As more and more people – including accountants and bookkeepers – decide to take the route of freelancing instead of the traditional 9 to 5 job, it can be challenging to figure how to get the process started. Here are five valuable tips that can help you commence your new career path.

Market to Small Businesses and Start-Ups

From corner bakeries to fledgling tech companies, the little guys need accountants, too. It’s likely there isn’t enough wiggle room in their budgets to hire a large accounting firm, so it would be wise to take advantage of this opportunity. A great way to reel in prospective clients is to offer free assessments. When you do this for small businesses, it will give them a good idea of what they can expect from you and the benefits they can receive when working with you. Your website and social media channels can serve as a resource for announcing your free assessments, scheduling appointments and even providing credibility and resources that will instill confidence in a prospective client.

Know What Services You’ll Provide

Once you pinpoint your target audience, it’s time to figure out what services they want and need. There’s a wide variety of services you can perform for your clients including account reconciliations, managing bill payments, drawing up business plans, payroll, and financial report preparation. Most small businesses won’t spend money on an hourly rate for your services since it doesn’t provide them with financial certainty. A better way to approach this is to create a services bundle for a weekly or monthly rate. When setting your rates, be sure to consider the services included, the number of client visits, the region you live in, and your professional experience.

Get a Bookkeeping and Payroll Software

The beauty of freelance accounting is that there’s no need for infrastructure – e.g. file cabinets, dedicated servers, and a human resources department to perform clerical work. All you need is a reliable internet connection, a laptop, and cloud-based software for bookkeeping and payroll – like ClientBooks. There are many benefits to choosing a cloud-based software. Subscription prices are usually inexpensive, and you can easily roll the cost into your clients’ fees. Most software packages also provide automatic data entry, streamline the payroll process, and allow you to customize to your clients’ needs.

Build Your Digital Presence

If you want to reach as many potential clients as possible, you need to be online. There’s no way around it. First, start with creating a website that’s intuitive, easy on the eyes and informative. If you don’t want to pay for one, there are a host of free platforms including Wix. Once you build your website, make sure it’s SEO-friendly and optimized for mobile. Also, set up a professional Facebook page because it’s a great way to make yourself more accessible. Try to include testimonials from clients or encourage them to leave positive reviews. It’s also important to keep your page updated and free of personal information.

Keep Track of Your Expenses

When your business model is managing other people’s money, you might forget that you have to handle your own financials, as well. It’s simple to track your revenue via invoicing and payment apps, but the expenses accrued through your freelancing can sometimes get glossed over. Many common expenses for freelance accounting include website hosting, advertising, and charges for phones, computers, and software.

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