Starting Up Your Own Online Bookkeeping Business in 2024


Business professionals who are transitioning into a new phase of their life might be looking for a new business to get into. There’s probably been no better time to break into the online bookkeeping space. As companies continue to migrate to remote workflows, they’ll be looking to hire bookkeepers and accounting personnel who take care of their accounts entirely on the web.

Personnel who have recently suffered a layoff or want to move on from what seems like a dead-end position may want to look into opening a bookkeeping business as a way to start an entirely new career. Regardless of their background, anyone who wants to get up and running in the bookkeeping industry should first consider whether they’ll need any sort of licenses to do so.

Earning the Right Certifications

Financial industry regulators want to make sure that registered accountants have the skills needed to serve business owners without making egregious mistakes. The specific certifications you’ll need to start a bookkeeping business depend entirely on which jurisdiction you plan to operate in. Websites don’t have any geographical boundaries, so it can be tempting to think you’ll be able to offer your services to clients all over the globe. This can quickly become confusing as a result of the various types of audit procedures in use internationally.

A better choice might be to focus on a specific region first and expand your business as time goes by. Individuals who plan to operate in the United States may want to receive a formal document from the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers stating that they have all of the skills needed to get started in the industry. Depending on their specific situation, they may also need a bachelor’s degree in accounting though there are other major accreditation boards that have no such requirement.

Regardless of which certification program a new accountant chooses, they’ll want to be certain they have all the necessary documentation ready in time for their first day. Investing in a few extra tools, such as a specialist program like Bookkeeper Launch and a good quality spreadsheet application, can also help make the transition much easier. It might even make sense to subscribe to a database or arithmetic analysis package as well, since this kind of software can take care of most of the mathematical heavy lifting involved with bookkeeping.

Unless they have plenty of past financial experience, they’ll probably want to spend some time getting acquainted with common accounting practices.

Learning More About the Trade

Even those who find they don’t need any special documents will still have to adhere to all of the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles currently on the books. That’s especially true of those who have to keep track of tax-related information for their clients. Small business owners often need people who can help them estimate how much they’ll owe in taxes at the end of their fiscal year, and doing so usually comes with some legal caveats.

Online courses and even self-directed study programs are usually great ways to get started when it comes to learning the trade. Specialist books may be a bit hard to get into, but most bookkeepers will want to have a few on hand for reference if nothing else. These books are periodically updated, so it’s important to get one with a recent publication date. Fortunately, most publishers sell electronic copies for far less than they used to sell their printed ones.

In order to make the transition into the bookkeeping industry easier, most new accountants will focus on a specific kind of company. The proliferation of new types of online businesses has brought a number of new opportunities for accountants, so a narrow focus may actually help in this regard.

Focusing on a Particular Market Segment

Cryptocurrency transactions and alternative payment methods have complicated the financial landscape, which in turn is creating new jobs. Even more traditional online companies have recently found that their accounting workflows are becoming more complex. Operators of online homestay service businesses, for instance, often need to hire specialists who are capable of keeping track of multiple accountants tied to different properties. Software developers may have to watch multiple sales channels tied to various apps stores. Subscription services have even more complicated ways of earning income, which has traditionally proven challenging for bookkeepers used to more conventional business models.

Unlike earning a certification, there’s no formal way to prove someone has what it takes to work in these demanding fields. Therefore, professionals who want to make a name for themselves may want to reach out to prospective clients who represent an industry they used to work in. For instance, a bookkeeper who used to work in a technical field may want to offer their services to companies in the computer industry. Once they’ve built up a big enough portfolio, they can use this experience to attract future clients.

Some professional bookkeepers find all of this specialization to be rather limiting, especially in today’s dynamic market, so they instead start companies that offer a menu of different options. Perhaps the best advice is to stay flexible and keep an open mind. Bookkeepers who change with the times stand the best chance of growing their business.


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