Guide to Running Your Own Freelance Accounting Business

To successfully pursue a freelance accounting career, the appropriate qualifications are needed. Lunafi has collaborated with over 100 freelancers over the last year and designed an effective and simple method of managing freelance business finances to meet their individual needs and preferences. Lunafi’s closed beta group has been conducting rigorous user tests on Lunafi to provide the ultimate user experience; all to make sure you’re using only effective bookkeeping software available to freelance bookkeeping.

More qualifications will open more job listings and yield more competitive rates, increasing your opportunities and diversifying your work options. Some essential qualifications for accounting freelance careers are:

Get an accounting education

Accounting jobs typically require at least a bachelor’s degree with courses including accounting, auditing and tax accounting – although in some instances additional courses such as marketing management or finance might also be needed. A master’s degree could give you access to more specialized knowledge as well as help prepare you to gain the required credit hours necessary for Certified Professional Accountant licensure (CPA). It’s also important to continue updating your knowledge through online webinars, networking events and professional classes regularly in order to stay competitive in this competitive field of accounting!

Become certified or licensed

While it is technically possible to find accounting work as a freelancer without licensure or certification, most firms require at least one of them in order to operate successfully. In order to practice as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) you need an authorization from your State government as well as taking an exam for CPA certification. For freelance accounting work other professional certificates that could aid such as Certified Management Accounting (CMA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), and certified information systems auditor (CISA).

Acquire work experience

When seeking accounting freelance jobs or looking for ways to attract clients for your bookkeeping company, obtaining some experience through either an internship or part-time work can help build up a resume and open doors to opportunities.

Here are a few bookkeeping practices, along with an approximate time estimate in which they must be implemented:


Once your project is complete, prepare and send an invoice to your client containing all costs related to materials or contractors. Be sure to include everything. Make sure to invoice clients promptly; timely cash flow into your company is vital. If you have access to online banking, monitor it daily in order to track payments made directly by customers who deposit their payments into your bank account. Be sure to assign payments for invoices issued to customers. Send monthly statements reminding customers of what invoices are due and their due dates. Alternatively, send out invoices individually with an explanation regarding payment due dates in case customers fall behind in payments.


After using your credit card for purchases, save and note any important information on the receipt. Depending on your preferred method of filing documents – either an online system like Evernote or physical files will suffice – store these receipts appropriately. Small-business accounting software generally allows you to include images of receipts with each transaction recorded in its system. At least once every week, all credit card purchases should be entered into an accounting system for record keeping purposes. Record each charge separately so you can easily identify receipts and charges. Submitting credit card charges throughout a month creates an obligation on your card that must be met monthly; don’t record these expenses as lump sum expenses as this makes tracking them much harder.


Once you receive an invoice from a customer, be it cash or check, accept it on the invoice before depositing it into your banking institution’s account.

Pay your bills to suppliers either through checks or direct online payments, noting when each bill is due and processing it accordingly. Every month, check your account balance to verify that transactions on your bank statement match those recorded in an accounting program; make any necessary adjustments so that balances remain accurate.

There are some basic financial reports which may assist with this task:

Cash flow statement

Its Cash flows can be broken down into investments, operating, and financing categories. Negative cash flow from operations is an issue; however it may also be hidden by borrowing. A look at a cash flow statement can reveal any negative cash flows in operations.

Accounts receivable (A/R) aging

This will inform you of how much each customer owes you and whether their payment is overdue or not, helping you decide when and if to follow up with late payers of invoices, while also giving an estimate of how much cash will need to come in quickly in the near future.

Accounts payable (A/P) aging

This will show how much is owed to each vendor and when invoices are due. This information can help determine your cash flow requirements for future and predict potential cash flow issues.

Important considerations for freelance accounting professionals

Examining the requirements to become an independent accountant could be like taking the wrong first steps towards becoming one. Before starting out, take into consideration one of the most critical elements when thinking about becoming one: do you possess the appropriate skills needed for such work?

Of course, you must possess strong math and numerical abilities as well as possess an in-depth knowledge of economic patterns and tax laws as well as be comfortable using technology.

Working from home offers many advantages, but are you equipped to address some of the more prevalent challenges within your industry, like:

Your earnings can go up and down

Market conditions, job availability and luck all play a role in how much work is available and earned. Are you strong enough emotionally and financially to weather any storms that come your way?

Employee benefits are often less available

Retirement savings and medical insurance coverage are two aspects freelancers must keep an eye on, while certified accountants need to use their skills as financial planners in order to take full advantage of freelance life without worrying financially.

Self-motivation is required

As a freelance accountant, you are ultimately your own boss. Without an immediate supervisor to guide your actions and set motivational standards for you, determining your own motivation based on trust in professionalism and desire for long-term stability will be up to you alone.

You’re on your own

At-Site Work When undertaking at-site work, it may mean working alone and away from office friendships. Therefore, it’s crucial that if you do find yourself working on-site alone that you feel at ease in a workplace that’s solely meant for work and are comfortable with a higher degree of autonomy in the workplace.

Be Patient and Picky

When starting out as a bookkeeper, your focus may be solely on finding clients and growing your client list. While this may be understandable – particularly if earning your living is important to you and you hope bookkeeping becomes your full-time career – keep in mind it takes time for this industry to gain steam. I was fortunate in that bookkeeping had long been my side business rather than being my primary source of income; over the years however I’ve observed that many entrepreneurs require bookkeepers in this rapidly expanding industry!

Great Things about Bookkeeping Clients:

  • Clients can be served from all areas (not just in their region).
  • One client may remain with your business for many years (low turnover).
  • Once your clientele is fulfilled, there’s no longer any need to promote yourself further.

Don’t Let Bookkeeping Leads Get Away

As soon as you secure an accounting lead, ensure you communicate effectively and are reliable by following up on any communications. Be quick in responding to inquiries; prepare meetings like an interview; present services so the lead wants to work with you; I have found myself being more selective about who I take on as customers than before – difficult clients may consume too much energy, time, and money than expected.