How to Get Bookkeeping Clients: An Easy Step-By-Step Guide

Whether you’re a newly minted entreprenåeur diving into the world of freelance bookkeeping 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.

But don’t be discouraged! Building up your client base may seem like an impossible task at first, but with the right tools under your belt, you’ll be attracting new clientele in no time. Today we’ll take you through the best strategies to get new bookkeeping clients.

Five easy steps to get bookkeeping clients

Step one: Identify your audience

Before you can start 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 most 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 – sticking to a specific niche service (i.e. payroll) or industry (i.e. retail stores, restaurants) helps potential clients determine whether you are the right fit for them, while remaining in the generalist pool widens your scope of prospective business.  

Step two: Develop your online presence

There are a plethora of social media platforms available to help craft your online presence, so how do you choose which one is right for your freelance bookkeeping business?

Facebook

We recommend you start with Facebook. Facebook offers a number of great tools to support freelance business owners. If you haven’t already, you’ll want to 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.

LinkedIn

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!

Step three: Get certified with an accounting software

In the world of freelance bookkeeping, it’s difficult to stand out amongst 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 four: 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. By building relationships with local professionals in similar or complementary industries, you will open yourself 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 favour next time – working together to grow your business is a win-win strategy!

Offer subcontracting – 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 in order to give them a taste of your offerings. Satisfied clients are likely to want to spread the word of your great work within their own networks – especially if you offer discounts or additional services in return.

Step five: 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, we also suggest starting your own webinar. You’ll want to 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 not only help your clients manage their own businesses easier, but also 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.

Get started – Start searching for new 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!  You also don’t need to do steps 2 to 5 in order.

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!


About Shoeboxed

Shoeboxed is a receipt management application that turns your receipts and business documents into a digital format in just one click by taking a picture straight from your smartphone or scanning a pdf. It automatically extracts, categorizes, and human-verifies important data from your receipts so that you can go over and check your records anytime with ease.

Shoeboxed ensures you always have your receipts securely stored and ready for tax purposes. More importantly, Shoeboxed helps you track mileage using your phone’s built-in GPS for unmatched ease and accuracy. Access your Shoeboxed account from your web browser or smartphone app. Stay audit-ready with Shoeboxed for FREE now!

What Does Single-Entry Bookkeeping Look Like: Explanation and Examples

You may have heard about the double-entry accounting method to keep track of a business’s finances. 

But do you know there’s another method called single-entry bookkeeping that has been commonly used since the 1400s?  

In this article, we’ll tell you in more detail about this ancient bookkeeping method with some easy-to-follow examples so that you can understand it. 

What is single-entry bookkeeping? 

Single-entry bookkeeping is a very simple way to record financial transactions. The bookkeeper literally just needs to enter each transaction as a single entry in a journal. You don’t need to classify the nature of transactions as an expense or an income. Everything is recorded the same way with one entry to the log. 

With the single-entry bookkeeping system, you mostly record incoming and outgoing money to the cash book and you track assets and liabilities separately.

Due to its simplicity, this method is great for new small businesses. According to an IRS report, many individuals and small enterprises opt to use single-entry bookkeeping to keep track of their finances. However, the IRS doesn’t allow businesses with annual gross sales of more than $5 million to use this method.

Examples of single-entry bookkeeping 

At its most basic form, a typical single-entry journal will have the following information: 

  • Transaction date: the day the transaction is made 
  • Transaction description: detailed information about what the transaction is about
  • Transaction value: the amount of the transaction 

Below are a few examples of how the single-entry bookkeeping system is used in real situations.

Example 1

Suppose you are a bookshop owner. Your main financial transactions are to buy and sell books, so this is what your cash book would look like with the single-entry bookkeeping method:

Pretty straightforward, isn’t it ?

The journal is just like a cash diary where you jot down each transaction in a single line, and there’s no requirement for professional knowledge—everyone and anyone can do it!

Now, let’s check another example where the bookkeeping system gets a bit more complicated. 

Example 2

The following cash book shows more details than Example 1. 

It still contains the basic information like the date the transaction occurred, a short description, etc., but on top of that, it also displays whether the money is coming in or out (income or expense) and the bank balance, which changes with each new transaction.

We’re going to use the same bookstore scenario so you can see the differences more clearly: 

Normally, after finalizing the closing balance on the cash book, businesses usually compare and cross-check the cash book with the bank statement to ensure every entry was correctly recorded.  

In this case, the bookstore will find out that there’s a $500 check that hasn’t yet been cleared and $150 cash that hasn’t been deposited yet. 

So in such a case, the business would create  a bank reconciliation sheet as follows:

Example 3 

You may also include a reference column to keep track of invoice numbers and a reconciliation column on the far right to mark if you’ve reconciled (matched) the entry to your bank statement.

Also, you can break down each column into smaller categories. For example, with expenses, you can split it into different kinds such as cost of goods sold (COGS), advertising costs, and delivery fees. 

The image below will show you what a super detailed single-entry bookkeeping system looks like:

Image. Beginner-Bookkeeping

What are the pros and cons of the single-entry bookkeeping system?

If you are wondering whether a single-entry bookkeeping system is suitable for your business, check out some of the pros and cons of this method below!

Pros: Why should you choose the single-entry bookkeeping system?

  • Easy to implement: even individuals who have little to no  experience with accounting can easily get used to and master this recording system.
  • Cost-saving: you don’t need to buy accounting software to perform complicated tasks or hire a bookkeeping professional.

Cons: Why should you avoid the single-entry bookkeeping system?

  • Insufficient data: as the data you record with single-entry bookkeeping is very basic (only cash in and cash out), you won’t have enough data to prepare proper financial statements or strategize timely policies. 
  • Tax issues: due to the fragmentary nature of the data recorded with the single-entry system, many types of companies using this method aren’t acceptable to tax authorities.
  • Bookkeeping mistakes: unlike double-entry bookkeeping, where you always need to maintain the balance between debits and credits, the single-entry system doesn’t need to self-balance. This means errors can arise and be carried forward without anyone noticing, which may lead to severe consequences in the future.  

Final thoughts 

If you have a very simple sole proprietorship—one that doesn’t have any inventory, doesn’t have any debts, and not many accounts to keep track of—single-entry bookkeeping could be a good choice for you. However, if your business is any more complicated than that, consider using a double-entry bookkeeping system to have more complete and accurate financial data.  


About Shoeboxed 

Shoeboxed is a receipt management application that digitizes your receipts and business documents in just one click by taking a picture straight from your smartphone or scanning a pdf. It automatically extracts, categorizes, and human-verifies important data from your receipts so that you can go over and check your records anytime with ease. Shoeboxed ensures you will always have your receipts securely stored and ready for tax purposes. More importantly, Shoeboxed helps you track mileage using your phone’s built-in GPS for unmatched ease and accuracy. 

Access your Shoeboxed account from your web browser or smartphone app. Stay audit-ready with Shoeboxed for FREE now!

Online Seller’s Guide to E-Commerce Sales Tax

If you own an online store with customers from all over the United States, figuring out your e-commerce sales tax can get a little bit complicated.

Why?

Because your online store is basically open for business in 50 states, each state has its own unique set of eCommerce sales tax laws.

In this post, we’ll explain what eCommerce Sales Tax is and whether you need to collect it. We’ll also cover the differences from state-to-state, and how to comply with the e-commerce sales tax. 

Let’s get to it!

What is the e-commerce sales tax?

Sometimes known as online sales or internet sales tax, the e-commerce sales tax is a kind of tax that online merchants have to charge and collect from buyers, then remit the taxes collected back to the government. 

It is a percentage of your total sales price (before shipping fees), with the percentage varying across areas or states. So basically, eCommerce sales tax is not too different from any other standard sales tax, only that it is for online sales.

You might also be interested in:

How does sales tax work for e-commerce?

The most fundamental thing for online sales tax is your business must have sales tax nexus. 

What does sales tax nexus mean?

Tax nexus is the connection between a business and a state that creates tax obligations. In other words, if you have nexus with a state, you must collect applicable e-commerce sales taxes from your customers in that state.

Not long ago, sales tax nexus only applied to retailers who had a physical presence in a state, such as offices or warehouses. That meant online vendors only had to simply collect sales taxes in states where they had facilities.

However, that is no longer the case due to the 2018 U.S Supreme Court decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair. Under this new rule, states can now define sales tax nexus more broadly, including e-commerce companies with no physical presence within their borders. 

Remember, you’ll always be subject to sales tax in your home state. On the other hand, certain commercial activities can also result in sales tax nexus in other states. 

As complicated as it is, we’ve listed a few common ways to trigger a sales tax nexus across different states:

  • Business facility: an office, warehouse, store, or other physical presence of the business.
  • Personnel: anyone who works for you like employees, contractors, salespersons, etc.  
  • Inventory: storing your inventory even without having any staff.
  • Affiliates: anyone who advertises your products in exchange for a cut of the profits.
  • A drop shipping relationship: having a third party ship to your buyers may create a nexus.
  • Selling products at a trade show: though you only sell there temporarily, some states still consider you to have a nexus.
  • Economic nexus: You exceed a state-mandated dollar amount of sales in a state or make over a certain state-mandated number of transactions. The image below will make it clearer for you to understand.

Image. State-by-state guide economic nexus laws. Avalara

Ecommerce Sales Tax Across The States 

45 states impose sales taxes. The states without sales tax are Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon. Among states with sales tax, all but two, Florida and Missouri, currently require remote sellers to collect and remit sales tax.

Most states are still adapting to the changes caused by the Wayfair decision and are still trying to develop a fair system for online entrepreneurs. You’ll have to examine the current requirements for online sellers in each individual state where you have sales to ensure eCommerce sales tax compliance.

How can you comply with the eCommerce sales tax? 

If you don’t want to leave your business vulnerable to audit, fines, and repayment, this is your go-to guide to stay in compliance with online sales tax. 

1. Know whether you have sales tax nexus and what products are subject to eCommerce sales tax.

This step alone will require a lot of reading and researching. It would be best if you had a solid understanding of state-by-state sales tax laws, especially the ones you have business going on. It’s advised to check information on each state’s official website for the most updated and accurate information. 

Also, you need to determine whether the products you’re selling are taxable within a state. For example, clothing is not taxable in Pennsylvania, which means no charging sales tax to customers in that state.

2. Register for a sales tax permit.

Once you know exactly what states you have sales tax nexus in, the next step is to contact your state’s taxing authority (commonly referred to as the “[State] Department of Revenue”) to register a sales tax permit. 

This is an important step you should not skip because, as in most states, collecting sales tax without a permit is considered illegal. 

The cost of these permits varies from free to $100, and they have different expiration dates.

If you need more detailed information on sales tax permit, check out this blog:

3. Collect, report, and file your sales tax returns.

Your state will give you a sales tax filing frequency when issuing your sales tax permit. This is usually done on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. The bigger your sales volume in a state, the more frequently the state will require you to file a sales tax return and remit the sales tax you’ve collected.

One important note is even if you didn’t collect any sales tax from your customers during the tax period, you still need to file a sales tax report by the due date. Failure to file a zero return may result in severe penalties in several states.

Final thoughts 

Taxes are not easy to handle, especially the e-commerce sales tax. But if you do your research thoroughly and follow our guide, we’re sure you will nail it! 

For more financial blogs, check the Shoeboxed Blog


About Shoeboxed

Shoeboxed is a receipt management application that turns your receipts and business documents into a digital format in just one click by taking a picture straight from your smartphone or scanning a pdf. It automatically extracts, categorizes, and human-verifies important data from your receipts so that you can go over and check your records anytime with ease. Shoeboxed ensures you will always have your receipts securely stored and ready for tax purposes.Access your Shoeboxed account from your web browser or smartphone app. Stay audit-ready with Shoeboxed for FREE now!