Freelance Bookkeeping – It’s not just about the bookkeeping

March 8, 2014

Bookkeeping is in itself a very noble and rewarding career choice.  Whether you choose to be an employee, part-time contractor or to manage your own freelance bookkeeping firm, you will find that bookkeeping is a key piece of the puzzle for all businesses.  Every business needs an accurate and complete set of books.  This is required by law.  That fact alone makes a good bookkeeper quite valuable.  If you are a freelance (contract) bookkeeper who comes to the table with multiple bookkeeping and/or business specialties, that makes you very valuable.

Only experience and a history of solid hands-on training can make you’re a truly valuable commodity in this field.  Community colleges and online certification programs are great to get your started, but they only supply you with the fundamentals of bookkeeping.  Taking additional courses to strengthen your knowledge and skill level is an advantage and most certainly recommended, but there is nothing that catapults you to super star status than hands-on experience.

It is most unfortunate that we see bookkeepers offering their services with next to no training or freelance experience.  One of the biggest problems that we see in Canada right now is bookkeepers who have been an employee with a single company for 10 or more years and think that would make them good freelance bookkeepers.  It most certainly does not!

In the freelance world, you are not an employee.  You are a business person and owner in your own right, working as a professional who is hired on as an expert offering solutions that will benefit your client and the professionals they work with.  You are the key player that many others depend on.

Because of this, your liability and skill set differs from an employee.  Your required expertise in bookkeeping, your procedures and business structure will change almost every time you meet a new and potential client.  Every client is different and you must conform to their needs, not them to yours.

As a freelance bookkeeper your career is ever changing.  It can be fun, challenging, exciting and at the same time frustrating and hard work.  Regardless, there is nothing more rewarding than starting with a huge mess, if that’s what you’ve inherited, and ending up with a beautiful piece of work.

Over the years we have been asked to clean up multi-year messes, audit company bookkeepers, design bookkeeping systems from scratch, customize accounting programs, prepare payroll in multiple countries, teach and consult either hands-on or via remote access.  We have been asked to manage government audits, implement product control systems, help with the sale of business or bankruptcies, and the list goes on and on.  We are required to know multiple programs, international regulations, multiple currency exchange, and government trust account requirements.

As you can see, freelancing is more than just the posting of data and reconciling the bank statements.  If you think what we have presented is exciting as well as challenging, and you think you have what it takes to learn from us, we most certainly encourage you to sign up for our workshops.  We’ll be glad to pass on what we know.