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Setting up bookkeeping business

Setting up bookkeeping business

Hi all,

Firstly, apologies if this question has already been asked! 

I am a  newly qualified ACCA member but have about 8 years of accounts experience (mainly junior level at first as an accounts assistant and then working my way up) I only got serious about ACCA recently hence why I have just gained member status now. 

I have always been eager to branch out on my own but I know that there are a million things I need beforehand so having my own accounting practice is still in the future for now. But I am interested in my own bookkeeping business as a starting point and aiming it at small businesses within the small town I live in (that would be my niche market) I am aware that businesses won’t want me just doing bookkeeping and then having to fund someone to do their accounts but also I know some of the small companies just want basic bookkeeping done so I want to aim towards them. 

My planning has just started (2019 resolution!) so does anyone have any tips on what else I may need? Any advice from marketing / insurance / what I can and can’t cover, all that would be helpful. 

One thing I am aware of is that my tax knowledge is pretty basic so am looking into the tax knowledge at Aat level (Instead of Cta which is expensive and timely) is that a good idea?

 

many thanks in advance! 

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11th Jan 2019 20:33

Are you in practice just now? I would spend the next two years at least with a firm nailing your technical knowledge and getting valuable post-qualifying experience - you'll need it if you want to obtain a practising certificate.

By all means, undertake bookkeeping work if your employment contract permits and if ACCA rules allow you to do so without a PC (I've no idea), and quietly develop your plans in the background. But your main focus should be getting invaluable experience.

Thanks (2)
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By ally1
to the_drookit_dug
14th Jan 2019 11:11

Hi. I am not in practice (always been industry based) but finding it difficult to get into practice. My current employers have nothing in the contract that says I can’t do this so I assume I can (obviously I will only do basic work until I get a practicing certificate)

Any other tips? What exactly could I offer as a bookkeeper? Want to ensure that I am offering the full services , of which I am fully capable of providing.

Thanks again

Thanks (0)
14th Jan 2019 12:07

If you are just bookkeeping, you should be fine, but if this spills into VAT and then personal tax you may want to make sure you are fully up to speed. Company accounts can be a big jump so if you haven't had practice experience, be brave enough to know your limits and say "No". Find a local firm to work with to do the bits you don't feel ready for and you might find they refer back to you.
Things to think about:
* Licences / Practicing certificate/ PI insurance /ACCA - do you need a substitute if you get hit by a bus
*Hardware/ software - what will be your preferred software - can you get yourself accredited and market on that basis
*Networking to get new clients, find local groups to join and be an expert in social media groups, sharing tips etc
* website/image (make sure the quality matches your fee structure)
* Don't undersell yourself, don't take awkward clients or jobs just to get started, quality control them, the ones who obsess about fees are often a pain in the *** Set your fee and stick to it. Be careful with fixed fees for bookkeeping as businesses' bookkeeping can change significantly over time

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14th Jan 2019 12:08

I did ATT as a top up when I moved away from Big 4 where I wasn't allowed to do tax. It was a good refresher and covered the basics well

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By ally1
to accountantccole
14th Jan 2019 20:26

Hi accountantccole
Thank you for your reply. I definitely don’t feel I can do account prep so will stick to the bookkeeping for now until I gain some practice experience. (Not quite sure on that for now but an option for later)

Re, bookkeeping - just a couple things to ask if that’s okay.
1) How do I go about marketing / advertising? What’s the best way?
2) I am unclear as to price charges (planning on calling local bookkeepers in the area but unsure if that is the best approach)
3) What would I be able to do as a bookkeeper? I’m wanting to offer expenses, accounts receivable/payable and tax (once I’ve brushed up my aat tax module) Just wondering what I have missed as obviously I don’t want to offer something I can’t do.

Thanks again

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By Matrix
14th Jan 2019 20:46

I would get to know a few packages really well.

For marketing set up a Facebook page (after choosing a name for your business and having done all the set up). Post on local pages and find local networking groups. Get to know local accountants.

Bookkeepers in my area (northern Home Counties) charge £20-£25 per hour. I wouldn't charge much less given your qualifications and experience but don't take on any work you are not able (or are not prepared to learn) to do.

I don't know if the bookkeepers network is stil going but that is an online group so also post and read up on there.

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By Matrix
14th Jan 2019 20:55

To add that I don't do bookkeeping so most of my clients have separate bookkeepers and accountants and it works fine.

Can you do CIS, payroll and VAT returns? My bookkeepers do these but have little to no tax knowledge outside this so it is not necessary unless you want to progress to accounts/tax returns in the future.

Thanks (1)
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By ally1
to Matrix
15th Jan 2019 05:13

Payroll and vat returns - yes.
CIs - no.
Is there something/ somewhere you recommend that I can learn about?

What else do you think I will need To do and offer? (Want to ensure that I am offering the best paxkage)

And in terms of software, Any recommendations?

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By Matrix
to ally1
15th Jan 2019 07:08

If you intend to work in practice then you will need to get used to working all this out for yourself.

What software do you currrently use? Have you gone through this forum to work out the software which would be useful?

While you can recommend different software to different clients, in my experience they will want you to come in and use their existing software, although MTD is a real opportunity to improve record keeping so make the most of it and get in there now.

Thanks (1)
15th Jan 2019 06:21

For marketing I’m a BNI fan. It’s not cheap but every bookkeeper I’ve known as generated too much business from it. It’s early mornings so doesn’t interrupt the day. Get in some Facebook business groups ASAP they’ll help with start up ideas too.

Thanks (1)
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By ClareH
16th Jan 2019 13:26

HI
I am a self employed bookkeeper AAT L3 and also have Advanced Pro Advisor acccreditation from Quickbooks Online. I ahve been doing bookkeeping for about 10 years after completing a basic course through Home Learning College. Then I did AAT last year.I am in the process of applying for my practice license from AAT. With hindsight i should have done this years ago. The main worry for me is the MLP which i should have started paying to HMRC but had no idea it existed until recently. This is covered by AAT once i have the licence but i think i will need to make back dated payments to HMRC. Look at the AAT website it will tell you about the licenses and states clearly what you can offer your clients within the licence provision. I live in mid sussex and have a facebook page, and I also run a business network/support group so thats how i get my name out there. I have 4 clients at the moment. I am just starting to build my client base now my children are older. Good luck!

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