Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) and bookkeepers can develop full-time web working careers by using their knowledge to provide the help many people need with their finances. The tools available now mean that it’s possible to do this kind of work remotely. Is bookkeeping or accounting a possible career for you?
Types of Accounting & Bookkeeping Careers
People in this career can handle payroll and business operations, manage personal finances and balance books. Careers in accounting and finance can vary as illustrated by the following examples.
Accountant: Ruth Perryman of The QB Specialists is an accountant with a virtual office who uses GoToAssist to remotely access client QuickBooks files instead of sending files back and forth. She sets up her clients to electronically process documents as well as getting them to use online banking for checking and credit cards. Her business relies on Intuit’s Merchant Services and Billing Solutions for processing invoices and credit card payments, Intuit’s Assisted Payroll for payroll processing and SmartVault for paperwork.
Many accountants report that clients expect them to come into their offices to get their invoices paid. Ruth Perryman works around this by charging more for onsite work. Her clients grow more comfortable with remote work after learning the process. For times when a client needs to send a printed bill, Perryman can process the bill and print it on the client’s printer. All the client has to do is grab the print out, put it in an envelope and mail it.
Certified bookkeeper: Collette Aurand of Black River Bookkeeping is a certified bookkeeper servicing small business. She has several clients to which she provides remote bookkeeping services by connecting to their computers and entering data into their files. She relies on remote control apps like GoToMyPC and LogMeIn. “The key to successful remote access is to actually work as a team with your client. For some of my larger clients, I will work with an administrative assistant and for some of the smaller clients, I will work directly with the owner or partner,” Aurand says.
Tax preparation: Eve Rosenberg, the TaxMama, handles income tax returns and tax planning, writes about taxes and teaches classes to tax professionals. Tax preparation can also be a career for folks who only want to work on a seasonal basis. Becoming a tax preparer does not require having an accounting degree or any kind of finance background as there are schools like The Income Tax School that can get you on board.
Bookkeeping Education: With small businesses looking for ways to save money, more do their own bookkeeping. People like Martha L. Chase of Paper Chase Accounting teaches clients how to enter invoices, receive payments and do bank reconciliations.
How to Qualify
Take accounting courses at the local college or online, get certified in QuickBooks and find a CPA who can be a mentor. Those with business degrees often take accounting courses as part of the requirement.
For example, Brigitte A. Thompson, president of Datamaster Accounting Service, LLC has a business degree and expanded on it by attending QuickBooks training, taking Small Business Administration (SBA) tax workshops through the local Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and attending H&R Block tax courses. Thompson also reads many books on the subject as well as IRS publications.
Accounting & Bookkeeping Tools
Accountants and bookkeepers working online rely on QuickBooks, QuickBooks Payroll, SmartVault, Excel, Pro Series for taxes, email, social network sites, IRS.gov and large file-sharing sites like YouSendIt.
Bookkeeper Karen Jager takes advantage of social networking by staying active on Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo and Twitter. “In today’s market, people go online to find everything and anything they need, so having an online presence is crucial. Besides the social networking sites, I also post ads on craigslist. I try to drive traffic to my web site using ads and the social networking tools,” says Jager.
Linda Campanelli of Campanelli & Associates, CPA LLC, has sent postcards to businesses new to the area and offered a coupon in a local advertising catalog. These cost a bit, but paid for themselves. She also sent letters to friends and associates requesting referrals, and then followed up with phone calls and invitations to meet for coffee. This strategy involved a minimal amount of cost and paid off the most. She plans to publish a quarterly newsletter that provides valuable information and keeps her in her clients’ minds.
No matter how much experience or skill you have, turning in the first financial reports to your clients comes with some anxiety, but as you do more your confidence and expertise will grow.
Would you consider bookkeeping or accounting as a web working career?