Are you good with numbers? Do you like getting immersed in all kinds of details? Are you into things like solving puzzles and untangling knots? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be interested in being an at-home bookkeeper.
I've already shared that bookkeeping is a great career to have because the skills are considered entry-level and it’s the kind of work that easily adapts to working from home. These days, more and more businesses are hiring at-home bookkeepers. And while there’s definitely a solid niche for starting your own bookkeeping business, freelancing is certainly not the only way to do it. You can also find remote work as a bookkeeper for a company in a more traditional employment model.
What do Bookkeepers Do?
While bookkeeping is part of the accounting process, it's much more about staying on top of the clerical tasks as opposed to analyzing reports, preparing taxes and setting budgets. A bookkeeper is often the person inputting the receipts and invoices, counting inventory, classifying expenses and income.
Because your scope is somewhat limited as a bookkeeper, you often don't need an accounting degree. That being said, there are a few skills and personality traits that are absolutely imperative:
- You need to be organized
- You must have strong attention to detail. If you don't like double-checking, or triple-checking, your work, this might not be the job for you.
- You need to be a hard worker.
- You need to be able to handle multiple projects at once. You will probably have more than one client.
- You must be compassionate and personable. To be a successful online bookkeeper, you need to be able to make a connection with your clients. They need to be able to trust you with their finances.
How Much do Online Bookkeepers Make?
As with most freelance opportunities, it depends. If you are working for a large company or accounting firm, they will likely dictate your earnings.
If you decide to start your own bookkeeping business, you can probably earn a lot more as you are taking on more of the responsibilities. According to Bookkeeper Business Launch, many of their graduates are earning upwards of $60 per hour working from home. ZipRecruiter has the national average for work-from-home bookkeepers at $58,358 per year at the time of updating this post.
Types of At-Home Bookkeeping Jobs
Generally speaking, you’ll have two different options for working from home as a bookkeeper: working for a company that provides bookkeeping services or working directly for the company itself.
If you decide to work for a company that contracts with other organizations to provide bookkeeping services, you'll still be working from home but you might have several different clients.
One of the benefits of joining that kind of company is that they will bring the work to you, but a potential drawback is that you might not make as much money because there’s a “middleman.” You might also run into the issue of inconsistent work, though that isn’t always the case depending on where you work.
Websites that Hire Bookkeepers
These are the main websites that hire bookkeepers to work from home:
- Accountingdepartment.com — If you want a full-time at home job with benefits, this is one of the first places you should apply. AccountingDepartment.com prides itself on hiring great bookkeepers and controllers, and they offer a full benefits package to their full-time employees.
- Belay — While they don’t specialize in bookkeeping or accounting, Belay hires at-home bookkeepers as part of their general virtual assistant talent pool.
- BookMinders — They provide bookkeeping and accounting services with an emphasis on QuickBooks. One thing to be aware of with BookMinders is the geography restriction: you would need to be within driving distance of Philadelphia or Pittsburgh to be able to work for them.
- ClickAccounts — If you’re an accountant or bookkeeper, this website is for you. They only hire in these types of roles. The application involves a resume and cover letter.
- ClickNwork — This website hires for all kinds of professional roles, including bookkeeping. They say in their FAQs to go ahead and apply to work for them, and they’ll be in contact if they have a good spot for you. (This might be a good place to start if you’ve got other administrative skills you want to use for work at home, too.)
You can find more bookkeeping from home jobs on FlexJobs.
More Options for CPAs
If you’re a certified accountant and you want to start doing bookkeeping or even accounting work from home, you’re in an even better position. Freelancing is certainly an option for accounting, but the good news is that there are lots of companies that hire CPAs to do bookkeeping and other related jobs. Plus, you can include words like “accounting” and “CPA” in your job searches.
When you’re looking for a remote job as an accountant, you’ll find opportunities that are with accounting firms as well as jobs posted with individual companies. One job will probably have you working with several clients, whereas if you’re hired by an individual company, that company will be the only work you do.
These are some sites that hire remote accountants to work from home:
- Assurance Financial Management — You’re considered an independent contractor when you work for this company, so you won’t be eligible for employee benefits.
- Bateman — This accounting firm frequently has positions available for remote CPAs to pick up part-time accounting work.
- BIDaWIZ — This website hires at-home CPAs and enrolled agents to browse questions that their users post and then offer services those users. It might be best to consider this a supplemental income opportunity until you really get established on the platform.
- Intuit (the maker of TurboTax and other financial software) — Intuit will hire at-home CPAs to offer support to its TurboTax users. These jobs primarily are seasonal but can be full-time or part-time, and some of these seasonal workers will be made permanent. You have to have an active CPA license to apply, and you need to be an expert in tax law to qualify. To find the remote job listings, click on “Select Location” and check the box next to USA Remote.
Finding Remote Bookkeeping Work
Aside from applying to work for a bookkeeping company, you can look for an at-home bookkeeping job the same way you might look for a more traditional bookkeeping job. This is a unique job in that it’s something that, more often than not, can be done from home. Sometimes finding the perfect at-home job starts with finding a great traditional job and then transitioning it to being home-based.
It might be worth applying for a few bookkeeping jobs in your area and seeing about converting the position to a remote one. You don’t want to come into the interview process with the expectation that they’ll rewrite the job description just to accommodate you, but if you made it through the initial interview process it might be worth bringing up.
You might have better luck using this approach with smaller companies with fewer policies and fewer decision makers, as opposed to larger corporations with a thick book of policies that would have to be addressed. A lot of times, these companies will post their positions on Craigslist. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend searching for an at-home job on Craigslist, but I’ve found that this specific area tends to have some legitimate opportunities posted that you could then turn into a remote work opportunity.
Another place you can check for at-home bookkeeping work is Upwork. The jobs on Upwork are typically thought of as freelancers’ work, but the truth is that you might find exactly what you’re looking for there, especially if you’re open to a contract position. It might not be the place where you focus your job search attention, but it’s at least worth checking out.
The Best Job Board
When it comes to finding remote or telecommute work, there’s one place I like more than anything else: FlexJobs is a job board specifically for jobs that are “flexible” — telecommute, flexible hours, open to job-sharing, etc.
FlexJobs pulls together all kinds of career opportunities you could explore and it delivers them to you in one spot. There’s a free job board that anybody can access, and there’s also a job board that can only be accessed by paying FlexJobs members. This means that if you subscribe and FlexJobs, you’ll have access to job listings that aren’t available to everyone else. Your competition will be a lot lower, which means your chances of getting the job go up.
If you need a little bookkeeping brush-up, check out Bookkeeper Business Launch. Bookkeeper Business Launch is a fantastic opportunity to get started as a virtual bookkeeper: through 3 FREE classes, Ben Robinson offers to teach what you need to start bookkeeping from home and develop a successful business as you go!
Check Out Callie Sitek's Experience with Bookkeeper Business Launch
I am a work at home mom with a 3-month-old and almost 3-year-old. I was working as a Virtual Assistant, way undercharging for my services, and doing little odds and ends jobs when I came across the Bookkeeper Business Launch. I immediately signed up for the free webinars and felt like what Ben said deeply resonated with me. It was like he was describing me to a T in who can be a great bookkeeper. I scrounged to find the money because I knew it was going to be a great return on investment.
From the first week, we started learning bookkeeping basics as well as the business side of things. And within 3 weeks I had started working on my website. I launched my business and website about halfway through the program. We are in the home stretch of finishing up and I have already become Xero certified, started my blog, marketing on Facebook, and am almost finished with my opt-in freebie to start capturing leads.
Gaining client #1 is my first priority right now. Of course, it does take time to create traction, but I'm not just starting out of the gate on my own following the class. I've already started creating networking contacts; content to nurture the know, like, and trust factor; and creating my online presence. I know it is only a matter of time before I get my first client.
For someone considering entering the bookkeeping industry, I would advise they be detail oriented or it may not be the right fit. You don't have to have any prior knowledge of bookkeeping or business to do well in this course; it is all taught to you from the beginner level.
Originally published January 2017. Updated June 2019.