Working as a freelancer is a dream come true for many accountants. You get to choose the hours you work, where you work, who you work with, and how you work. The good news is becoming a freelance accountant has never been easier, thanks to the mass online transformation of modern business.
If you are interested in becoming a successful freelance accountant, read on to find useful and practical information that will help you achieve your career goals.
What is a freelance accountant?
Just like a corporate accountant, freelance accountants help manage their clients’ money so that they can allocate resources and run their operations more efficiently.
Listed below are some common examples of a freelance accountant’s tasks and responsibilities:
- Record financial transactions on digital ledgers
- Prepare invoices and send them to their client’s customers on time
- Process and distribute payroll for client’s employees
- Create financial statements and tax reports
- Ensure their client’s financial operations are compliant with the law
- File tax returns and assist business owners with finding ways to minimize their tax
- Create a budget for a business
See also: 4 End of Year Tax Tips for Freelancers.
3 Practical tips to become a successful freelance accountant
These 3 tips will help steer your freelance accounting career in the right direction.
Check them out!
1. Assure your customers that you are qualified
You should obtain at least one accounting-related qualification before starting your freelance business. Not only does it give you the necessary knowledge to perform your work, but it also serves as proof to your potential clients that you can handle the job. The more accounting qualifications you have, the greater the chance that you’ll snag a client at a competitive rate. Here are three common ways that a freelance accountant can show that they are qualified:
- Have a Bachelor’s Degree
While a bachelor’s degree in the field is preferred, any business or accounting-related degree that involves accounting, auditing, tax courses, or credits is also beneficial.
- Get Certified or Licensed
Although it’s not compulsory, many businesses will only work with freelance accountants who are either certified or licensed (some clients want both!). Some professional certifications that can help you stand out are: Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA).
- Acquire Experience
Working experience is a great way to prove that you know what you are doing! On your online profiles, make sure to include in detail any of your accounting work experience such as what your tasks were, which company you worked for, how long you worked there, etc.
As important as your qualifications are, you should also constantly update your knowledge whenever you can with webinars, networking events, and professional courses.
2. Invest in equipment, software, and online tools
Once you’ve decided to go freelance, you have to be prepared to spend a considerable amount of money on a laptop, a stable Internet connection, and accounting software and tools. There are many online accounting software on the market today, and you should choose carefully based on your accounting specialty and budget. You might want to consider some popular accounting software such as Quickbooks, Xero, Freshbooks, and Bench.
When working as a freelance accountant, you usually won’t actually work in your client’s office space, so it will likely be up to you to provide the infrastructure needed to store paper files. This can be inconvenient, especially if you have a smaller living space. To solve this problem, use Shoeboxed. Shoeboxed is a software that helps you digitize your documents, especially financial receipts, in a snapshot. They will then be securely stored in the cloud, where you can go back and search for your files anywhere, anytime.
Advertise, advertise, and advertise
Advertising is the way to connect you with potential clients. Start small with the traditional way – word of mouth. Tell your family, friends, and former colleagues about your freelance business and what you have to offer. Next, you can create social media profiles, purchase advertising space or create marketing campaigns that show your skills and services. Advertising can have a massive impact on the growth of your freelance career, especially at the start.
Where can you find freelance accounting jobs?
Many new freelance accountants get their first jobs through friends, family, or networks from their previous workplaces. But if that option is not for you, don’t worry. There are many freelance job websites that can help you find clients.
Listed below are the biggest and most well-trusted websites for freelance accounting jobs:
- Fiverr: On this platform, freelancers can post and advertise details of their services. Potential customers looking for a freelance accountant will scroll through and choose a suitable one. When you register as a freelance accountant on Fiverr, you can classify your services into basic, standard, and premium packages.
- Paro: Paro is more specific to financial services, and accounting is listed among jobs such as bookkeeping, financial analysis and planning services, and even CFO services. According to Paro, only the top 2% of finance freelancers make it through their rigorous vetting process, which includes a skills assessment, interview, test project, and reference check.
- Upwork: Upwork is pretty much the same as Fiverr. Millions of jobs are posted on the site, and there are over 5,000 skills on offer, including accounting. One downside of being on a platform this size is that you have to really stand out against thousands of competitors to get clients.
Becoming a freelance accountant is a pretty straightforward process. If you constantly improve your knowledge, acquire modern accounting tools, and put yourself out there online, you will soon be able to build a successful freelance business.
Shoeboxed is an application that lets you digitize paper receipts in just a few seconds. It automatically extracts and categorizes important data from your receipts, which then gets approved by a team of data experts. Quick, reliable, and trustworthy, Shoeboxed guarantees to organize your piles of documents in the best way you can imagine!
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