Every day more people continue to join the independent workforce. The reason isn’t far-fetched. Many professionals today are looking for more control over who they work for, their working hours, and earnings. If you are looking to be a self-employed accountant, scale your earnings and get all the perks of being your own boss, here are 8 tips to help you do so.
Making the decision to enter the freelance world may be both thrilling and intimidating, regardless of whether you have prior expertise in accounting or are trying to change directions in your career.
Even while working for yourself is praised for offering greater flexibility, variety, and freedom, it can be challenging to know where to begin, particularly if you’re starting from scratch.
All of your pressing questions, such as the distinctions between working for a company and working for yourself, the typical income for a self-employed accountant, and advice on how to start a freelance accounting practice, will be addressed in this guide.
Who is a self-employed accountant?
A self-employed accountant is an independent accountant who offers specific accounting services to clients. The clients include small business owners and other entrepreneurs who may not be able to afford to pay a full-time accountant. Sometimes, it isn’t just about being unable to pay a full-time accountant, but about paying for the specific accounting services offered. A Self-employed accountant is sometimes called an independent accountant or freelance accountant. A self-employed accountant gives financial/management advice to entrepreneurs and assists with payroll services like paying salaries. He/she also oversees the taxes of the enterprise, manages invoices and other financial documents for the firm.
Why become a self-employed accountant?
Many accountants are choosing to become independent or going freelance because of the air of autonomy. There are always jobs for independent accountants because of the economic emphasis on entrepreneurship. Small businesses are always in need of an accountant to help out with their bookkeeping. Chances are that most small businesses will be unwilling to hire full-time accountants. And this is where a self-employed accountant comes highly recommended. A career in accounting is very rewarding and adaptable. As an independent accounting practitioner, you can work with loads of clients according to your abilities.
What exactly is self-employed accounting?
For a variety of reasons, working as a freelance accountant differs from working full-time in an accounting firm or internal department.
You must first find your clientele on your own. This activity could take a lot of time unless you already have contacts that could hire you as a freelancer, so it’s important to account for this.
Second, you’ll probably be working with small firms as your clientele. This is due to the fact that many startups and SMEs prefer to engage freelancers rather than hiring a full-time accountant in order to reduce costs. You might even work for those that don’t want to handle their money or have exceptionally complex incomes and require assistance with their tax returns.
Thirdly, you’ll have a lot more freedom in your job, including the ability to select the clients you want to work with and decide on your own working hours. Because it enables you to fit your job around other responsibilities and yet earn money, many people choose freelance accounting.
You might undertake the following duties and obligations for your clients:
- budget and spending analysis
- controlling payroll
- preparing and submitting tax returns and accounts
- dealing with HMRC on your clients’ behalf
- the submission of VAT returns
- the examination of financial data
8 quick tips to become a self-employed accountant
Deciding to become a self-employed accountant is not a decision to be taken lightly. If you have the requisite degree in accounting and you are ready to take the next step towards going solo. It is important to keep in mind that the process of becoming an independent practitioner is a step-by-step one. It would serve to engage with it as though you were climbing up a ladder. Moreover, it is not just about being self-employed but becoming a successful self-employed accountant. To help you through this career-changing process, here are 8 quick steps to help you make the switch.
1. Acquire the relevant qualification
If you have the skills, an aptitude for numbers, and an eye for details. You do not compulsorily have to get a certificate to be self-employed. However, getting the required qualification puts you at an advantage. A quick tip to becoming a successful self-employed accountant could be getting certified as a CPA( Chartered professional accountant or certified public accountant). This will help you boost clientele and general success in the freelance market. The CPA proves that you are familiar with accounting laws, best practices, and basic bookkeeping skills. As a bonus, it also boosts your confidence when negotiating your price with potential clients.
2. Set up your business profile
Your business name is your business profile. If you have decided to be on your own, you are going to have a name by which you want to be known. You might also have to go as far as getting your business registered with the government. If you are more interested in working online, there are freelance platforms where you can set up your profile. Working online on freelance platforms is another way to be a successful self-employed accountant. By this, you get to utilize technology and work from anywhere in the world and with so many clients too.
3. Niche down
While having a niche can seem restrictive, it is not always the case if you understand the dynamics. Nothing satisfies like having a multiplicity of skills that you have mastered. However, it is dangerous for your self-employed career to pose as a generic accountant. This is because a client who seeks to hire a self-employed accountant does so for the tailored skills he/she has to offer. It helps to begin mastering one skill/niche, becoming an authority before moving on to another. The trick to it is to proceed one niche/skill at a time. That way you build your clientele, one need at a time. An easy way to figure out your niche is to start with an area you are good at and proceed from there.
While it is possible to be a self-employed accountant who serves many industries, we advise choosing a few to focus on. In addition to establishing you as an authority in those particular professions, doing so will increase the likelihood that clients from those industries will select your services. Being able to target particular terms and businesses will also make marketing yourself much simpler.
4. Leverage the power of networking
Since being self-employed is a game of people and communication, you will most likely spend a great deal of your time talking and negotiating with people. Forming alliances, building associates/partners, friendships, or meeting with clients. Networking can always be done in person or virtual spaces. Becoming a successful self-employed accountant requires excellent PR skills. You have to understand people and relationships. Also, you have to master the art of salesmanship as you will be selling yourself and your skills to people. You might even have to build some kind of online presence to stay in the public eye. Social media platforms can be a handy tool for marketing your business and advertising. Do not shy away from professional meetings, lectures, or seminars. It will help you gain more knowledge and stay up-to-date with events in your profession.
5. Invest in a productive workspace
Whether you choose to work from home or get an office. A productive workspace will increase your success as a self-employed accountant. The nurture argument that we are heavily influenced by our environment stands out in this case. Your workspace does not have to cost a fortune. It just needs to have the right perks to keep you motivated and open to more opportunities. For some people, a comfortable work chair, a desk, and a cute cup of coffee are all there is. For another, it could be using time blocking to map out the hours when they work and when they don’t. This helps to encourage an excellent work-life balance.
6. Decide on your rates
Pricing is usually a great challenge for the self-employed. That’s because no laws are binding on how much you should charge for your services. But if you are just dipping your toe in the pool, setting hourly rates is a great way to get started. Then as you gain more experience with clients and offer multiple services, adopting value-based pricing/fixed rates might seem better. You can also decide to create a catalog for your services and offer them in bundles to build clientele.
7. Use technology to get ahead of the competition
As a self-employed accountant, you will notice that part of your success depends on speed and accuracy. The combination of speed and accuracy gives efficiency. The fact is, there are tons of self-employed accountants and the faster you complete a task, the more work you can get. This is also why individual accountants decide to form small groups and work as a team to build synergy. However, you can also utilize technology to stay on top of things. There are simple tasks that can be done by service providers such as paystubsnow. These include check stubs, invoices, voided checks and 1099. Instead of spending precious time making these types of documents, you save time and effort. Another service you can utilize is cloud-based accounting software. With this, you can access client financial data regardless of your locale and offer quick, quality service. This is the power of automation.
8. Be patient with yourself
Being self-employed has its ups and downs. There will be up days and down days but you must be patient to watch your business grow. you need to ensure that you are mentally prepared for a self-employed career. Understanding the pros and cons of being a self-employed accountant will help you deal with those days when it feels hard.
Few things a self-employed accountant can do with Paystubsnow
Paystubsnow is an online paystub generator that can assist a self-employed accountant with generating financial documents. Preparing paystubs, invoices, 1099, w-2 forms and getting them in your email. That amounts to saving up more time with automation in accounting. If you are serious about being a self-employed accountant, this is a tool you need to save time.
How much money can self-employed accountants make?
Your level of experience and the sector you chose will affect how much money you make as a self-employed accountant.
Newly trained non-freelance accountants can anticipate an annual salary of £30,000 on average. Chartered accountants typically make around £85k per year with a bonus of around £17,000 while working full-time.
You can choose your own fees as a freelance accountant, and you can look at freelancing marketplaces like Upwork or PeoplePerHour to get a solid notion of the benchmark that corresponds to your experience.
The normal hourly rate for a self-employed accountant is between £11 to £50, but many clients might prefer a monthly payment. Depending on the accounting services that will be included and the complexity of the accounts, this could range from £50-£500 each month. For instance, if the client requests that you include payroll for a number of employees, you can charge more.
Additionally, it’s common to come across one-off freelance accounting work with clients who merely require assistance with errands of accounting or with completing their year-end accounts at the conclusion of the tax year.
Can self-employed accountants work for themselves?
Yes, accountants can work for themselves. Such accountants are called self-employed accountants or freelance accountants or individual accountants. It would require gaining the required degree and matching skills to work as an individual accountant.
What are some examples of self-employed accounting jobs?
There are so many accounting jobs for a self-employed accountant. These jobs also depend on the individual’s skill/niche and the demands of those hiring. Examples of self-employed accounting jobs include: preparing taxes, paychecks, and invoices, company bookkeeping, financial auditing, etc.
What skills will you need to be successful in accounting?
Besides the requisite accounting qualification, other high income skills to be successful in accounting include but are not limited to: strong written and oral communication skills, attention to detail, aptitude for numbers and calculation, organization skills, basic technology skills.