Starting a Bookkeeping Business
Starting up and running your own Bookkeeping business can be very rewarding and can fit around being a busy Mum.
You can visit clients during the day, while the kids are at school and work from home the rest of the time. It is also possible to run an online bookkeeping business and never have to visit a customer site.
As with any business, it is very important to plan before you start, here are some ideas of what you will need to include in your plan.
How much will set up costs be?
You will need to look at the whole business and calculate your initial setup costs; this may include new computer, software, business insurance, website, business cards and advertising.
What type of business will you set up? One of the first decisions to be made is the type of business you run. Most Bookkeepers will set up as self-employed; this will need to be registered with HMRC. You may decide that it is in your interests to become a limited company, which involves set-up costs.
Where will you advertise?
Choosing where to advertise can be a very important decision; you need to look for places where business owners will look. Local papers and free local magazines that are delivered to your door can be a great place. You may also need to set up a website; this can act as both an advertising tool and also can make you seem a credible business. Social media is a great place for free advertising.
How many hours can you work?
When calculating how many hours you can work will need to factor in the following, school holidays, length of school day and can you work in the evening? If you have good child care you may be able to work longer hours. Do not forget you will need to allow time for doing your own paperwork and seeing clients. There may be busy times for each business you take on, check out when VAT returns and year end reports are due, you do not want all your clients to have the same year end and you cannot complete all the work on time.
Registering with your accounting body
If you are qualified or part qualified you will need to register with the accounting body that you are a member in practice. There are several advantages to this including using their logo, cheaper insurance, workshops and being included in their database.
What software will you use?
If you have experience in a particular software package, it may be an easy decision to make. If not you will need to research the advantages of each package, also look to see if they run a partner program. There are many cloud based accounting solutions available and this will allow access to both your clients and yourself.
How much to charge?
Most business owners prefer a fixed rate fee this can be either charged by the hour, monthly or annual. When deciding this fee you will need to look at what other bookkeepers charge in your local area, what their experience is and their qualifications. Phone a few local people and compare charges.
Find an Accountant
Unless you are a fully qualified accountant it may be in your interest to find an accountant you can work alongside. The advantages are they have the expertise and can produce all the reports for Companies House, if you are not sure about something don’t be afraid to ask.
Meeting a client
Before meeting a potential client, it is worth spending some time researching their business and the type of business they run. If they have a website, take a look and try to understand what they may need from a bookkeeper. When visiting a client ensure you look professional and listen to what they need from you. Some customers may want everything done for them and just hand you a pile of paperwork, others may complete some themselves, but may need help at the month or year end. Outline the qualifications and experience that you have.
After your meeting send them either a letter or email confirming your discussions and a quotation for the work you have agreed.
Angela Boxwell from Business Accounting Basics is a mother of 2 wonderful children and has worked in accounts for over 25 years. She has managed an accounts department reporting directly to the Financial Controller of a group on the stock exchange. Angela also ran her own Bookkeeping business as well as being Finance Director of her own business. She is a Member of the Association of Accounting Technicians; the course was completed in the evenings while working full time.