Freelance accounting and bookkeeping

How to become a freelance accountant: 7 tips to succeed

Freelance accounting is a competitive industry. With the rise of online platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, and Remote.co, more and more people are working remotely to offer their services to businesses around the world. This means that freelancers will need to get creative with their marketing strategies if they want to stand out in the crowd.

Accounting is a professional career that requires a high level of detail orientation and analytical skills. It can be difficult to start, but here we will talk about some tips for succeeding as a freelance accountant or bookkeeper.

In simple words, freelance accounting is the opportunity to work from home and organize every aspect of your workflow by yourself. You will be expected to:

  • record revenues and expenses
  • handle all tax issues if they occur 
  • prepare  business reports and financial statements
  • analyze the costs of business processes, etc.

And here is how you can prepare yourself. 

Freelance accounting: 7 tips to make you successful 

Deciding to go out on your own and be a freelancer is a big deal. You have to be prepared for the risks that come along with being self-employed. That’s why it’s essential to do research, find the right mentors, and plan for your future. If you’re considering freelance accounting or bookkeeping as a career or a part-time gig, here are 7 tips that will help you make the right decisions.

1. Create a sales and marketing plan

A good accountant and bookkeeper will have a great grasp of the business’s financial situation. But, most people who want to become freelance accountants still have a great deal to learn about accounting and key market factors. The best way to begin is to develop a sales and marketing plan for your business.

The main objective of the plan is to identify potential clients and find out if they are willing to hire you. These two steps will allow you to reduce the risk of failure before investing too much time and energy into your freelance accounting business.

2. Specify your field of expertise

One of the first things that new freelancers should focus on is offering specific, actionable services. It’s best to focus on “value-added” services rather than generic ones. For example, rather than listing “bookkeeping services,” you can list “revenue and profit analysis, forecast analysis, and budgeting.” This could be a much more valuable skill to clients as it shows more insight into your skills and what you can bring to the table.

3. Build your digital presence

You have to know your audience. First and foremost, you have to develop a platform that will help potential clients find you and know you. Create a professional and recognizable LinkedIn profile to establish your credibility.

Use social media and start sharing your insights and experiences. Start to build a buzz about yourself and your company. It is always smart to get as many social media followers as you can. It can help you gain a larger audience, expose your skills to potential clients, and get your name out there as a trusted advisor.

4. Use the accounting software

Working with cloud-based accounting software can save a freelancer a lot of time and energy. These programs can provide time tracking, workflow tools, detailed financial projections, reports and invoicing services.

While accountants may provide accounting services, they do not have an in-depth understanding of business processes. This is where the accounting software comes in handy. Most accounting software allows you to get visibility into where your client is stuck and why. For instance, the software will allow you to see how they book a specific expense, or who submitted a form and what the final outcome was.

With Synder, you’ll always have your balance sheet ready, as this accounting software synchronizes the information from every payment platform you have to the books. Keeping everything in one place will be efficient and less time-consuming, as the Synder software will provide you with the most detailed reports including every transaction you’ve made.

It would be wise to give it a try.

5. Keep track of your expenses

According to research, a typical freelancer spends an average of 8 hours a week on their accounts, which amounts to 52 weeks a year. This means you need to dedicate some time tracking your accounts, preparing thorough reports and managing everything in one place.

These expense tracking methods have been shown to help freelancers streamline their processes and eliminate time-consuming and repetitive tasks.

6. Be ready for tax season 

Have you ever been asked to file your income tax returns and then realized that you’ve failed to report the money owed to the IRS? 

The first big challenge as a freelance accountant will be the tax season. If you don’t prepare your taxes for yourself, you will have to pay taxes out of your own pocket. Whether you want to use a tax expert or deal with it yourself, there’s no doubt that a tax season is a major event in the accounting industry. 

7. Take good care of yourself

Like all professions, accounting is very demanding. This means that it will be really important for you to get enough rest and engage in healthy physical activity to keep up your stamina.

As a freelancer, it’s easy to get lost in your own to-do lists, but the only way to make your way in the world of accounting is to practice. Every day, make a list of all the clients you currently have, their goals, and their proposed work. By prioritizing your tasks and setting goals, you will find it easier to keep track of what you need to do.

5 things you need to keep in mind

Freelance accounting sounds just fine for some newbies and even for experienced accountants who want to settle down and organize their own life eco-systems lives’ eco-systems. But before jumping on the board mindlessly, you have to be ready to face some pitfalls and requirements. 

The first two mainly refer to people who have never experienced themselves as accountants. So if you are a veteran, you can jump straight to the third point. 

1. Bachelor’s degree or CPA certification required

Prepare these two things beforehand, as they will serve as your ID card. No one wants an accountant who doesn’t have a clue about what he or she is doing. This is the most obvious requirement, but still, there is little chance you can succeed without it. 

2. Experience. The more, the better

This is the next essential part of your bio on your website or social media account. If you don’t have it written, you will be asked about it later. 

Some experts recommend starting your freelance accounting job even before graduation to have some experience under your belt. With experience, you will come across as a professional. You can also write about the companies you’ve been working with, so the customers can check them as well and build even more trust in your abilities. 

3. You are on your own

This has both advantages and downsides. You yourself have to find a proper work-life balance. At times you’ll face the temptation to rest rather than work. But remember that the only person you can count on is yourself. 

Plus, it will be really helpful if you get insurance as soon as you can. Without proper protection, you will be a vulnerable target. 

4. You have to be self-motivated

This point arises from the previous one. Without self-motivation, you will not be able to get out of your bed and work. If you work really hard for a few days and then rest for the same amount of time, you will not succeed. You have to come out of your comfort zone, even being a freelance accountant working from home. There will be ups and downs

5. There will be ups and downs

And this is okay. The most important thing you need to understand about freelance accounting is that there will be dark times as well as bright ones. But these moments only will be lessons for the future you. You learn them and then perform even better. 

Bottom line: Is freelance accounting worth it?

It is complicated to speak about the advantages and disadvantages of being a freelancer. In general, it is really individual. For someone setting their own working hours is an advantage, but for others, this is a pain point. 

However, if you don’t know what you’re doing from the get-go, it can be a very long way to success. With a little bit of preparation and the right resources, you can harness your skills and start offering your services to companies and individuals.

Building a successful freelance accounting career is a long and challenging path. It requires a lot of hard work and perseverance, but by doing this, you can help businesses succeed and grow by doing this. Be creative and innovative when it comes to your marketing strategy, and be flexible. 

Feel free to share your experience in the comments below!

Anastasia Su

Anastasia Su

Anastasia is a Copywriter and has a Bachelor's degree in Translation and Interpretation and a Diploma in a third foreign language. She has experience in writing articles for small business owners, and in translating psychology educational materials, specifically MBTI personality types. Anastasia is dedicated to writing educational articles. She likes gathering new information and is glad to share it with others.

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2 comments

  • Planning to quit the company I’ve been working with for the past 4 years as a financial accountant and try myself in freelance accounting. Feel a bit nervous, but really excited!
    Thanks for the article!