The great thing about being a bookkeeper is that there’s high demand for your skillset. The only downside is there are a lot of bookkeepers for clients to choose from. In order to stand out, you have to set yourself apart as the clear and obvious choice. This requires that you constantly be improving.
- Improve Your Bookkeeping Skills
As a bookkeeper, there are certain technical skills you need in order to give your clients as much value as possible in exchange for their money. And while there are plenty of ways to expand your “hard” skills, online courses may give you the best bang for your proverbial buck.
Bookkeepers.com’s free masterclass is definitely worth checking out. It shows you how to maximize your rates, which niches to choose, and how to get your business up and running. It’s taught by CPA Ben Robinson, who has his own seven-figure bookkeeping business.
- Invest in Soft Skills Development
While technical skills are obviously crucial, there’s also something to be said for soft skills. These are the skills that impact your relationships with clients and the overall feeling of the services you provide them. Here are a few that we recommend investing in:
- Communication. It’s not enough to keep the books balanced. You also have to communicate with your clients and keep them abreast of any changes, concerns, or noteworthy happenings. This includes both written (email) and verbal (phone) communication. You may even be asked to present quarterly or annual updates as part of board meetings. Focus on learning how to communicate clearly and concisely.
- Leadership. You might not think about yourself as a leader, per se, but that’s exactly what a bookkeeper needs to be. If you can cultivate and express leadership, you’ll never find yourself lacking opportunities. In fact, you’ll have chances to expand your role beyond basic bookkeeping and into management or consulting positions.
- Time management. This is a huge one. Generally speaking, most people follow Parkinson’s Law, which states the time it takes to complete a series of tasks usually expands or contracts to fit the time available. But if you want to be successful in this area, you have to be efficient regardless of scheduling parameters. This is something that you learn over time through intentionality.
- Problem-solving. From the outside looking in, bookkeeping might seem like a fairly straightforward job. However, it’s not as cut and dry as most people think. You’re basically in a position of solving problems and deconstructing math problems. The better problem-solver you are, the more successful you’ll be in adding value to your clients’ businesses.
As you enhance your soft skills, you’ll begin to set yourself apart from the competition. Because not only are you capable of keeping a company’s books for them, but you’re also someone that is easy and enjoyable to work with. Even more importantly, you’re seen as a trustworthy individual.
- Learn to Be More Efficient
Efficiency is everything in this business. The more efficient you are with your work, the more clients you can add. And the more clients you add, the faster you scale. The faster you scale, the higher your earning potential and the more flexibility you have.
Efficiency starts with having predictable processes in place that streamline repetitive tasks. Automation and software play a key role here. Always test and try new options to make sure you’re on the bleeding edge. Technology iterates quickly these days. If you haven’t investigated new options in the past 12 months, you’re almost certainly behind the curve.
- Add Complementary Services
Earning a new client is the toughest part of the job. Once you have the client, you might as well maximize the revenue you get from them. One way to do this is by adding complementary services on top of your core bookkeeping service. This might include basic tax preparation services (before handing off to a CPA), financial projections, or payroll optimization.
Putting it All Together
Bookkeeping is a rewarding business that offers you every opportunity to build a successful and lucrative career. The onus is on you to continue growing and improving over time. Sitting still and resting on your laurels is not an option.
Start by applying the tips outlined above and then continue to look for ways to invest in yourself. Constant and never-ending improvement must be the objective.