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10 Key Bookkeeping Tips for Self-Employed & Freelancers

August 22, 2023
Bill Kimball

Plus, with the right software, freelance bookkeepers can access their client’s data from any location, providing a faster and more efficient service. Freelance bookkeeping is a great career option for those with experience in accounting, finance, and bookkeeping. With the right qualifications and knowledge, a freelance bookkeeper can offer a variety of services to clients and make a comfortable living. The best time tracking software for freelancers lets you visualize time spent so that you can make better bids or see if you’re spending too much effort on unimportant tasks. Through freelance bookkeeping, you can increase your income, work flexible hours, and gain control over your career. Discover the benefits of being a freelancer bookkeeper and the steps to starting your own freelance bookkeeping business.

self employed bookkeepers

Becoming a freelance bookkeeper requires a strong understanding of basic bookkeeping and accounting principles, as well as experience working with software like QuickBooks. You must also be able to work independently, communicate well, and have customer service skills. Additionally, it is beneficial to have a degree or certification in accounting, finance, or bookkeeping. You can have someone assist you with installing the software and setting up your company account, including your chart of accounts, customer and vendor lists, and products and services.

Having a strong grasp of the most basic bookkeeping tips for freelancers and self-employed professionals is essential for the success of your business. It’ll also help you to make informed decisions and position your company well for future growth. An important factor of bookkeeping for freelancers and self-employed is tracking your day-to-day bookkeeping tasks.

Even if you mostly work on projects that are fixed price rather than by billable hours, using time tracking software will show you how much time different types of projects take. It’ll also allow you to isolate the time you spend on areas like administrative tasks, business development, and client communication. It’s important to keep track of your receipts because the IRS requires them for all tax deductions. We recommend selecting an expense or accounting tool that has a mobile app and a feature that allows you to take photos of receipts and upload them to the software.

Online community

Freelance bookkeeper should charge by the hour or a flat rate for the month once they have a good estimate of the amount of work. But before you define your freelance rate, consider the best practices to negotiate your freelance rate. With a total tax rate generally between 25% and 40%, it’s extremely easy and dangerous to fall behind on your quarterly estimated tax payments. Although you may be tempted to handle all of your company’s bookkeeping duties yourself, it may make more financial sense to hire an expert. Depending on the accounting software you select, the learning curve may be either steep or nonexistent. Check our guide to the best bank accounts for self-employed professionals to find out which accounts may be best for your use.

self employed bookkeepers

By the time tax season rolls around, you may not be as prepared as you thought you were. To overcome this problem, we suggest establishing a bookkeeping schedule to ensure that every expense and payment has been recorded. There are many books available that offer advice on topics such as setting up a business, building a client base, and managing business finances. Some books focus specifically on tax preparation and compliance, which are essential for any freelance bookkeeper. With the right equipment, such as a laptop, printer, and internet connection, a freelance bookkeeper can do their job from any location. This eliminates the need for commuting, allowing them to save on travel expenses and use their time more productively.

They can also pick up new skills and knowledge that can be beneficial to their professional development. To find a freelance bookkeeper you can start by asking your friends, colleagues or even your accountant. Since every country has its own bookkeeping rules and bookkeeping requires the transfer of a lot of documentation you should hire a freelance bookkeeper close to where you operate. Freelance Bookkeepers charge various rates dependent on location and experience. It is advisable to hire a freelance bookkeeper in your own city or country to ensure they are aware of the accounting rules that apply to your business.

Steps to starting a freelance bookkeeping business

We also recommend using a business credit card to separate and identify business expenses easily. In the United States, a freelance bookkeeper earns around $48,691 a year, or approximately $23.41 per hour. This number has massive potential to increase the more you gain experience and expertise as a self-employed bookkeeper. Whether you opt to work with a tax professional or decide to file your income tax return yourself, it’s useful to have a reliable resource for any questions or issues that arise. You can also benefit from an accountant who is available on an as-needed basis, not only during tax time.

self employed bookkeepers

As a self-employed professional or freelancer, it’s essential that you’re involved in every aspect of your business. This includes managing your books to ensure that you’re profitable and entitled to every possible tax deduction. To help you, we compiled 10 key bookkeeping tips for self-employed professionals and freelancers. Online communities provide a platform for members to connect, share advice, and access resources. Additionally, members can join industry-specific forums, read blogs, and find helpful tips on how to succeed as freelance bookkeepers. Finally, you will need to decide on the bookkeeping tools and software you will use to manage your clients’ books.

There are various programs and software available that can help you manage your client’s accounts in an efficient and organized way. You should also research the different rules and regulations related to bookkeeping in your state as well as any professional certifications that may be required. As freelance bookkeepers learn on the job, they gain a better understanding of the industry, which can be invaluable in their future endeavors.

How to find a freelance bookkeeper

Finally, you should consider investing in the right tools and technology to help you stay organized and efficient. Automating some of your bookkeeping processes can save you time and help you provide better services to your clients. Investing in quality accounting software can also help streamline your bookkeeping operations and keep track of your business finances.

They can also train you on how to use the software, including how to make changes or troubleshoot errors. Once you recognize how efficiently your financial expert has set up your books, you can determine whether to work with them on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis. It may seem counter-intuitive, but freelancers often put off sending invoices to their customers. If you don’t send your invoice promptly, you will have to wait longer to receive payment. We suggest invoicing either immediately, upon completing a project or reaching a milestone, or at the end of each month for all work completed within that period. To make it simpler, you can use a separate invoicing software program or the invoicing features that come with your accounting software.

Read about how professional freelancers often require the services of a bookkeeper. Online bookkeeping tools have changed the life of a freelance bookkeeper by giving them more flexibility to work from home. They record the information necessary to produce Financial Statement and to file taxes.

We will also provide tips and resources that can help you succeed in the freelance bookkeeping world. It’s a good idea to set aside 15% of your net income in a separate account to cover self-employment taxes. This is in addition to the 10% to 25% most freelancers will need to set aside for income taxes. Since your taxes won’t be deducted from your paychecks automatically, you should make quarterly estimated tax payments to avoid an underpayment penalty. More than 60% of business owners do their own bookkeeping, thanks to the prevalence of user-friendly accounting software. However, despite the ability to work more flexible hours, it can still be tricky for freelancers to fit everything into a hectic week.

Helpful information and tools

Receive our email newsletter for advice on how to grow your business and engage clients. Bookkeeping can be a collaborative effort, especially if you prefer to create your own invoices or pay your own bills. A good bookkeeper can customize their services, only handling the tasks that you decide to outsource. With the right planning and preparation, you can make sure that your business is set up for success. Tim is a Certified QuickBooks Time (formerly TSheets) Pro, QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and CPA with 25 years of experience.

They must also be able to calculate the quarterly estimated tax payments and issue 1099s for any contractors. These publications bring the latest freelancer news and trends, as well as provide helpful advice for growing a freelance bookkeeping business. Staying up to date on this industry news and trends can help you maintain a competitive edge.

  • Becoming a freelance bookkeeper requires a strong understanding of basic bookkeeping and accounting principles, as well as experience working with software like QuickBooks.
  • According to our article on important accounting statistics, 27.8 million small businesses filed taxes as sole proprietors in 2019.
  • You must also be able to work independently, communicate well, and have customer service skills.
  • Finally, you should consider investing in the right tools and technology to help you stay organized and efficient.

Even if you run a relatively small operation, you’re bound to rack up a number of expenses over the tax year. Freelancers can claim all kinds of work-related items, but only if these can be verified by the IRS upon request. First and foremost, it is essential to clearly understand the services you offer and the types of clients you want to target. Researching the market and your competitors is a great way to gain insight into what is in demand and which services people are looking for. With this knowledge, you can craft a service offering to set you apart from the competition.

What do freelance bookkeepers charge?

Calculating your net income or loss can be tricky if you don’t keep track of which finances are personal and which belong to your business. To avoid any confusion, you should open a separate account for business transactions. By taking advantage of these resources, freelance bookkeepers can gain the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in this competitive field. One of the most common self-employed errors isn’t saving enough money to pay your tax bills, which includes self-employment taxes. According to our article on important accounting statistics, 27.8 million small businesses filed taxes as sole proprietors in 2019. This is a significant number, which reflects the number of freelancers and self-employed workers that need to make sure they’re compliant with tax requirements.

Key Bookkeeping Tips for Self-Employed & Freelancers

These provide in-depth knowledge on topics such as bookkeeping principles and software, as well as best practices for working with clients. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to take your business to the next level, these courses can be invaluable. Once you have the necessary paperwork in place, you should start developing a business plan. This plan should include items such as your target market, pricing, services you will offer, and marketing strategies. You should also make sure to create a brand and identity for your business by developing a logo and website.