How To Start A Bookkeeping Business In 8 Steps

Get Your Certification

National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers – To earn certification through the NACPB, you must pass an exam and submit proof that you have earned an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in Accounting. You can put these letters behind your name on resumes, business cards and other materials to display your accomplishment to employers and future clients. However, if you have either formal education in the accounting/bookkeeping field or you have worked as a bookkeeper, then you should get certified before you start a bookkeeping business. A bookkeeping business consists of managing income and expenses, processing payroll and preparing tax returns for business clients. Creating a business plan and learning how to get clients are a couple examples of what you need to do to get up and running.

Example, a cash sale is recorded only as increase in cash receipts or deposits with no corresponding sales account. In this article, you will be introduced to single-entry bookkeeping, double-entry bookkeeping, manual bookkeeping and computerized bookkeeping.


Cash receipts are zeroed out because no payment is being received by the client at this time. I hope this article has been helpful for you retained earnings balance sheet to learn and understand bookkeeping. You may share your thoughts, additional knowledge, questions or concerns via comment box below.

How Much Does A Bookkeeper Make In Australia?

Below we’ve included a few details on the certification programs available for four of the top accounting software programs used by millions of small businesses all over the world. It is designed for experienced bookkeepers as well as office managers or those who are looking to make the transition to a career in bookkeeping or accounting.

You ordered the parts in January, and the manufacturer sent you an invoice that same month. However, you don’t actually pay the fee until you’ve received the parts, in February.

Easy Examples Of Bookkeeping For Small Businesses

It also includes the obligations a assets = liabilities + equity has to the bookkeeping and accounting professions. DetailsAimed at experienced bookkeepers, this qualification covers areas such as double entry bookkeeping, financial statements, intermediate spreadsheets and software use. Most companies rely on accounting software to handle the daily bookkeeping. Having experience in those software programs makes you a more attractive candidate to a company hiring a bookkeeper. QuickBooks is one of the best selling small business accounting software.

FIFO accounting, or first-in, first-out, is a method of valuing inventory. It’s basically an assumption for cost-flow purposes that states the first goods you purchased are the first goods you sold. This assumption most closely resembles an actual flow of products earning it the distinction as the most correct valuing method in theory.

If you are a freelancer, then you will indicate that on the application. You must also indicate whether or not you meet the work experience requirements . Our flexible qualifications mean it’s easy to fit learning around your work, family, friends and leisure time.

However, if you are a freelancer or you work part-time, you must complete a minimum of 3,000 hours of bookkeeping work. Both the AIPB and the NACPB are nationally recognized programs that give you credentials to display on your resume. Passing the AIPB program will make you a certified bookkeeper , while passing the NACPB program gives you the recognition of being a certified professional bookkeeper . Both give you a leg up on others when applying for a job or trying to get freelance clients, which is why we recommend them over other courses and certifications. Larger companies often hire one or more in-house bookkeepers and accountants to handle all the financial records.

Accounts receivable is pretty much the exact opposite of accounts payable. If you sell a product or service and you don’t collect payment immediately, then your small business has receivables which you track in this account. We get it, it always hurts a little inside when you have to spend money in your business.

They also must be highly organized and detail-oriented in order to ensure that their clients’ financial reports are accurate and thorough. A bookkeeper must also be able to analyze and interpret a range of different types of financial data. Successful bookkeepers are also good communicators, dependable employees and quick learners.

It lets them share reports about the financial status of your business. As a one-person operation, you may find it hard to get back to clients right away, especially during tax season. Sending prospective customers to voicemail when they need your services right then and there can cost you new business when things slow down.

So keeping this account accurate and always up-to-date is vital for when you need to meet tax reporting requirements. Ignore this and don’t be surprised if you land in hot water with the taxman. If your small business is one that has employees, then this could be the most significant retained earnings balance sheet cost and an account you can’t ignore when doing your books. It’s a big part of calculating the costs of goods sold which you subtract from the sales account to find your business’ gross profit. The purchases account should also be something you look at when doing your books.

Most employers can train an entry-level bookkeeper in six months or less. The length of a self-taught bookkeeper’s training period will vary depending on their chosen method and their personal schedule. At the University of Potomac, we can lead you towards a successful career as a bookkeeper. Through our program in Bookkeeping Administration, we prepare you to take the QuickBooks Certified User certification exam. When the bookkeeping and accounting tasks for your small business are too much to handle by yourself, it’s time to hire help.

Set Up Business Operations For Your Bookkeeping Business


You can typically find internships through your college, your personal network or an online job board. Many bookkeepers start out by teaching themselves to use accounting software like QuickBooks. They might also use online courses, books or seminars to learn the basics of practical finance. Self-taught bookkeepers often acquire the skills they need without direct training and instead learn while on the job.

The Lifo Accounting Method

You can use your personal network by asking friends, family and coworkers if they know of anyone who needs a bookkeeper for their business. You can also post advertisements in the paper, online or in a local community center. Unlike accountants, many bookkeepers have associate’s or bachelor’s degrees. In most cases, employers only require their bookkeepers to have a high school degree or GED. A high school degree will provide the basic math, writing and communication skills that are necessary for being a bookkeeper.

With the help of cloud accounting software for small-business bookkeeping, you can pretty much automate the process. Single-entry bookkeeping is simpler — you only have to record each transaction once. This can be sufficient for very small businesses that aren’t incorporated. Records older than six years can be securely disposed of by hiring a professional document shredding company. For digital records, QuickBooks allows you to easily delete or condense historic transaction data to save you storage space and secure sensitive financial information.


Consider your local supermarket — the first gallons of milk the store purchased to sell to customers are the first gallons sold usually. Otherwise, a lot of milk would spoil, thus creating a loss for the store. In the cash method of accounting, you record the transaction only when the money has actually changed hands. So, even though you received an invoice in January, you’d record the expense as a cash transaction in February, on the date that it was paid. To understand the difference between these two methods, take this example.

After you have successfully completed a bookkeeper certification program, the next step is to get certified in an accounting software. If you are a CPA, there really is no need to complete a bookkeeper certification. However, it is a must that you get certified in accounting software so that you are able to serve your small business clients. By getting certified, you will have a better understanding of how to use the software so that you can support your small business clients.

But like those old wastebook days, bookkeepers typically hand off their records to an accountant come tax time or when big decisions need to be made. Intuit lets you search for local accounting and bookkeeping professionals who are certified to work with its QuickBooks software. The American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers lets you search the resumes of potential employees or freelance bookkeeping services. The institute also has certification programs for bookkeepers at more than 200 colleges. Since you are starting a bookkeeping business, I’m sure that you have already given some thought on which accounting software to use for your business.

The terms are sometimes used interchangeably, and there can be some overlap in what they do, but there are distinct differences. Today any bookkeeping worth their beans uses some kind of software platform to track finances.

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Do accountants do bookkeeping?

Accountants, by contrast, focus more on the big picture. At specified intervals, they review and analyze the financial information recorded by bookkeepers and use it to conduct audits, generate financial statements and forecast future business needs.

While you’re earning your degree, you can take classes in accounting and bookkeeping to learn the technical side of the business. Your courses will also teach you skills like preparing invoices, creating financial reports, and managing a general ledger. The main difference between the two is that a bookkeeper organizes financial data while an accountant interprets financial data.

Organization is crucial to the success of a bookkeeper, so be sure to set up good habits early. The information that your clients give you is extremely important, and they want to know that you are handling it properly. Between different clients and multiple tasks, you must be able to track all the information that you’re given and store it in a way that you can find it in a moment’s notice. If you describe yourself as “not a math person,” bookkeeping is not the position for you. Between calculations and budget monitoring, you must be comfortable moving numbers around and performing multiple computations a day.

  • DetailsWith this qualification you can build on your knowledge of accounting software packages.
  • There are a total of five steps that you must successfully complete in order to become AIPB certified.
  • Some bookkeepers may land a job with only a high school diploma, but many employers prefer to hire bookkeepers with at least some postsecondary work or a college degree in finance, record-keeping or business.
  • You must complete an application, meet the work experience requirements, pass the 4-part certification exam, agree to and sign the code of ethics, and maintain the required continuing education units.
  • Bookkeepers aren’t required to obtain certification through any organization or institution.

The application requires you to provide your contact information, such as mailing address, email address and phone number. It also requires that you provide a list of clients and/or employers that you have worked for either as an employee or a contractor. You will provide the client/employer’s name, address and the total hours worked. Ed2go has a hybrid program that includes self-paced work with access to an instructor. This program includes the six workbooks that we discussed in the previous section as well as the cost of sitting for parts 1 and 2 of the exam.