Breaking News: College Student Starts A Bookkeeping Practice (Surprise, it’s actually you)


Amy Vetter is the VP of Global Education and Enablement at Xero, a rapidly growing accounting software company (see my interview with the CEO, Rod Drury).

Now, make sure you’re sitting down because in the next 45 minutes, you’ll have all the tools you need to start your own bookkeeping practice (in college!).

What do I need to do to get started?

First Step: Research. At Xero, there is free training for accountants to become Xero certified (yes free!)

They have something called have something called Xero U where are can be educated in live classes or on your own time. Their instructors even hold office hours where you can go to ask questions.

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Getting a certification like the Xero Certified Advisor can help immensely when you’re talking with prospective clients (we’ll get to that in a minute) and according to these guys, it’s one of their number 1# referral sources for new business to be featured on this page:

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Xero also have a ton of articles teaching you everything you need to know about small business:

And, check out the thousands of add-ons that could work for any of you clients and all connect directly with Xero!

Second step: Make connections with your professors, friends of family, and look to join the entrepreneurship program at your University.

Many of these people will be able to mentor and guide you through all the steps you need to do to start this small business.

Join the accounting fraternity if you have one, seek out like-minded people who could mentor you?

Amy so keenly pointed out:

“People want to help the younger generation and take them under their wing.”

You just have to let them know you’re there and looking for the guidance.

How do I get clients?

Make sure you get certified in the software you will be using with your clients (no excuses here, it’s free.)

Then ask friends and family to be your guinea pig. Think of everyone you know and who is close to you. Do you have friends or family that are in small businesses?

The answer is yes, just start asking and you may be surprised.

You may not want to charge for the first client. Run your accounting parallel with their current accounting software for 2-3 months and see how it goes.

You can literally say:

“I’m starting my own bookkeeping practice and won’t charge for a few months. I just want to practice to see how it goes.”

For a complete guide on get 50 clients in your first year, check this out.

What are my limits with my skills and legally?

You can’t perform any audits, reviews, or compilations reports and you should stick to bookkeeping in the beginning, then build from there.

Do I need to incorporate?

Always talk to an accountant, attorney, or mentor to see what is best. Typically, you can start off without incorporating.

Key takeaway: take action today, nothing is holding you back!

Do I need to have a website?

Yes. Nobody finds you through the yellow pages anymore.

Lot’s of options to start very cheap for a complete guide to starting your own website your cloud accounting firm.

If you want to learn how to start your own website in 3 days with $197 and you pajamas, get started here.

While a website is important, you can actually start working with your close friends and family first, before you invest the time energy and effort into a site. Face your fears, don’t hide behind the computer, get out there and get that first client!

Don’t forget about social media, Twitter and LinkedIn can be HUGE for finding clients.

How do I not only “get it right”, but deliver great service?

Good thinking! If you’re asking this question you headed down the road to a prosperous bookkeeping career. That being said, this will take time, research, and most of all experience through action.

  • First off you need to deliver amazing customer service to your clients.
  • Use value billing (flat rate monthly or for a project) rather than hourly billing. This will make sure that as your goals are more aligned with the client as you won’t be making less as you get more productive!

But this is a journey that goes far beyond this article or podcast. Follow Amy on AccountingWEB and CPA Practice Advisor where she talks weekly about cloud accounting, client service, and everything you’ll need to build your practice.

Also, Xero has also launched – Xero Accelerate a one day program with business planning and strategies for fitting all the pieces of the puzzle in your business.

If you didn’t get the point, you can literally Start Today, for free.

Total cost: