Show Notes | May 10, 2021 | Episode 103
If you are looking for a side hustle (or a full career) that is perfect for virtual work look no further. Today, we’re talking about bookkeeping certifications that will get you #hired.
Bookkeeping is an early adopter of the remote staff augmentation model. If you look at the past 5 to 10 years, companies realized they could be so much more profitable if they got rid of the expense of the office and let their team members work from home.
With the organization and discipline, it takes to run a military household, the military spouse community is made up of a lot of people who would be a natural fit for bookkeeping. It is a broad field for people who are organized, and who have an interest in numbers and client service.
If you have administrative skills and you like technology, accounting and bookkeeping are becoming tech-focused fields. And the best news about that is, the software used in bookkeeping is all very learnable.
“It is a skilled discipline, but lots of spouses want a hard job where they can use their brain,” says Kate Josephine Johnson. “It is high stakes because you are dealing with people’s livelihoods.”
After getting two bookkeeping certs, Kate started her own bookkeeping business – Heritage Business Services.
She also created the Bookkeeping Side Hustle Group on Facebook for people who are interested in learning more about bookkeeping as a side hustle (or a main hustle) to earn more income.
Kate’s mentor was an F-18 pilot, who taught himself bookkeeping a few years before he retired. He was a bookkeeper for two years while still in the military. Now, he has a brick-and-mortar practice with a few employees.
You don’t have to have a degree to do bookkeeping. Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, QuickBooks and Mint, has two bookkeeping certifications – QuickBooks Online and ProAdvisor.
Kate encourages anyone interested in bookkeeping to start by getting their QuickBooks Online certification.
“The brand recognition of QuickBooks Online is huge. Everyone has heard of QuickBooks,” Kate says. “It’s a great place to start. Also, if you try to get the cert and you hate it, that’s a good signal that you are not right for this career field.”
If you already know accounting and principles of bookkeeping, you could achieve the QuickBooks Online cert in a weekend. If you don’t, Kate encourages you to take the time to learn the software through free online resources.
Kate got her QuickBooks Online cert about three years ago. She then got Intuit’s ProAdvisor cert 18 months later.
It was time for her to become a better bookkeeper and she found studying for the ProAdvisor exam was some of the best bookkeeping education she has received. There have been different points throughout having her own business that Kate needed a push to know she could do it. Passing the ProAdvisor was certainly one of them.
Intuit offers training to obtain both the QuickBooks Online cert and the ProAdvisor cert. There are two options for studying and taking the exam – self paced or a webinar.
Kate encourages you to sign up for the webinar because it includes recordings and searchable resources. The training enables you to sit and study the module and then immediately take the test. Don’t try to study all at once.
The ProAdvisor exam is much more advanced. One of the modules for example is multicurrency for clients who do business all over the world. It took Kate two hours a day for 10 weekdays to pass. The slower you go the better because it is a tricky test.
You must recertify every summer. Last year, it was a three-module exam essentially teaching you what’s new in QuickBooks.
Every week on the VirtForce Job Board we see someone hiring an online bookkeeper and the qualification is being QuickBooks Online certified.
In bookkeeping you can either be an entrepreneur like Kate or get a job.
If you want to be an entrepreneur you must also enjoy sales, bookkeeping and building your own website, Kate says.
Kate constantly approaches and question her clients. Bookkeepers need to be able to ask questions about unusual receipts. You need to be investigative and like to look for who, what, when and why.
Kate believes all bookkeepers need to know accounting.
“Even the easiest of clients are going to do something squirrely,” Kate says. “They are going to buy something or hire someone and then you’ll have to know accounting.”
You don’t have to go to college, but you could take some basic classes at a community college. There are also free online classes. Kate’s favorite is AccountingCoach.com.
For military spouses who PCS regularly, accounting is all cloud based.
Many of Kate’s clients are local, but she would not be surprised when she moves, they will remain her clients. The other half of her clients are in other states.
Kate communicates with her clients on Zoom and Slack. She recently started making videos with Loom where she updates her clients on their financials each month. Now, they rarely call her.
A career in bookkeeping requires constant learning.
“I want people to think of bookkeeping as a highly skilled career,” Kate says. “Accounting is complex. Bookkeeping may have been thought of as virtual assistantship but it’s not anymore.”
Kate is currently stationed in Virginia Beach with her pilot husband and their three kids ages 6,7 and 8.
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