How to Set Up an Online Accounting Business
Accounting professionals are needed by businesses of all sizes and from all over the country. Many of these businesses, however, choose to outsource their accounting needs to accountants and bookkeepers who work from remote to help them keep their books and finances in order. Plus, with the Internet allowing for telecommuters to work for organizations that are located far away from their homes, there are even more opportunities to set up your own online accounting business. Continue reading to learn more.
Determine What Services You’ll Offer
There are plenty of accounting services that you can offer to clients, so one of the first steps you’ll need to take when setting up your online accounting business is determining what services, in particular, you feel comfortable offering. These could be anything from general bookkeeping services that help businesses manage their accounts receivable and accounts payable on a daily basis, to tax preparation services.
Just remember to go with whatever you’re proficient in, so if you’re a great tax consultant but you are not good with payroll, make sure you offer what you know you can do correctly.
Set Up Your Business
Once you know what kind of accounting business you want to operate, it is time to legally set up your company. This includes choosing a name for your business, registering it, and deciding upon the legal structure of your business, which includes a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, and others, so you can get the appropriate license to operate. There are pros and cons associated with each type of business, so do your research to find out which one will be the right option for you and your ambitions.
Consider Whether or Not You’ll Hire Employees
Just like any other business owner, you also need to figure out whether or not you will be hiring employees to help you with your online accounting business. While you can certainly start off as a sole proprietor and do everything on your own, you may be able to expand to the point that you can hire other accounting and bookkeeping professionals who have expertise in areas that you are weak in. This, too, will help your company grow and help you generate more profits.
If you do decide to bring on employees, remember that you will need to set aside time to properly train them, and you will also need to have a variety of forms ready for them to fill out. These include I-9 and W-4 forms that will get them set up as your employees for tax purposes.
Decide on the Accounting Software That You Will Use
It is also a good idea to determine very early on what software you will use to accomplish all of your accounting tasks. You can go with any program that you feel comfortable with, but you can always learn new software and expand later on. Many people like using QuickBooks, for example, because you can access an online package of software for both payroll and general accounting. Using online software with a cloud backup could be just what you need to save money and ensure that all of your data is properly backed up at all times.
Set Up a Website and Start Marketing
Like any other business, you need to set up a website that you can optimize so that companies and individuals who are looking for accountants will easily find you. Whether you get a free template and design the site yourself or you hire a web designer, keep it simple with a homepage that describes your company and services, as well as a page for your professional bio, photo, and credentials, and a contact form.
After your website is set up, you can start advertising your business online and in print publications, as well as on social media. At first, your clients may come from word-of-mouth, and they may end up referring more people to you, but to really expand your business, you will need to go further. You can seek out free advertising avenues, such as social media, at first, but consider advertising your products and services on websites that are geared towards those who are seeking assistance with accounting, tax preparation, payroll, etc.
Once you are ready to start your own online accounting business, you are well on your way towards letting your entrepreneurial spirit soar. Just make sure that you are qualified to work in accounting, and be sure to properly promote your company to get the most clients possible.