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.”
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!
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.