This fifth feature in our Self-Employment Series is of Kirstin Reeder, a bookkeeper, who took the Bookkeeper Business Academy course.
In case you missed the other four, here they are:
- My interview on how I made $32,000 as a part-time proofreader
- How Cynthia makes $22.50/hour minimum as a legal transcriptionist
- How Michelle makes $100,000/month as a full-time blogger
- How Vashti makes $2-3,000/month as a part-time virtual assistant
Let’s get started!
Please tell us a little about yourself and why and how you decided to pursue this career.
I was an accounting major in college 20+ years ago, and I remember telling people back then that I had no desire to be a CPA…I “just” wanted to be a bookkeeper.
I’ve been a stay-at-home mom since 1997, and I have tried several direct sales businesses so that I could help with our family’s budget while staying at home. Those did not go well.
I still loved bookkeeping, but didn’t know that it could be done virtually until the fall of 2015, when I heard about this course. I knew it was for me immediately.
What is bookkeeping?
Bookkeeping is keeping up with the daily transactions of a business.
It involves proper categorization of income and expense transactions, bank reconciliations, preparation of internal financial statements, and it sometimes involves accounts receivable/invoicing and accounts payable/bill pay.
Occasionally it will involve payroll as well.
Why did you choose “Bookkeeper Business Academy”?
I watched the free 3-video course and knew this was it.
How long did it take you to complete the course?
Approximately 3 months.
How long after completing the course did you obtain your first client?
How much do you make a month? Do you work part time or full time?
Currently, with 5 main clients, I gross on average $1,125/month. I simply do bank reconciliations for a couple of those clients, and another one is a super small business with very few transactions a month, so their fees are not very high. I work part time right now.
What are your expenses (business-related expenses)?
They run around $325/month. A lot depends on how much advertising I need to do – my expenses go up when I’m doing a lot of advertising.
What are your duties? Can you describe a day in your life?
I categorize transactions in Hubdoc (a particular software) by looking at the receipt that I’ve received from the client through the Hubdoc interface.
I then check the bank feeds in the accounting software and match transactions. Depending on the transaction and the client, I may need to contact the client to find out what a transaction is and ask for a copy of the receipt.
I run payroll for one of my clients, so every 2 weeks I spend time doing that.
Once a month I do bank reconciliations for all of my clients for all of their bank/credit card accounts. I pay bills for one of my clients, so once a week I will check to see what is due and pay those bills.
How have you benefited from Bookkeeper Business Academy?
It has shown me that this business is possible, AND it has given me the tools to DO IT.
What is your least favorite part/hardest part of being a bookkeeper?
Confronting clients when they are using poor business/bookkeeping practices (commingling personal and business funds, not keeping up with receipts, etc.)
What is your favorite part of being a bookkeeper?
Nerding out on bank reconciliations, getting super picky about how things are categorized. I love it all, really.
What traits do you feel are necessary to being a good, successful bookkeeper? Which ones are taught and which ones are inherent?
Most of those are inherent, though one can learn how to be self-motivated eventually. It might be possible to learn the other 3 with time, but I think it’s easiest if those are inherent personality traits.
Do you have any advice for someone considering this career?
Consider how you treat your own personal finances. Do you keep your own checkbook balanced to the penny? Do you know where your money goes? Do you pay your bills on time? Do you make sure that what you were billed was what you SHOULD have been billed?
Any final thoughts?
If you do not have any previous accounting experience, I recommend purchasing an accounting principles college textbook off Amazon or an Accounting for Dummies book, as a reference. The course does teach the basics of bookkeeping, but 1) it’s all in video format, and 2) it’s just the basics, and you might encounter more in-depth situations when working with clients. Having a reference book (with an index!) is invaluable.
Kirstin Reeder is a homeschooling mom of 9…and a total bookkeeping nerd. She gets excited about payroll and bank reconciliations, and her husband thinks she is nuts because of it! She currently lives in Aurora, Colorado, but her family plans to move to the boonies of Arkansas eventually to take over the family farm. She primarily works with agriculture businesses.