If you enjoy balancing books and organising business finances, becoming a freelance bookkeeper could be the right path for you.
Small business and self-employed people around the UK seek bookkeeping services to stay on top of their finances. This career offers a flexible lifestyle that you could conduct from home. Plus, it’s a great way to become your own boss.
Altogether, freelance bookkeeping is an excellent opportunity to profit from your skills. But, if you’re not sure where to start, we can help.
This guide covers how to become a freelance bookkeeper, including:
- Establishing skills and qualifications
- Setting up your operations
- Marketing your freelance services
- Finding clients
If you’d like a guide more focused on starting your own bookkeeping business (not just freelancing), check out how to become a self-employed bookkeeper in the UK.
Why freelance bookkeeping might be the best option for you
As a freelance bookkeeper, you can take on jobs as needed and lead a diverse work-life. Doing so lets you control how much you earn and pick jobs that interest you.
You might provide a variety of financial services, including:
- Updating and maintaining bookkeeping records
- Handling accounts payable and receivable
- Offering financial advice on taxes and regulations
- Creating financial statements
You can also work with as many or as few clients as you wish, as long as you put in the effort to find them. Rather than starting a bookkeeping business, freelance bookkeeping is less committed and more varied.
You might take on one-time jobs or offer ongoing work to your best clients. On top of this, you can set your own hours and alter them whenever you need to.
Freelance bookkeeping is also a great career to run from home, so you won’t need to invest in office space. Instead, meet with clients through video conferencing and correspond over the phone or email.
How to become a freelance bookkeeper
Now that you know the perks of this career, you may wonder how to become a freelance bookkeeper. Let’s go over the key steps to consider.
Establish your skills and qualifications
Though UK bookkeepers don’t require specific qualifications, it’s essential to have a working knowledge of accounting to help your clients. You’ll need to be comfortable with:
- Bookkeeping processes
- Balance sheets
- Financial statements
- A receivable and accounts payable
- UK tax regulations
You might want to seek a course to sharpen your skills and earn qualifications that make you credible and trustworthy. Doing so will draw in clients who seek freelancers.
To find a suitable course for bookkeeping, look at the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers or the International Association of Bookkeepers.
Set up your freelance operations
Once it’s time to set up your operations, you’ll need to follow a few steps.
Legal set up
First, inform the government of your freelance services by registering as a sole trader. You’re legally responsible for your business as a sole trader, but you get to keep all the earnings after taxes.
With this business structure, you’ll submit a Self Assessment tax return each year to report and calculate your taxes.
You’ll also need to comply with the UK money laundering regulations for bookkeeping services. So, you’ll need to carry out due diligence with your customers to ensure they aren’t involved with illegal activities.
On top of this, since you’ll be working with client’s private data, you’ll likely need to pay a data protection fee to the UK government.
Since sole traders are legally responsible for their services, finding the right insurance is crucial to protecting you against the unexpected.
You’ll likely need professional indemnity insurance if clients face negative repercussions due to your financial advice or services.
Find options from Superscript.
Workplace set up
You may not need to rent an office as a freelance bookkeeper, but it’s important to have a designated workspace at home. This workspace can help you maintain productivity and organise your operations.
You’ll also likely need:
- A computer
- Bookkeeping or accounting software
- Safe, digital store for client information
- Storage cabinets
- A printer and paper
Market your services
Try to market your bookkeeping services digitally to grow your audience and bring in various clients. To start, create a business website that makes you accessible online and provides essential information about your services.
Your website should include:
- Your business purpose – and any niche you focus on
- Your services and rates – or where to get a quote
- Your contact information – such as your business email, phone number, and address (if necessary)
- Information about you and your qualifications
- Positive client testimonials as you earn them
To get more people looking at your business website, you might want to develop a blog for it. You could write articles offering tips on financial management, accounting, and bookkeeping, to drive more site traffic.
Social media marketing is another great way to earn attention for your freelance services. For example, try promoting yourself on LinkedIn to reach professionals that might need bookkeeping services for their business.
Learn more with our article on how to market a bookkeeping business.
Find freelance clients
Marketing your freelance services lets you find leads, and you may also want to try a few tactics to secure your first clients.
First, attend networking events to earn more leads and reach out directly to these people offering your services. Alternatively, you might contact agencies that hire freelance bookkeepers.
On top of this, list yourself on freelance platforms to find clients. Consider creating profiles on the following websites:
- Bark – a freelance platform that offers users a survey to guide them to the best freelancers based on their needs
- Upwork – a freelance platform that lets you develop a detailed profile, outline your services and set your rates
- Fiverr – another freelance platform similar to Upwork that offers great search functions for people to find your bookkeeping services
- Oyster – a platform for businesses to hire freelance services
See also: How to get your first bookkeeping client.
Streamline your bookkeeping services with Countingup
Now that you know how to become a freelance bookkeeper, you can kick off your services. But you may also want to look for tools that increase efficiency.
Save your operations time on manual admin and help your clients keep organised records with Countingup’s free accounting software. It’s designed specifically to help you manage your self-employed and sole trader clients.The app automates time-consuming bookkeeping admin for your clients so they can focus on running their business — and send you accurate data to make your job easier. Find out more here.