Starting a bookkeeping business

Hi all,
Does anyone have any tips on starting and running a bookkeeping business?
I should be finishing a course within 12 months of now, and want to
start purchasing the hardware and software I need, as well as becoming more familiar with the climate, like what clients expect, what are the bigger issues of clients when dealing with bookkeepers, what makes you stand out from the crowd, what the best entity to adopt is (Trust, Private Company etc), best method of billing, eg, after each weekly job has been done etc.
All the best.
GO
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Have you ever worked for a bookkeeping service? And, if you are not a CPA, do you have a CPA you can work with? Are you a Certified Bookkeeper, or with the course you are taking can you test for the certification?
New clients will want to know that you are keeping their records correctly. Before I sign on with a service company, I always ask for a list current clients that I chat with, references. If you have not worked for a bookkeeping service you really need to visit with a service to get an idea of fee structures. Have you worked out a business plan to ball-park what you can charge and how many clients you will need to generate a proper net income.
Don't mean to be a gloomy gus? TK
GO wrote:

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Thanks for you reply.
I am not a CPA, however I have a CPA I can work with. The course leads to certification with http://www.icb.org.au/ .
I plan on chatting to a retired bookkeeper in my area about rates, and the low down on what you need to do and not do.
In Australia there are heaps of non-certified bookkeepers with no accounts training at all. I will have that training, and the ICB are extremely supportive to people setting up their own show, so this should help. Some small businesses are willing to give a chance to start-ups, mainly friends businesses and friends of friends etc. I have an idea on a fee structure and have been looking at all the other bookkeeper businesses websites to gauge what they are charging.
I haven't worked out a business plan as yet, as I am still studying and putting my time into that until I get closer to setup time. I do plan to work part-time while setting it up, and as I get more work, decrease my part-time work.
Do you, or have you paid a bookkeeper? Did you pay weekly, or monthly? A CPA here told me to charge weekly and not to do the books of a client should they not pay you for the previous week - which is a given, but still worth mentioning.
Cheers.
GO
TKnTexas wrote:

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excellent idea

For charge out rates go to seek.com.au as find out what bookkeepers are being paid in your area. Remember, being self employed you don't get holidays/ sickies/ super/ travelling time etc so add 30-50% to the hourly rate.

Monthly is the norm. Most businesses have a monthly expense payment cycle. From experience the type of business you'll get are small, and they will give you a box of invoices/ receipts / bank statements/ cheque butts every month to figure out the BAS, prepare the accounts etc.

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Thanks J, appreciated.
J wrote:

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Mate, go for it I say (looks like you're from down under, if your posting host is correct) Hence, comments with an Aus bias.
1) Start out on the cheap, keep the overheads low, work from home if possible. 2) Get an ABN, open a bank account (CBA was the cheapest). 3) Go for sole trader, register a business name and the domain (look at bottledomain and their bottledirect service - an email/ home page redirection service). 4) Print some business cards. 5) Do some letter drops and leave some cards with the local shops. 6) Take out an advert with the local paper. 7) Buy yourself MYOB (probably Acc+ as a minimum) and PC + laser printer 8) Apply for some part time bookkeeping jobs but tell the employer you'll invoice them and that you have an ABN. 9) Maybe sell yourself as a specialist in SMSF bokkkeeping/ admin. 10) finally plenty of good luck !!!
This is the start of being self employed.
Potential clients mainly want cheap/ free advice. They're looking for a bookkeeper to do an accountant's job (sad fact).
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Thanks heaps. Yes I am from AUS. That is exactly what I am after - appreciate your comments. Are you a bookkeeper?
J wrote:

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I'm in the US, but you could still get some ideas from:
www.aipb.org
There's a link to a book "How to Open your own in-home bookkeeping service" which has an entire checklist and all the information you need. I'm sure it could apply to Australia.

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Thank you!!!
Meyer1228 wrote:

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