If you love numbers and math and actually enjoy tracking data in spreadsheets, a career as a bookkeeper can be a great fit for moms — especially since these high-paying jobs are often available on a part-time basis, as a work-at home side gig. Some bookkeepers earn $75 per hour while working from home, and making their own hours.
Many bookkeepers find work with a single organization while others work as freelance bookkeepers for a handful of clients. The high level of skill required for this career has also paved the way for healthy wages that can vary depending on the type of bookkeeping position you accept.
Before you decide to look for work-from-home bookkeeping job opportunities, it’s smart to learn more about the job and what it entails.
Keep reading to learn what bookkeepers do, the skills they require, and how much they get paid.
How to become a bookkeeper and start a business (or find a job)
- What is bookkeeping?
- Who needs bookkeepers?
- What kinds of tasks do bookkeepers do?
- How much money can you make as a bookkeeper?
- What kinds of skills or degrees do you need to become a bookkeeper?
- What degree or qualifications do you need to be a bookkeeper?
- How to become a bookkeeper
- How to start a bookkeeper business
- What is Bookkeeper Launch?
- How to find bookkeeping jobs if you don't want to start a business
What is bookkeeping?
In a lot of ways, “bookkeeping” is exactly what it sounds like it would be. It is the act of “keeping books” — or keeping track of financial transactions for a business, individual or organization.
Traditionally, bookkeepers are the professionals charged with creating and tracking financial documents for the company they work for. These workers record financial details, update financial statements, and read over financial documents for accuracy. If there is a problem or miscalculation within an organization’s accounting or books, it is the bookkeeper’s job to find and fix it.
While many large companies employ a bookkeeper full-time, smaller companies often hire freelance bookkeepers to help with finances and accounting. Many individual entrepreneurs also hire virtual bookkeepers to help them stay on top of their cash flow and prepare quarterly income tax payments. Some individuals hire bookkeepers.
Who needs bookkeepers?
Bookkeepers are hired by every single kind of business, non-profit and government agency. Many larger organizations hire full-time bookkeepers on staff. Many accountants, CPAs and tax preparers also work with bookkeepers to help support their clients. You can find full-time, work-at-home and flexible bookkeeping positions at FlexJobs, a job board started by a mom who recognized the need for at-home, highly paid careers for women.
Freelance bookkeepers and those who own their own bookkeeping businesses often report that the variety and types of business and organizations they support is one of the best parts of bookkeeping.
Erin Bardsley, a single mom in Vermont, says that she loves that she helps a bakery, yoga studio, and an arts non-profit — especially since they are local businesses in her local community.
What kinds of tasks do bookkeepers do?
While the exact role of a bookkeeper can depend on the specific job they’re doing, these professionals focus on tasks that help businesses and individuals keep their finances organized. Common job duties bookkeepers perform include:
- Learn and use bookkeeping software, databases, and spreadsheets, including Excel, Quickbooks, and Freshbooks
- Enter important financial transactions into the appropriate bookkeeping software
- Monitor and keep track of client payments
- Keep track of business expenses via bookkeeping software
- Reconcile discrepancies found in financial records
- Produce financial reports
- Help clients keep track of receipts that document their expenses
- Check financial records for accuracy
- Help clients stay on top of their taxes, including withholding or quarterly tax payments
Erin Bardsley was a newly divorced single mom in Vermont, and needed a new career. Today she earns $70 per hour and is killing it as a bookkeeper:
Listen to Houston single mom Toni Reid talk about how she launched a bookkeeper business with no experience, and a very small budget, and now enjoys full flexibility, a high income and time with her kid:
A bookkeeper who is self-employed running her own bookkeeping business may take on a broader range of duties than their peers. They will likely have to track their own finances including income and expenses, for example. They will also be required to make their own tax payments and make sure their business remains in compliance with local and state law.
Self-employed bookkeepers will also need to learn how to market their businesses to attract and keep new clients — not to mention keep their own books!
How much money can you make as a bookkeeper?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that, as of 2019, bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks earned a median annual salary of $41,230 per year.
However, freelance bookkeepers earn $20 to $40 on average, with some charging $75 per hour, and others report earning $150 and more per hour. On a full-time schedule of 2,000 hours per year, that means top bookkeeper businesses can bring in $300,000 per year.
What skills do you need to be a bookkeeper?
One of the beautiful things about owning your own bookkeeping business is that you do not need any specific certification, degree or formal training to get started.
Coursework through a community college, or online courses like Bookkeeper Launch will teach you the basics to help you get that first job.
These skills are required to be a successful bookkeeper, whether you have your own business, or get a staff job with another company:
- Attention to detail
- Problem solving
- Ability to see the big picture
- Facility with technology
- Commitment to technology
- Great communicators (clients trust you with their bank account information, and trust vendors who respond quickly and thoroughly)
- For entrepreneurs: Good at networking, and gaining the trust of new clients
What degree or qualifications do you need to be a bookkeeper?
I elaborate on what you will learn in Bookkeeper Launch below, but most bookkeeper clients will look for some or all of these specific, hard skills:
- Spreadsheets — typically Microsoft Excel
- Quickbooks, or other popular accounting / bookkeeping software
- Basic accounting
- Basic understanding of bookkeeping ethics and law
What personality traits do bookkeepers have?
In addition to technical skill, certain personality traits can also help you stand out:
- Having excellent attention to detail is a must for bookkeepers since they need to ensure accuracy of financial transactions and a wide range of important figures.
- Computer and math skills are also required since you’ll be computing numbers regularly with the help of bookkeeping software programs.
- The ability to communicate effectively is important since you’ll need to interact and discuss financial matters with either an employer or your clients.
How to become a bookkeeper
Don't have any of these skills? Good news is that you can easily learn, no matter your formal education. Moms with no college degree, no accounting skills have built successful, six-figure bookkeeping businesses.
How to start a bookkeeper business
Sometimes, bookkeepers work several years for an employer before they branch out on their own. This allows them to gain experience and learn everything they need to know about the job before they take on the full responsibility of individual clients.
What does a bookkeeping business do?
A bookkeeper business typically works with either a small business, or accountant clients to make sure that the end client's income and expense records are organized, and accounted for. This helps the client with tax filings, and to understand their business operations, so they can make good decisions on how to grow and change their company.
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How much money does a bookkeepers business make?
Freelance bookkeepers earn $20 to $40 on average, with some charging $75 per hour, and others report earning $150 and more per hour. On a full-time schedule of 2,000 hours per year, that means top bookkeeper businesses can bring in $300,000 per year.
How do I learn bookkeeping from home to start a business? What is Bookkeeper Launch?
We already mentioned how you may not need a college degree to find work as a bookkeeper. Typically, you only need experience in accounting to find entry-level work. Many employers are also willing to hire inexperienced bookkeepers provided they have the basic math and software skills.
However, thousands of moms have gone through Bookkeeper Launch, an online video course and community to learn everything you need to know to successfully launch a bookkeeper business, including both the hard skills, selling and marketing, as well as mindset blocks that can hold you back from launching and growing into the 6-figure, at-home career that many moms dream of.
Bookkeeper Launch issues a certificate of completion, which is both helpful in marketing your new business, as well as giving you the confidence to seek out and book clients.
Is it hard to start a bookkeeping business?
The process laid out by Bookkeeper Launch is simple:
- Decide you want to own your own bookkeeper business.
- Learn the basics of bookkeeping in 90 days.
- Set up a website with basic marketing materials (Bookkeeper Launch shows you how, step-by-step).
- Start networking in your community. Afraid? Imposter syndrome? The course helps you work through these very normal fears. Successful clients report that the Bookkeeper Launch closed Facebook community is especially helpful in inspiring new bookkeepers to launch and think big — as well as provide tactical and emotional support as you start and grow.
- Celebrate! You did it!
To market yourself to potential clients, it is important to have attractive social media accounts, as well as a simple website that showcases who you are, and what you offer.
Find a domain name now for your new bookkeeper business, before someone else grabs it!
Here is a detailed list of legal, financial and technological tools you will need to incorporate, insure and scale your bookkeeper business.
What is Bookkeeper Launch?
Bookkeeper Launch is an online course launched by Ben Robinson, a certified public accountant, and owner of his own CPA firm.
His website says that he has helped more than 4,000 people start their own bookkeeping business since 2001. The current course includes video lessons (with closed caption, audio and downloadable transcripts), worksheets, templates, quizzes, interviews, role-play scenarios, case studies, and checklists — and a dynamic closed Facebook community only for Bookkeeper Launch clients.
In short, this is the most popular and powerful course with tips for starting a bookkeeping business.
Here is what is inside Bookkeeper Launch:
Section 1 – 21st Century Bookkeeping Skills
- How to clearly understand the role of a bookkeeper for businesses today
- How to create beautiful financial reports that will blow clients' minds (compared to the ugly spreadsheets delivered by most of your competitors)
- Everything you need to know about:
- balance sheets
- income statements
- statements of cash flows
- Ben's proven system of “clean up” the books of even the messiest, most chaotic client (and how to brace yourself for clients' ecstatic reactions)
- How to give your client hope for a better financial future
- How to stay up-to-date on new bookkeeping technology and rules
Section 2 – How to get bookkeeping clients?
- The difference between busy vs breakthrough work — and how to use this lesson to make the big bucks
- Identify your ideal target market
- Craft sales copy and networking language that connects with your ideal target client
- How to get inside prospective clients minds to understand what they're REALLY looking for
- The #1 mistake people make with their business card (this costs them lots of clients)
- Word-for-word scripts to use at a networking events, conferences, on sales calls to build trust, get people to like you, and help you feel professional and confident!
- The secrets to coming across as confident in a professional setting (even if you feel terrified inside)
- Where to find high-quality clients
- How to price your services
Section 3 – Systems to Grow Your Bookkeeper Business
- Quick launch system to launch your business in less than one week — including a checklist to give you the confidence that you have covered everything before you open for business, including:
- Tax setup
- A list of licenses and permits required — and how and where to get them
- Tips on how to set up bank and merchant accounts to avoid mistakes that cost you money and headache
- How to onboard a client safely and smoothly
- “The Breakthrough Framework” for getting more done (in less time)
- Bookkkeeper lifestyle hacks to help you get more done in less time, and make more money so you can enjoy your new life.
Section 4 – Find and Grow Clients
- How to send proposals that prospective clients buy
- How to quickly setup a website by yourself
- Ben's simple follow-up system to make sure no interested prospect ever gets by
- How to build a bookkeeper business on referrals
- How to find clients online — including on LinkedIn without being a creep or getting banned by social media platforms.
Get a domain name now for your business.
Bookkeeper Launch Resource Library
You also get access to the extensive Bookkeeper Launch “Resource Library”, which includes guides, templates and worksheets you need to start your successful bookkeeping business:
- A detailed workbook to help you work through all of your bookkeeping practicals.
- Tested and proven templates for Proposals, Engagement Letters and other key marketing materials so you can be confident in your sales process
- Results-Oriented Checklists for your key systems to make sure you don't miss any important details
- Interviews with successful students on how they overcame key challenges in their journey so you don't have to run into the same pitfalls
- Study hacks to show you the most effective learning methods so you can acquire your new bookkeeping skills as quickly as possible
- All material library materials are based on what's working NOW for the most active and successful bookkeeper
- Special software and tool recommendations for a virtual bookkeeping business, so you can be efficient and maximize your free time
- Quizzes, tests and final exams so you've proven that you know what you're talking about
The Bookkeeper Launch Action Guide
This 41-point guide outlines the exact steps required to reach success.
Sound interesting? Get $300 off Bookkeeper Launch with code WSM300 >>
Bookkeeper Launch certificate of completion
While there is no actual bookkeeping certification required to run a bookkeeping business, Bookkeeper Launch does issue a certificate of completion, which is both helpful in marketing your new business, as well as giving you the confidence to seek out and book clients.
Also, QuickBooks Online and Xero both offer free certifications. These are not necessary to operate as a bookkeeper, but can be helpful in building your skills, and mentioning in your marketing to potential clients.
Bookkeeper Launch Premiere Private Coaching Group
For a premium fee, the Premiere membership level includes a private coaching group where you will receive a high-touch
Who is Bookkeeper Launch for?
The typical Bookkeeper Launch client is drawn to these benefits of owning a bookkeeping business:
- You want to boost your income (the average Bookkeeper Launch client reports earning $60 per hour).
- You want to work part-time and/or remotely from home — or anywhere in the world!
- You would enjoy helping other businesses and entrepreneurs grow and thrive
- You don’t need a fancy degree to get started
- You don't need a lot of money or time to invest in launching a new business.
How much does Bookkeeper Launch cost?
Bookkeeper Launch Pro costs $1,999.
The Pro program also has a payment plan of 12 payments of $199
Pay in full, and save $389 on the pro plan.
Bookkeeper Launch Premiere costs $2,999.
The Premiere program also has a payment plan of 12 payments of $299.
Pay in full, and save $589 on the premiere plan.
Ben Robinson, the founder (who you will meet in all the sales and course videos, and is immensely likable) is so confident that this course works, that he offers a 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee.
“If you aren’t completely satisfied with the program (for any reason whatsoever) you can request a full refund within the 30-day refund period.”Ben Robinson, Bookkeeper Launch founder
Here are some sneak peaks into the inside of Bookkeeper Launch:
How to find bookkeeping jobs if you don't want to start a business
If you’re looking for a bookkeeping job in your area, there are several strategies and tips for finding a part-time, full-time, virtual, or remote bookkeeping job.
The first is reaching out to local businesses and networking to see if you can connect with another business owner who has a need.
Also, make sure to update your LinkedIn profile to reflect your bookkeeping skills and desire for work. That way, you will show up in searches if someone looks for a bookkeeper in your area. Bookkeeper Launch has a whole section on finding jobs online, including specifically on LinkedIn.
If you’re looking for a work-at-home bookkeeping job specifically, you should also create a profile on FlexJobs.com. This website connects professionals with sought-after skills with employers who want to hire remote workers in their respective fields.
FlexJobs.com is one of the best platforms you can use to find bookkeeping work you can complete at home, whether you want to work as a freelancer or for a single employer. Remember to use FlexJobs promo code FLEXLIFE to get a discount.
Job market for bookkeepers?
While the job market for bookkeepers and accountants was projected to decline slightly over the next decade because technology makes it easier for individuals to do their own accounts, that may be changing as the economy quickly shifts, staff bookkeepers are being laid off and many more people are finding opportunities to build at-home business — all of which could benefit from a quality bookkeeper.
The bottom line
If you have a knack for math and spreadsheets, a career in bookkeeping might be an excellent fit for you and your family.
While traditional, full-time bookkeeping jobs may not be as plentiful as they once were, the recent rise in online entrepreneurship has made it so many more individual business owners are seeking bookkeepers to help them manage their finances.
Check out Bookkeeper Launch now to learn more about bookkeeping as a career. Get $300 off with code WSM300.
If you're great with words, detail and grammar, you may also be interested in a proofreading career, which can pay $15-$30 hour from home, on your schedule. Proofread Anywhere is a great online course that teaches you how to get started, land clients and run a proofreading business.
Holly Johnson is a financial expert, award-winning writer, and Indiana mother of two who is obsessed with frugality, budgeting and travel. Her personal finance articles have been published in the U. S. News, Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, and Life Hacker. Holly is founder of of the family finance resource, ClubThrifty.com, and is the co-author of Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You’ll Love. Learn more about Holly here.