Are you tired of the daily grind and looking to put your accounting skills to better use? Then small business accounting might just be the perfect side hustle for you! With the ever-growing number of small businesses out there, the demand for skilled accountants is skyrocketing. As a younger individual with experience, you’re in a prime position to help these businesses navigate the financial waters — and, in turn, make some extra cash on the side.
Imagine the satisfaction of using your expertise to support local entrepreneurs and help them grow their ventures, all while earning a tidy sum for yourself. Here’s a breakdown of everything you need to know to get yourself started.
Why Start a Side Hustle as a Small Business Accountant
Starting a side hustle as a small business accountant offers numerous advantages that benefit your professional and personal life. For one, it allows you to capitalize on your existing accounting skills and knowledge, making the transition smoother and more rewarding. By assisting local businesses with their financial needs, you’ll contribute to your community and broaden your network — enhancing your own reputation.
Additionally, running your own accounting business on the side can boost your financial stability and independence. According to Ziprecuiter’s data, freelance accountants make as much as $104,500 or as little as $22,000. It all depends on how much effort you put into your side hustle, though.
Regardless, you can channel this extra income towards savings, investments and even help yourself achieve long-term financial goals. Plus, as your own boss, you’ll have the flexibility to set your own hours and choose the clients that suit you best.
Moreover, the side hustle can serve as a platform for honing essential entrepreneurial skills like marketing, client management and negotiation. These valuable abilities can make you a more effective accountant and pave the way for other future business opportunities.
How To Get Started as a Freelance Accountant
Embarking on your journey as a freelance accountant might seem daunting at first, but with the right approach, it’s possible to achieve success. Here are the essential steps to kick-start your side hustle and thrive in this lucrative career.
1. Acquire Relevant Certifications
Obtaining certifications is a crucial step in establishing credibility and showcasing your expertise as a freelance accountant. While these certifications validate your skills, they also differentiate you from the competition.
Some popular certifications to consider include the following:
- Certified Public Accountant (CPA): Demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of accounting principles and practices.
- Certified Management Accountant (CMA): Highlights your proficiency in management accounting and strategic decision-making.
- Certified Bookkeeper (CB): Focuses on bookkeeping skills and knowledge.
Obtaining one or more of these will better equip you to attract clients and assure them of your competence. As you pursue relevant certifications, it’s also essential to familiarize yourself with the Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) — a set of federal regulations designed to ensure consistency and uniformity in cost accounting practices for government contracts.
While CAS may not apply directly to all small businesses, having a strong grasp of these standards showcases your ability to handle diverse and complex accounting scenarios — including those involving government contracts.
2. Develop a Niche or Specialty
Developing a niche or specialty within the realm of small business accounting can be a game-changer for your freelance career. When you focus on a specific area, you distinguish yourself more from the competition and as an expert in your field. This targeted approach attracts more clients and convinces them to pay a premium for your services.
Some popular niches to consider include industry-specific accounting, tax planning and preparation or financial consulting. For instance, the number of crypto-owners has doubled within the last few years. If you were to work with business owners in this niche, you’d be able to fine-tune your services and better understand the unique challenges and opportunities your clients face.
To develop a specialty, consider taking courses, attending workshops or obtaining additional certifications relevant to your niche.
3. Build Your Portfolio and Network
A strong portfolio and expanded network are key components to success in freelance accounting. A portfolio is crucial because it showcases your skills, experience and all that you’ve accomplished. Essentially, it’s a tangible representation of your value to potential clients.
Start building your portfolio by offering services to friends and family or collaborating with other small businesses in exchange for their services. These projects will help get you off the ground running as you continue to gain experience and build valuable references.
Networking, on the other hand, is essential for forging those connections within your industry. Consider attending local business events, joining accounting associations and participating in online forums or social media groups relevant to your niche. Engaging with fellow professionals like yourself sets you on a path forward to learning more and discovering new opportunities.
4. Market Your Small Business Accounting Services
If you want to start making extra cash on the side effectively, then marketing is a must. To gain traction in your business, people need to know more about it. Therefore, it’s important that you start creating a professional website — one that highlights your skills and certifications.
A website acts as your portfolio, so be sure to include client testimonials, a clear call-to-action and a design representing your personal brand.
In addition to advertising yourself through a website, take advantage of social media and start building a community. Showcase your expertise, share valuable advice and engage with others to create strong relationships.
Lastly, many often underestimate the power of word-of-mouth referrals. Consider incentivizing new clients to spread the word about your services by offering discounts or promotions. Satisfied clients will feel compelled to share your business with their network, which is an effective and economical way to attract even more potential clients.
Balancing Your Side Hustle With Your Full-Time Job
Freelancing is an exciting world to dive into, but it also comes with a lot of hard work. To ensure you keep things running smoothly, try to find a balance between your side hustle, full-time job and personal time. Ensure you set clear boundaries by prioritizing a schedule, but always remember to have fun while doing your job too. Once you’ve gotten into a full rhythm, you’ll be well on your way to achieving those future goals of yours.