Whether you’re a newly minted entrepreneur diving into the world of bookkeeping freelancers or a seasoned bookkeeper looking to grow your business, finding clients can be a tough job.
This is especially true following the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which drove a majority of businesses online and left many bookkeepers scrambling to develop their online presence.
Don’t despair! Building up your client base is challenging, but with the right tools and a plan, you’ll be attracting new clientele in no time.
Today we’ll take you through the best strategies how to get bookkeeping clients, and we break it down into easy steps!
Step-by-step how to get bookkeeping clients
Step 1. Identify your audience.
Before starting your search, you’ll need to know what kind of client you’re looking for. Identifying your target market will not only help you find your ideal clientele but also help them find you in the long-run!
To do this, you’ll need to decide whether you are looking to specialize in a specific industry or provide services to a more general client base. There are benefits to both options.
Sticking to a specific niche service (i.e. payroll) or industry (i.e. bookkeeping for truckers, bookkeeping for real estate agents, etc.) helps potential clients determine whether you are the right fit for them. However, remaining in the generalist pool widens your scope of prospective business.
Consider your areas of expertise and interest and what kind of connections you might already have to the niche or industry you will target.
Step 2. Develop your online presence.
There are many platforms available to help craft your online presence, so how do you choose which one is right for your bookkeeping freelancing business?
We recommend you start with Facebook. Facebook offers several great tools to support freelance business owners. If you haven’t already, take a moment to check out Facebook Business Pages. You can use your page to promote your service offerings, share useful bookkeeping tips and relevant posts, and grow your following.
If you already have existing clients, it’s a good idea to encourage them to visit your page and leave a review—it will help generate positive feedback about your services and attract new business. Make sure you also include links to any other social media platforms or external websites where new and existing clients can find you in the “About” page.
Another great resource is LinkedIn, otherwise known as the world’s leading business social networking site. With over 722 million users, there are many reasons why LinkedIn is the go-to site for professionals looking to build their network. Help clients find you by interacting on posts and in relevant groups, or take the first step and reach out to potential clients to introduce yourself. If you’re having trouble getting started, Hootsuite has a great guide to help you create an attractive page.
You may also want to look into creating a Twitter, blog, podcast, or YouTube channel where you can share helpful bookkeeping knowledge and tips, showcase your skills and establish your reputation as an expert. And don’t forget to re-share your content on your other social media pages!
When you’re a beginner or just starting your business, Upwork is a good place to start. It is a global marketplace that connects you with hundreds of clients worldwide. There are plenty of clients and jobs to be done as a virtual bookkeeper.
Upwork uses an algorithm—the more reviews and clients you get, the higher your chances of winning a client. Once you get those 5-star reviews and build your portfolio, you get a continuous stream of clients.
Set up your own website
Building your website gives you another avenue to showcase your services. Websites can be costly and require huge upkeep when starting. Although it is a good investment as it builds your business’s credibility. A good website can strengthen your brand and build your reputation. It also shows a sense of professionalism, especially when you want to bag high-ticket clients.
Having a website can also help you reach your target audience. You can make use of marketing strategies and optimizations to reach your clients. It is also a great way to showcase your portfolio, post testimonials, and get reviews.
Step 3. Get certified with an accounting software.
In the world of freelance bookkeeping, it can be challenging to stand out among the thousands of other qualified professionals out there.
Set yourself apart by getting certified by your accounting software of choice. Most people will be familiar with QuickBooks, so we recommend joining the QuickBooks ProAdvisor program.
This is a completely free way to let your clients know that you’re an expert user of QuickBooks’ products. Being added to QuickBooks’ Find-A-ProAdvisor Directory will also help generate a few leads every month.
Step 4. Network with professionals.
The struggle to find clients isn’t unique to bookkeeping—all professionals in the service industry will go through this at some stage in their career. This also means that all professionals will likely understand the value of a referral. Building relationships with local professionals in similar or complementary industries will open you up to an even wider avenue of opportunity.
Once you’ve made the connection, what comes next is totally up to you:
Offer to trade referrals—Perhaps your new professional connection knows someone looking for a freelance bookkeeper. You can repay the favor next time. Working together to grow your business is a win-win strategy!
Offer to subcontract—If you’re starting out and looking to gain some experience, reach out to some well-known local bookkeepers and offer to take on some of their workload. This is a great way to get your name out there and potentially find your first client.
Offer referral incentives—You may want to reach out to professionals and offer complementary services to give them a taste of your offerings. Satisfied clients will likely want to spread the word of your great work within their own networks—particularly if you offer discounts or additional services in return.
Step 5. Attend public speaking events.
A great way to establish your credibility and build your reputation as a reliable bookkeeper is to share your expertise at business-related events such as conferences, seminars, business training sessions, trade shows, and webinars. Public speaking may feel intimidating at first—but fear not. If you start by volunteering for smaller guest-speaking opportunities, you can gradually grow your presentation skills until you feel ready to attend larger-scale conferences.
If you enjoy public speaking, consider starting your own webinar. Speak on relevant topics that you have experience in. For example, you may want to educate your audience about receipt management—a task that can easily get out of hand without the right tools.
This is the perfect chance to introduce and walk your clients through any useful, bookkeeping-related software applications, such as Shoeboxed—a receipt management application that turns your receipts and business documents into digital format. This will help your clients manage their own businesses more easily and streamline your bookkeeping process in the future!
Once you’ve chosen a topic, make sure you do your research, include numerous interactive opportunities, and create engaging visuals so your audience will want to attend your future events. To garner an audience, reach out to your existing client network and promote your event on your social media pages. This is a great (and free!) opportunity for current and future clients to tap into your expertise.
Frequently asked questions
To start getting clients as a beginner bookkeeper, it is important to have the right training, education, and experience. You should have the skills to be a bookkeeper and showcase this when applying for opportunities. You can apply for internships or entry-level job positions even with just a certificate course in bookkeeping. You can also do freelance jobs online as a virtual bookkeeper.
See also: Bookkeeping Job Description 101: Everything You Ought to Know
The bookkeeping business is a growing industry. According to The Business Research Company, the size of the worldwide accounting services market is anticipated to increase by 11.4% from $587.94 billion in 2021 to $1,009.51 billion in 2026. However, competition remains fierce, and it can be challenging to bring in new clients as time passes. That is why it is important to have a good sales and business plan.
The secret to growing your bookkeeping business is to have a good strategy. In business, it is essential to do your research, be prepared, and plan accordingly. Knowing your target audience, marketing your business, and constantly improving your craft is a surefire way to grow your business.
There are plenty of advertising platforms you can choose from.
1. Google Ads
2. Facebook Ads
3. Instagram Ads
4. Twitter Ads
5. LinkedIn Ads
Be creative and think outside the box. Choose a platform that you’re comfortable with and that resonates with you. We’ve seen bookkeepers market their services on unconventional platforms like Tiktok and Instagram. Everywhere is an opportunity for a sales pitch. The important thing is you get the word out.
With technology, bookkeeping can now be done remotely. You can get online bookkeeping clients by being a virtual bookkeeper. Popular online job sites in 2022 include the following:
You can also look at online networks and join online accounting communities and bookkeeping forums.
You must compute all the factors when determining how many clients you should have. You have to evaluate your availability and workload to ensure that you can deliver quality service. You also have to determine your goals and adjust your strategy accordingly. For example, if you want to earn more, you should have more clients or have higher prices. You determine what you can handle.
Final thoughts on how to get bookkeeping clients
Phew—you made it to the end of our guide! With all of these strategies in hand, you’re almost ready to take on the task of getting new clients for your freelance bookkeeping business. Before you embark on your journey to success, we want to remind you that you do not need to use every method we’ve suggested—especially not all at once!
Give this article another read, think about which methods will work best for your business goals, and then when you feel ready, get the ball rolling. You can do this!
Originally published on July 2, 2022. Updated on September 9, 2022.
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