How to Become a Bookkeeper (7 Easy Steps)

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Are you looking for a career that’s both rewarding and accessible? Bookkeeping may be the right one for you! 

Bookkeepers are the financial backbone of any business, as they’re well-versed in the best ways to record and utilize transactions in a company.

I’m sure a huge chunk of a business’s success depends on its bookkeepers!

Interested in bookkeeping? In this article, I’ll tell you more about how to become a bookkeeper — even if you don’t have any experience. 

Did you know all it really takes is learning software and signing up for a course (or two)?

That’s right! I’ll tell you all about that and more, including:

  • The benefits of becoming a virtual bookkeeper
  • Tips to set yourself up for success
  • Some FAQs about the process.

Key Takeaways

  • Becoming a bookkeeper can be accomplished in just a few easy steps
  • Bookkeeping often doesn’t require a lot of formal education, but having higher degrees and more certifications is a major plus
  • There are endless benefits to virtual bookkeeping!
  • You don’t need prior experience, either — just having a thirst for knowledge and an organized approach will get you very far
  • Unlike in other professions, the keys to becoming a successful bookkeeper are a lot simpler and achievable.
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7 Steps to Becoming a Bookkeeper (with no experience)

  1. Invest in work equipment
  2. Take a bookkeeping course
  3. Learn how to use accounting software
  4. Launch your bookkeeping business
  5. Choose your services and prices
  6. Create a business website
  7. Continue investing in yourself

1. Invest in work equipment

Your work setup can make or break your experience with bookkeeping. To be successful, I recommend investing in a computer with a strong processor (Intel Core i5 or higher) and a larger screen size so you can view multiple documents at once. 

Additionally, having internet access and picking the right operating system (usually between Windows or Mac) that you’re comfortable with are important for avoiding common computer issues, too!

You wouldn’t want to lose your steam because of technical issues. Finally, your company may host meetings virtually, which is why installing Zoom is a good idea.

In Zoom, you can also share computer screens and run meetings efficiently.

2. Take a bookkeeping course

When it comes to bookkeeping, knowledge is power. That’s why signing up for bookkeeping courses is a huge step forward and will give you an edge over other bookkeepers.

For example, Bookkeeper Launch is a hugely successful course that teaches you 21st-century bookkeeping skills, how to command the software of your choice, and make your bookkeeping a whole lot more efficient!

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3. Learn how to use accounting software

There are different types of bookkeeping software such as Quickbooks that you can use to manage your bookkeeping and clients.

These software platforms are designed to support a bookkeeping business without requiring too much trial and error!

However, if you want to personalize how you keep records and enjoy easier graph creation, I recommend Microsoft Excel for something just as effective but also very versatile.

4. Launch your bookkeeping business

If you’ve done the above steps, it’s now time to launch your business! This will require some networking, both in person and on websites like LinkedIn. 

Alternatively, if you plan to seek employment rather than building your own business, responding to job postings on Indeed or other websites with your resume is the way to go.

5. Choose your services and pricing

While this is mostly applicable to independent bookkeepers, I also recommend researching average bookkeeping salaries in your area.

It might be useful when negotiating pay if you’re applying for bookkeeping jobs!

Here’s a pro tip I find very helpful: services and pricing are all relative to the location you’re living in and the types of companies you’d like to work with (e.g., healthcare, cosmetics, small businesses, and more).

6. Create a business website

This is a step you really shouldn’t miss out on. Building a professional website is very important in today’s digital age, and it also helps your visibility!

While you can create your own website with the help of free and paid builders available online, there are also many qualified professionals (such as website developers) who can help you create the website of your dreams.

7. Continue investing in yourself

Bookkeeping requires continuous investment in yourself and your business! I know it can be tempting to throw all of your energy into working (especially at the beginning), but don’t overdo it. 

Make sure that you’re well-rested, well-fed, and able to function at your peak performance every day.

Benefits of Becoming a Virtual Bookkeeper

Because bookkeepers only really need their computers to work, they have a better chance of working as virtual bookkeepers who can handle transactions even from halfway across the world.

Here are some more benefits that might perk you up:

  • You’re the Boss. Because businesses depend on you, bookkeeping can provide you with your own business (and the perks that come with it). If you establish your own bookkeeping business, you typically set your hours and work with clients who support your vision.
  • Flexibility. Bookkeeping from home can be very flexible, especially for those of us with kids and other domestic responsibilities. Also, working from the comfiest sweatpants is a huge plus I’m sure many will grab!
  • Cost Efficiency. Bookkeepers who work from home don’t require any office space, saving money in rent and office upkeep that contribute to business overhead costs. And with no commute needed (see the next bullet), you won’t be spending on gas money as much, either!
  • Reduced or No Commute. Working remotely eliminates the commute and allows you to clock in from anywhere. Whether that’s at home, in a coffee shop with a cup of latte, or on the beach, you can run your bookkeeping business efficiently from your computer (as long as there’s strong internet access). 
  • Clutter-Friendly. If you run your bookkeeping business completely online, you’ll avoid having stacks of papers in drawers or on your desk. That means less clutter in your office or home. Also, virtual bookkeeping is inherently environmentally friendly!

Keys to Becoming a Successful Bookkeeper

Proper Training. A high school diploma is often the minimum that’s necessary, but education beyond that (such as getting an associate’s degree or higher) and the necessary certifications serve as additional proof to future employers that you’re committed to this profession!

Continuing Education. Bookkeeping has been around for thousands of years, so the profession has changed substantially over time. As time progresses and technology advances, the profession will change yet again — keep your skills up to date!

Organizational Skills. If there’s only one requirement for being a bookkeeper, I’m convinced it’s being exceptionally organized. Being organized doesn’t come naturally to many people, including me! 

However, it’s a skill that anyone can cultivate over time. Being organized will help you be a terrific bookkeeper, but it’s also something you can use in life.

Time Management. Organization goes hand-in-hand with time management. Creating a daily schedule, task checklists, and routine will help you meet deadlines without rushing any of your work. Rushed work = errors!

Business Acumen. Bookkeepers require social adeptness and negotiation skills so you can be paid properly for your services. 

You might be expected to negotiate your salary or service prices or justify how the cost of hiring you will ultimately benefit the business.

Fortunately, building up your confidence in this line of work can be done with practice over time!

Next Steps

Nice job, you’ve made it to the end! Now that you’ve mastered the steps and keys to success, you might be unsure of your next move. 

If you’ve read through this article, you’re more than equipped with the right knowledge and skills to start your journey as a bookkeeper. Refer to the FAQ section below if you still have some burning questions about this profession.

All told, I’m excited about your bookkeeping endeavors, and I hope it’s a massive success!


What qualifications do I need to become a bookkeeper?

As we’ve stated earlier, a high school diploma is generally the only thing employers are looking for — but you won’t just settle for that, would you?

Seeking additional certifications, training, and even higher education can give you a huge advantage and make it easier for businesses to trust your knowledge and skills.

How do I start a bookkeeping business with no experience?

We all have to start somewhere, and if you’ve got no experience, networking is a crucial stepping stone! 

Joining websites like LinkedIn and building your portfolio through collaborations with businesses (especially smaller ones) can allow you to hit two birds with one stone — building your experience while marketing yourself!

Is bookkeeping hard for beginners?

Although it can seem daunting at first, bookkeeping is actually an accessible career choice. 

It’s challenging to learn something new, but my advice is to identify your weak points (maybe you’re a little disorganized or lacking stats knowledge) and work on them over time!

Free Bookkeeper Workshop

Ready to start your virtual bookkeeping business? Register for the free bookkeeper workshop.

Register for free workshop
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Donny is the founder of SMB Guide. He is a seasoned small business owner and entrepreneur, with over 17+ years of experience growing and building companies. He is a well traveled and multi-faceted individual with several successful six figure business exits.