bookkeeper Launch help me find clients?
My second question, I know from reading the previous comments that you don’t need to be licensed to be a bookkeeper. However, do you still receive any kind of certification or a certificate?
Glad you enjoyed it. 🙂
The Bookkeeper Launch course doesn’t provide you with clients, but it very thoroughly teaches you how to get clients that are a good fit for you. Ben talks about getting clients in the third video of his free course. If you want to read my review of Bookkeeper Launch, there also you can get a general idea about the depth of the course in regards to getting clients.
About certification: there are quizzes and exams, and you do get a certificate of completion on passing the finals verified by a third-party company, Credly. You can put the certificate on your website, social media, etc. It is clickable so people clicking it can see what you have done to get it.
Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions,
Thank you for this informative post on Free Online Bookkeeping Courses. I had no idea that good bookkeepers are so hard to find. It is amazing to me that you can make so much money doing this without having previous bookkeeping or accounting experience. I am not a stay at home mom, but I have always been someone that likes to play with numbers. At one time, I thought about being a tax preparer but don’t like the thought of meeting with so many clients. Would this training be appropriate for a retired male gentleman who worked in management over thirty years and is looking for part time work?
If you are ready to learn new things and put in the work, Rick, then sure!
As far as not having previous experience goes, it is possible to make such money because of the well structured course and the way Ben teaches. He teaches everything from the basics up, teaches you all the systems and strategies he learned over the years and covers both the bookkeeping aspects and the business aspects. He makes sure there is enough time for everyone to get their questions answered and… he loves what he is doing.
In this free three-session course, Ben lets you in on what bookkeepers really do, what kind of characteristics you need, etc and makes you think about the whole thing to see if it is really a good fit for you. If you think you would be able to make it work for you, then you can sign up for his full course. But either way, by the end of three sessions, you have learned a lot about bookkeeping and a bit about yourself as well.
As far as your dislike of having to meet so many clients, this course is geared towards making the whole process virtual! So how does it sound?
I am attracted to the virtual side of this, the work from home aspect of it and the fact that it looks like it is a real profession. One question though: how much math do you need to know? I can balance my checkbook and do other basic things like that. But is that enough?
Sounds like that should be enough, Patti. Basic math is generally enough to be able to become a great bookkeeper since most of the needed math skills are dealt with in the course.
Hope that answers your question!
I agree with you that bookkeeping is not for everyone. I do believe a lot of people would be great at this field. Especially people who are good with their finances and good record keeping.
It seems like a great lucrative business for people. It’s nice to know that you don’t have to actually physically meet clients and you can work any time of the day.
I have a few questions, Do you get a license after the courses? How long does it take to get a bookkeeping business going and how do you find clients? Thanks for this great info.
Yes, Evie, the virtual aspect of it is one of the main attractions from my point of view.
This free course gives you the opportunity to understand what building your own virtual bookkeeping business really entails and whether it is the right fit for you. The next course after that is a 10 week interactive course which teaches you all the nut and bolts. You do not get a license, but believe it or not, bookkeepers aren’t required to have one.
How long does it take to get rolling? One of the aims of the course is to get one client by the time you finish the 10 week course. After that it just depends on how much you put into it, whether you are working part time or full time, etc
As far as how to get clients – there is a whole section on that in the course. 🙂
Great post Robin and I’m glad I went through the interview.
I know a few people that would gladly like to earn some extra money and with all the opportunities that the internet has given to people, including stay-at-home moms, it’s a no brainer for most people looking for work or another income to a least look into it!
Another great point Ben Robinson made is that like any career or profession, the good one’s will get repeat business and keep clients and the people who are mediocre and don’t treat it as a real profession will not get repeat business. I always have to remind myself of that if I start to get ahead of myself!
Actually, Stephen, that is kind of Ben’s whole aim – to make “great” bookkeepers. You really get into that mode when you are listening to him, it’s an infectious enthusiasm. And it solves many problems naturally. 😀
Of course it is hard work though. You can’t forget that part!