Are you currently freelancing as an accountant or thinking of working for yourself?
Everyone’s freelancing these days – accountants and bookkeepers included. And why not?
Freelancing is an excellent career opportunity for you to advance your accounting career. Whether you want to be your own boss or would like to make some extra money, becoming a freelance accountant can help realize your goals.
What’s the catch?
Generally, freelance accountants are recruited by small businesses that cannot afford in-house salaried accountants. With the rapid advancement of cloud-based technologies, you can deliver high-end services at unbeatable costs from the comfort of your home. The margins can be solid, and it’s a good way to start your own accounting firm and handle the financial accounts of numerous clients.
However, navigating a freelance accounting career can be stressful and can leave you feeling uncertain. Below are top tips to help you accelerate your professional journey and market your skills towards becoming a successful freelance accountant.
Select Your Most Preferred Niche
In Singapore, there are thousands of freelance accountants in the market. So you need to ask yourself the question: what makes me different?
The answer lies in choosing a specific industry or sector that you are qualified for and comfortable to market your skills and experiences. As such, you must fully understand the dynamics of your specific niche, including the size of the market, trends, services, and projected growth patterns. This will provide you with a solid foundation of knowledge about the rest of the market. Some marketable accounting niches include:
- Accounting Information Technology;
- Estate/Trust Accounting;
- Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A);
- Forensic Accounting;
- International Tax;
- Mergers and Acquisitions, etc.
You need to start thinking about the rates that work for you and your target group. Specialising in one niche may come from your experience, or by identifying a service gap in your local area.
Utilise Digital and Social Media Marketing
While your local area may have numerous potential clients, you must acknowledge that there are more online. As a freelance accountant, penetrate geographical boundaries via digital media to expand your network. Digital and social media marketing may include:
- Building a professional website
- Writing and sharing posts on social media
- Tapping into content marketing and posting engaging blog posts
- Creating an SEO strategy for potential clients to find you easily
- Producing a simple but effective email newsletter
The most important one is building a website for yourself first because it helps you outline your services and let people know how to contact you, at the very least. Furthermore, social media platforms are indispensable. Ensure that your LinkedIn profile is updated and reflects your educational qualifications, top skills, and experience.
Connect to Cloud Accounting Software
You will find it effortless to use a cloud accounting software because it helps you log into your client’s accounts remotely and simultaneously. The best accounting software for freelancers simplifies and expedites various tasks by helping you answer questions in context and reducing the number of face-to-face meetings. Furthermore, the cloud accounting software allows you to carry out data entry automatically as well as making payroll much easier by facilitating daily bank reconciliations.
Generally, the best cloud accounting software for freelancers should include the following:
- Accept payments online;
- Expense tracking;
- Multiple user access;
- Project tracking;
- Receipt Uploads;
- Time tracker, etc.
Powerful time tracking and project tracking are two key components that are indispensable when it comes to assessing your tasks so that you can facilitate getting paid faster.
Find a Mentor
If you are just starting out, try to find a mentor! Finding a mentor calls for attending networking events in different market niches within your industry. As a freelance accountant, you barely have anyone watching over your shoulder, and you’ll soon realise that you need a “boss” to play that role. With their many years of experience, mentors often have priceless insights that can steer you in the right direction.
Finding a mentor also expands your network of connections who can provide you with additional experienced opinions. You’ll get both general tips for managing your business as well as industry-specific hacks from veteran freelancers in your field. Eventually, your work standards will improve as a result of enhanced confidence to take on challenging projects. Opt to learn from more experienced freelancers by shadowing or “interning” under them.
Become a Freelance Accounting Consultant
Once you realise that your freelance accounting career is taking off, get out of your comfort zone. Consider blossoming your individual freelance business to become a small consultancy firm to help you build your brand further. You can start by hiring a few team members, formally registering your company, and going back to school for higher education on various bookkeeping and accounting courses. As you do this, you should mould your team to carry on with your business operations.
Instead of managing the finances of one firm, accounting consultants extend their services to finance companies, specialized accounting agencies, business consultancy firms and clients in related fields. You can even opt for a freelance CPA role by seeking your own clients and still enjoy the freedom that comes with freelance accounting. Remember, Freelance Accounting Consultants can be required to travel to a number of locations to offer accounting advice to several clients.