It Should Help Me Make Money, Not Lose Money
May 17, 2018 11:02 AM   Subscribe

I want to start a side hustle of doing bookkeeping. Please help me think through what I need, and avoid costly mistakes.

I am in California. I have a Business degree and accounting experience so there's a tad bit less of a learning curve than if I were starting from scratch. I am not a CPA, but I do work with CPA's regularly in the course of my normal work (in the realm of doing taxes).

My concern is what pitfalls could I run into doing books for small businesses or self-employed folks. How can I protect myself from anything that might cost me money to fix (I imagine I will need to be bonded / have insurance to cover professional mistakes). I understand that some clients don't want to pay and I can handle that, but would I be susceptible to actually being scammed / black-mailed somehow? I know that sounds a little paranoid; I'm not, really, I just want to try to be aware of and protect myself from the worst-case scenario.

While my work is in the taxing realm, I am not qualified to do income taxes so I would recommend clients to stick with their professional preparer. So I wouldn't be signing any legal documents.

Finally, are there good forums dedicated to questions on this topic? I've looked around but most of what I've found seems to be blogs from professional firms aimed at selling their services to clients.
posted by vignettist to Work & Money (2 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Have you considered that you could do a side hustle working for an established bookkeeper? That would give you some money and a ton more insight into how the business works and what sort of pitfalls there are in the industry than trying to create it from nothing.

Edited to add, there is a "for dummies" guide to the bookkeeping business.
posted by amanda at 12:09 PM on May 17, 2018

amanda's idea is a good one. I know an established bookkeeper who has a number of junior bookkeepers working for her. It's good training for them.

I honestly think the biggest issue with being a freelance bookkeeper (or any type of freelancer) is getting people to pay you.
posted by radioamy at 12:26 PM on May 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

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