Friday, September 22, 2023

How to start bookkeeping from home

With the rise in remote working and an increasing number of small businesses popping up across the UK, the demand for bookkeeping services is stronger than ever. If you have a knack for numbers and are keen on establishing your own venture from the comforts of your home, bookkeeping from home might just be your calling. Here’s how you can start your bookkeeping journey from home.

Bookkeeping from home

What is bookkeeping?

Bookkeeping is the systematic recording and organisation of financial transactions in a business. It is an essential part of the accounting process and ensures that records of individual financial transactions are accurate, up-to-date, and comprehensive. This discipline involves maintaining ledgers, reconciling bank statements, and producing invoices, among other tasks. Proper bookkeeping not only facilitates day-to-day operational tasks but also provides a clear picture of a business’s financial health, aiding in the preparation of annual accounts and ensuring compliance with the UK’s tax obligations.

How much can I make from bookkeeping from home?

When I’ve been pricing up bookkeeping for our business I’ve found prices generally between £15 per hour and £30 per hour adhoc, or packages available with a contract.

That means that if you worked 35 hours per week for clients you could be earning £525 – £1,050 per week pre tax and other expenses.

Get the right qualifications for bookkeeping from home

While having a background in accountancy certainly provides a distinct advantage, it’s not an absolute prerequisite to kick off your bookkeeping from home journey. In a saturated market where credentials can significantly elevate your professional standing, it’s essential to align yourself with recognized qualifications that vouch for your expertise and dedication to the craft.

bookkeeping from home

Consider the following esteemed UK bodies which offer notable certifications, each tailored to specific aspects of bookkeeping and accounting:

  • Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT): One of the leading qualification providers in the field of finance, AAT offers a blend of practical skills and essential knowledge. Suitable for both beginners and those looking to enhance their existing knowledge, AAT’s curriculum is both comprehensive and relevant to the modern bookkeeping landscape.
  • International Association of Bookkeepers (IAB): A globally respected body, the IAB not only offers coveted qualifications but also actively supports its members in their professional journey. Their certifications cover a wide range of topics, ensuring that bookkeepers are adept at both the technical and practical aspects of their roles.
  • Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB): As the largest bookkeeping institute in the world, the ICB is a beacon of excellence. Their courses range from entry-level qualifications to advanced diplomas, catering to individuals at all stages of their bookkeeping career. With an ICB certification, you signal to potential clients and employers that you adhere to the highest standards of professionalism and accuracy.

While innate skills and a passion for numbers form the bedrock of a successful bookkeeping career, aligning with the right qualifications can truly set you apart in a competitive landscape.

Master the best bookkeeping from home software

In today’s rapidly digitizing world, the landscape of bookkeeping has evolved substantially from pen-and-paper ledgers to sophisticated digital platforms. Leveraging these digital tools is not just about convenience; it’s about accuracy, efficiency, and scalability. Being adept at using the leading software solutions is almost as fundamental as understanding the principles of bookkeeping itself. Let’s delve deeper into some of the industry’s prime software choices:

  • Xero: A titan in the realm of cloud-based accounting solutions, Xero is cherished for its intuitive design which makes navigation a breeze, even for novices. Its cloud-centric nature ensures that your data is accessible anywhere, anytime, and on any device. With features ranging from invoicing, bank reconciliation to expense claims, it provides a holistic bookkeeping solution tailored to modern needs.
  • QuickBooks: Primarily lauded for its versatility, QuickBooks seamlessly caters to freelancers, startups, and established businesses alike. Its rich array of integrations means it can easily sync with other business tools, creating a streamlined workflow. With customizable invoices, insightful reports, and time-tracking capabilities, QuickBooks truly understands the varied nuances of different business models.
  • Sage: A stalwart in the accounting software industry, Sage has carved its niche by offering a depth of features that few can rival. Whether it’s payroll management, VAT return generation, or cash flow forecasting, Sage offers tools that cater to both basic and advanced accounting needs. Its longstanding reputation speaks to its reliability and comprehensive approach.

To truly harness the power of these platforms, it’s not enough to have a cursory understanding. Most of these software providers offer official training modules. Participating in these sessions not only solidifies your grasp of the tool but often leads to certifications. These certifications, in turn, serve as a testament to your expertise, giving you an undeniable edge in the market. In a world where clients and employers are seeking proficient and tech-savvy bookkeepers, mastering these software tools and flaunting certified expertise can significantly elevate your professional trajectory.

Creating Your Perfect Home Office Oasis

Setting up a home office? It’s so much more than just plonking a computer on a desk and hoping for the best. Think about it: this space is where you’ll be spending a chunk of your time, so you want it to feel just right.

bookkeeping from home

First things first, ergonomics isn’t just a fancy word that designers throw around – it’s key to making sure your body thanks you, even after those marathon work sessions. Splurge a bit on that adjustable chair. It’s not just about feeling like the boss; it’s about making sure your back is supported and you’re sitting in a way that’s kind to your posture.

Lighting is another game-changer. Ever tried working under harsh fluorescent lights or, worse, squinting because of dim lighting? A well-lit room, preferably with some good old natural light, can boost your mood and productivity. And for those gloomy days or late-night hustles, ensure you have a lamp that gives off a warm, soft glow.

Lastly, let’s chat about clutter. A cluttered space often leads to a cluttered mind. Invest in some storage solutions – shelves, drawers, even funky organisers – whatever floats your boat. When everything has its place, you’ll find that not only does your space look better, but your workflow becomes smoother too.

In short, give your home office a sprinkle of personality, a dash of comfort, and a whole lot of functionality. Remember, it’s not just a workspace; it’s your own little productivity haven. 

Establish a Solid Pricing Model

Determining how much to charge your clients is a crucial decision in your bookkeeping from home business. Your pricing doesn’t just influence your earnings; it sends a message about the value and quality of your services. So, it’s essential to strike a balance that does justice to both you and your clientele.

bookkeeping from home

The first step is to decide on a pricing structure. Some prefer an hourly rate, which is flexible and ensures you’re compensated for every minute you spend on a task. This can be especially beneficial for projects that might take longer than anticipated. On the other hand, fixed-rate packages can be attractive to clients since they provide clarity from the outset on the costs involved. These packages often encompass a defined set of services and can be tiered, catering to different client needs and budgets.

The rates you set, irrespective of the structure, should mirror a few factors:

  1. Your Expertise: Years of experience, qualifications, and special skills should definitely come into play. If you bring a unique selling proposition or specialization to the table, don’t be shy to charge for it.
  2. Complexity of Tasks: Not all bookkeeping jobs are created equal. A more intricate job that requires a deep dive into financial analysis and reporting should naturally command a higher fee than routine data entry tasks.
  3. Market Research: Do a little snooping around. Understanding what your peers and competitors are charging can give you a ballpark figure. Sites like Glassdoor, Payscale, or even local bookkeeping forums can be goldmines of information.

However, while it’s good to be aware of the market average, remember that a race to the bottom helps no one. Don’t undervalue your services. Your rates should be a genuine reflection of your worth and the tangible and intangible benefits you bring to a client’s table.

bookkeeping from home

Lastly, keep in mind that communication is key. Be transparent with your clients about your rates, and be open to discussions. Sometimes, understanding a client’s budget or concerns can lead to a mutually beneficial arrangement.


In essence, when setting your pricing model, be thorough, be fair, and most importantly, be confident in the value you offer.

Register Your Bookkeeping Business the Right Way

Taking the leap to set up your own bookkeeping business is exhilarating, but it’s vital that the foundational elements, like business registration, are in order. Proper registration not only gives your business a professional façade but also ensures you’re on the right side of the law, particularly when it comes to taxes.

Let’s delve deeper into the primary business structures you can consider in the UK:

  1. Sole Trader:
    • What is it? This is the simplest form of business entity in the UK. Essentially, you and your business are one and the same from a legal perspective.
    • Pros: It’s relatively easy and quick to set up, with minimal paperwork involved. Plus, you have complete control over your business.
    • Cons: One significant downside is that you bear personal responsibility for any business debts. This means your personal assets, like your home, could be at risk if the business runs into financial troubles.
  2. Partnership:
    • What is it? If you’re planning to team up with someone, this might be your go-to. In a standard partnership, all partners share responsibility for the business’s debts and decisions.
    • Pros: You’ve got someone to share the responsibilities, risks, and also the investments.
    • Cons: Like the sole trader setup, individual partners are personally liable for business debts. Also, disputes can arise if partners aren’t on the same page, so it’s crucial to have a partnership agreement in place.
  3. Limited Company:
    • What is it? Here, the company is a distinct entity from its owners. This means the company, not the individuals, is responsible for everything it does.
    • Pros: Your personal assets remain untouched even if the company faces financial issues. Often perceived as more professional, which might appeal to certain clients or larger contracts.
    • Cons: It’s more paperwork-intensive with stricter reporting requirements. Plus, profits are subject to Corporation Tax, and there might be additional administrative costs.

Once you’ve chosen a structure that fits, there’s one more significant step: registration with HMRC. This is non-negotiable and ensures you’re in the clear with tax obligations. Speaking of which, familiarise yourself with VAT requirements. If your turnover exceeds the VAT threshold (which can change, so always check the latest figures), you’ll need to register for VAT, charge it to your clients, and regularly submit VAT returns.

In essence, setting up your business correctly from the get-go can save you a world of stress (and potential legal issues) down the road. It’s always wise to seek advice or consultation if you’re unsure about which path suits your vision best.

The Importance of Safeguarding with Insurance when bookkeeping from home

Even with meticulous attention to detail, no professional is entirely immune to the occasional oversight. In the world of bookkeeping, where numbers play a pivotal role and the smallest of errors can ripple into substantial financial discrepancies, it’s particularly crucial to be prepared for unforeseen challenges.

Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) is not just a safety net; it’s a pillar of trust and reassurance for both you and your clients. Let’s delve into the reasons why:

  • Peace of Mind: At the heart of it, insurance provides peace of mind. Knowing that you have a protective layer can empower you to work with confidence, understanding that even if things go south, there’s a plan in place.
  • Financial Security: Legal claims can be expensive. From the costs of legal defence to potential compensation, the figures can escalate rapidly. PII can shield you from these daunting financial burdens, ensuring that an honest mistake doesn’t lead to overwhelming costs.
  • Building Client Trust: For clients, knowing that a bookkeeper has taken the steps to get insured speaks volumes about their professionalism. It subtly conveys that you’re thinking ahead, valuing their business, and taking steps to ensure that any potential errors are rectified with minimal hassle.
  • Bolstering Your Professional Image: In some circles, having PII isn’t just a smart move; it’s an industry standard. By obtaining it, you align yourself with best practices, enhancing your reputation in the market.
  • Tackling the Unpredictable: Sometimes, disputes aren’t just about factual errors but differing interpretations or expectations. PII can be a lifesaver in such grey areas, giving you a buffer against the unpredictability of client relationships.

In conclusion, while we all strive for perfection in our services, it’s pragmatic to prepare for the unexpected. By integrating professional indemnity insurance into your business strategy, you’re not only shielding yourself from potential pitfalls but also reinforcing your commitment to delivering services with the utmost integrity and professionalism.

The Art of Building and Sustaining a Strong Online Presence

In an increasingly digital era, your online footprint plays a pivotal role in how clients perceive you and can significantly impact your business growth. Whether you’re a novice to the digital landscape or seeking to refine your existing online strategy, understanding the nuances of online platforms is indispensable. Let’s take a deep dive:

  • Your Website – The Digital Storefront:
    • What is it? Think of your website as your 24/7 representative. It’s the first place many clients will go to gauge your services, professionalism, and expertise.
    • How to start? Platforms like WordPress offer a wealth of customizable themes tailored to various business needs. If you’re looking for drag-and-drop simplicity, Wix and Squarespace might be right up your alley.
    • Pro Tip: Ensure your website is mobile-responsive, and don’t forget to integrate testimonials, case studies, and an engaging ‘About’ page. It’s not just about aesthetics; it’s about building trust and offering value.
  • Social Media – Building Bridges to Your Audience:
    • What is it? More than just platforms for leisure and memes, social media channels are robust networking tools that offer direct engagement with potential clients and peers.
    • Where to start? LinkedIn is a powerhouse for professionals seeking to network and build credibility. Twitter allows for real-time engagement and showcasing your expertise in bite-sized insights. And don’t underestimate Instagram; a behind-the-scenes look at your work process or celebrating milestones can humanize your brand and resonate with a broader audience.
    • Pro Tip: Authenticity is key. Rather than just promoting your services, engage in genuine conversations, share valuable content, and be consistent in your online activity.
  • Online Directories – Being Discoverable in the Digital Maze:
    • What is it? These are platforms where businesses are listed categorically, helping potential clients find services they’re looking for.
    • How to leverage? Identify reputable directories relevant to bookkeeping or broader financial services. Once listed, encourage satisfied clients to leave positive reviews, amplifying your trustworthiness.
    • Pro Tip: Regularly update your directory listings to ensure information is current. An active profile can often rank higher in search results, driving more organic enquiries your way.

In essence, a compelling online presence is not a mere luxury; it’s a necessity in today’s connected world. By strategically harnessing the power of these digital platforms, you not only position yourself prominently in the market but also lay the foundation for sustained growth and client engagement.

Networking: The Heartbeat of a Thriving Business

It’s a well-worn adage: “It’s not just what you know, but who you know.” And in the ever-evolving realm of bookkeeping and business at large, this holds truer than ever. Whether you’re rubbing elbows at a physical event or connecting virtually, networking is the lifeblood of opening doors you didn’t even know existed. Let’s delve deeper into the art and avenues of networking:

  • The Beauty of In-person Networking:
    • Local Chambers of Commerce: These organizations are treasure troves of local business owners and professionals. By joining one, you not only get to meet potential clients but also gain insights into local business trends and challenges. Plus, chambers often host events, workshops, and seminars that can bolster your skills and industry knowledge.
    • Industry-specific Events or Seminars: From accounting conventions to financial workshops, these events offer a dual advantage. They provide an opportunity to stay updated with the latest industry trends and also present a platform to mingle with peers, potential clients, or even mentors.
    • Pro Tip: Remember, networking isn’t just about handing out business cards. It’s about genuine connection. Listen actively, ask questions, and seek ways you can offer value or collaborate.
  • The Power of Virtual Networking:
    • Bookkeeping Forums Online: Digital forums and groups (think sites like LinkedIn Groups or even Reddit) are bustling hubs of professionals discussing challenges, sharing resources, or seeking advice. They offer a global perspective and can be a great place to gain insights, offer your expertise, or even find potential leads.
    • Virtual Networking Events: The digital shift means that there are plenty of webinars, online workshops, and virtual meet-ups tailored to various industries. Such events allow you to expand your network beyond geographical boundaries and connect with a broader audience.
    • Pro Tip: Virtual networking can sometimes feel impersonal. Make an extra effort to personalize your interactions. For instance, after a meaningful online discussion, consider sending a personalized message or email to continue the conversation.

Networking is so much more than a mere tool for business growth; it’s a journey. A journey where you build relationships, learn, grow, and, most importantly, discover avenues to add value and make a difference. So, whether it’s in the cosy confines of your local chamber’s meeting room or the vast expanse of the digital world, take that step, introduce yourself, and let the magic of networking unfold.

The Lifelong Journey of Continuous Learning in the Financial Realm

In the fast-paced and ever-evolving financial world, resting on one’s laurels isn’t just a hindrance; it can spell obsolescence. As professionals, the commitment to continuous learning is less of a choice and more of an imperative. It’s about staying relevant, innovative, and ahead of the curve. Let’s dive deeper into the myriad ways you can fuel your passion for learning and stay updated in the industry:

  • Digital Learning – The Future is Here:
    • Online Webinars: These digital sessions are a goldmine of updated information, often delivered by industry leaders or experts. They offer real-time insights, latest trends, and the opportunity to ask questions and engage in discussions. Regularly attending webinars ensures you’re always in the loop.
    • E-courses on Platforms like Udemy or Coursera: From comprehensive courses on advanced bookkeeping techniques to niche classes on specific software, these platforms offer a wide array of courses tailored to varying levels of expertise. The flexibility to learn at your own pace and often at a fraction of the cost of traditional classes makes them an attractive option.
    • Pro Tip: When you complete courses, especially from recognized platforms or institutions, consider adding these certifications to your LinkedIn profile or website. They bolster your credibility and showcase your commitment to ongoing education.
  • Print & Digital Publications – The Trusted Companions:
    • Industry Magazines: Subscribing to reputable industry journals or magazines, whether in print or digital format, provides a steady stream of curated content. They cover a range of topics, from in-depth analyses of market trends to reviews of the latest financial tools.
    • Pro Tip: Set aside dedicated ‘reading hours’ in your week. This ensures that you not only collect these resources but also engage with them.
  • Interactive Learning & Community Engagement:
    • Engaging in Online Forums or Discussion Boards: Beyond structured courses or readings, a lot of learning happens through discussions and debates. Platforms like LinkedIn groups or industry-specific forums offer a space to share experiences, troubleshoot challenges, and glean insights from peers across the globe.
    • Pro Tip: Actively participate. Don’t just be a passive consumer. Initiate discussions, share your experiences, or even write articles. Teaching is, after all, a potent form of learning.

Continuous learning in the financial sector isn’t just about absorbing information; it’s about synthesis. It’s about integrating new insights into your practice, evolving your methodologies, and consistently delivering the best to your clients. With the resources available today, staying updated is not just a possibility; it’s a thrilling journey of discovery. Embrace it.

Elevating Client Relationships with the Right Management Tools when bookkeeping from home

In the intricate world of bookkeeping, managing the numbers is just one piece of the puzzle. Equally vital, if not more, is the effective management of client relationships, ensuring seamless communications, adhering to deadlines, and keeping a meticulous track of documents. As a professional, embracing the right client management tools can not only simplify these tasks but can also elevate the overall client experience. Let’s delve into why and how:

  • The Case for Client Management Tools:
    • Organisation is Key: Juggling multiple clients can quickly become overwhelming without a structured system in place. Client management tools ensure that all your tasks, from responding to emails to updating financial records, are neatly organized and easily accessible.
    • Efficiency Boost: Instead of shuffling through heaps of emails or missing out on important deadlines, these tools send reminders, streamline workflows, and ensure that you’re always on top of your game.
    • Professional Image: Employing sophisticated management tools reflects a level of professionalism and dedication, showcasing to clients that you are not only skilled in bookkeeping but are also tech-savvy and proactive in your approach.

  • Spotlight on Popular Tools:
    • Trello: This visually-driven tool is perfect for those who appreciate a board-style layout. With its card system, you can categorise tasks, set deadlines, and even attach documents. It’s perfect for getting a quick overview of where everything stands at a glance.
    • Asana: Asana offers a more detailed breakdown of projects and tasks. It’s particularly beneficial for longer projects with multiple steps or for managing a team. You can set priorities, allocate tasks, and even integrate it with other apps for a more holistic management system.
    • Pro Tip: Both Trello and Asana come with free versions. Start with those, get a feel of the platform, and then consider if a paid version with more features might be beneficial.
  • Expanding Horizons:
    • CRM Systems: Beyond task management, consider investing in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems tailored for freelancers or small businesses. These systems not only manage tasks but also store client information, track communication histories, and even monitor sales or invoicing. This centralised approach ensures that you have a 360-degree view of each client relationship.
    • Document Management: In bookkeeping, document management is paramount. Tools like Dropbox or Google Drive, when integrated with the above platforms, can offer secure, accessible, and organized storage solutions.

In the digital age, relying solely on traditional methods or memory can hinder your growth and client satisfaction. By integrating the right client management tools, you not only streamline operations but also create an environment where clients feel valued, informed, and confident in your services. It’s not just an investment in tools; it’s an investment in building lasting and fruitful relationships.

start a bookkeeping from home business

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles