How to start a bookkeeping business?
If you have a knack for numbers and a good head for organisation, starting a bookkeeping business might be the right choice for you. It’s also a very in-demand area. All businesses must keep bookkeeping records by law, and someone must do that for them.
Essentially, bookkeeping is about accounting – helping businesses balance their books.
Bookkeeping services fall into three primary categories: balance sheet, income statement, and statement of cash flow. When the financial year ends, and it’s time to submit taxes, all businesses need accurate records of their income and expenditure.
But there’s more
But there’s more to bookkeeping than this – most business owners don’t just want to know the numbers. They want to understand them, too. This means looking at assets, liabilities, equity, and profit and figuring out what they mean for the business.
As a result, a bookkeeping business offers the chance to help your clients grow their businesses by providing them with advice. It can be an enjoyable and fulfilling career path for the right person.
Starting any business in South Africa is simple. There are, however, several necessary steps that need to be followed to ensure you are compliant and successful.
First steps in starting your Bookkeeping Business
Decide on the type of business
Firstly, you will need to decide on the type of business you want to start. These types are sole proprietors, partnerships, and private or public companies. Each of these types has specific requirements associated with them.
For example, a partnership is a relationship between two or more persons who join together to carry out a trade, a business or a profession. It must also be remembered that a partnership is not a separate legal person or taxpayer. A sole proprietor, also known as a sole trader, is one of the most simplistic business structures. However, there are some risks associated with a sole trader. For example, there’s no legal separation between yourself and the business.
Once you have established the format of your business, and if you desire to form a company, you will need to register your company with CIPC. In addition, you will also be required to register with SARS as a provisional taxpayer, a VAT vendor, for Pay as you Earn and Standard Income Tax on Employees.
Protecting yourself and your business with insurance is one of the most critical aspects that are overlooked when setting up your own business. As a bookkeeper, it is highly recommended that you invest in some form of professional indemnity and business insurance. It is also recommended that you join a professional body (read more about it here.)
Irrespective of the type of business, opening a business bank account is imperative as you want to keep your business income and expenses separate from your finances.
The Business Plan
Now that you are ready to start your business, please set aside time to develop operational policies, procedures, and a business plan.
The business plan needs to cover the following aspects as a minimum:
- Executive summary
- Company description
- Product and services
- Market analysis
- Strategy and Implementation
- Organisational and management team
- Financial plans and projections
In bookkeeping, connecting with new clients to your business is like making friends or even dating. It doesn’t happen in one day; it can take a couple of meetings before you both trust each other enough to commit to building a relationship.
Determine how you will attract the attention of the ideal client you are seeking
You must have heard; Content rules the internet. Try to develop content that catches your prospects’ eyes. You should study the topics that help the clients solve a problem related to your services.
This can be an accounting problem, a payroll problem, a tax problem, or a financial problem. Unique content will allow you to seek their attention, demonstrate your expertise, and make an initial connection between you and the prospect.
You have a plan and a core offering. Now it’s time to market your solution. With the proper marketing in place, the leads will come to you, not the other way around.
Now for the Marketing
Step 1 – Create Your Website
Your primary purpose should be:
- It will show that you’re a real business and give you some credibility.
- Of critical importance, it will serve as a tool to turn visitors into prospects.
Set-up your website:
- Choose Your Website Platform
- Many website builders are out there—GoDaddy, Wix, Squarespace, etc. There is no better platform than WordPress right now for better SEO, especially if you plan on blogging.
Choose Your Web Pages
Whether you create your website yourself or hire a web developer, you’ll likely need to determine what you want on your website. Sometimes when you navigate to a website, you’re faced with a million links to click in the menu bar.
Write Your Webpage Content
Your website should not be a novel. People don’t read websites; they skim. So, the content needs to be quick and easy to digest for a website visitor –
Regarding your home page, I love having one tagline that hits you right in the face. Something bold and to the point. Nothing fancy is required here. The more to the point, the better.
Your about page is an excellent place to demonstrate the following:
- Who you and your team are
- Your culture
- Why you’re capable of handling your target market’s problems.
Step 2 – Hit Up Local Networking Events
Your first few clients will always be from your friends and family. But you have to be ready to hit the street. There’s no better way to do that than attending local networking events. It’s just a matter of finding the events your target market hangs out at and heading there with some business cards.
Step 3 – Leverage LinkedIn
LinkedIn is my favourite social networking tool for those wanting to start a bookkeeping business. It’s a great tool to:
- Build your network online
- Brand yourself
- Share content that engages your target market
Step 4 – Start a Blog
I am interested in not only knowing how to start a bookkeeping business but also how to grow one. Voila! This is my favourite marketing strategy for bookkeeping and accounting professionals.
Note: This is a longer-term strategy, but I recommend planting the seeds to reap the rewards later.
Step 5 – Ditch Paid Ads
The great thing about paid ads on Google or Facebook is that they can bring instant traffic, which might sound appealing when you’re just starting. The bad thing is that it can be super expensive, and the traffic you get may not be the traffic you want. As you’re figuring out your business in the early days, you’ll waste your money unless you have a prominent offering and sales process.
And if you do go down this route, unless you have experience running ads, make sure to hire someone competent.
Information in this article was obtained from How to Start an online bookkeeping business.