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7 Highly Effective Habits for the Freelance Bookkeeper

If you are a freelance bookkeeper (or are planning to become one) you need to be aware of some useful habits to ensure success with your bookkeeping business. These habits won’t make or break you, but they will help your business run more smoothly and prevent frustration in the long-run.  

1. Pick a good time of day to do your hardest work.
Some bookkeepers are morning people and others don’t get into their groove until the afternoon rolls around. Find the time that you feel most productive and use that time for the work that requires the most concentration.

2. If your numbers are not balancing, come back later.
This frequently occurs with large bank reconciliations for me. I’ll go over my calculations repeatedly and not find the error. Then, after putting it away and coming back the next day with a fresh set of eyes, I’ll find the error within five minutes of beginning.

3. Always keep track of your billable hours.
As a freelance bookkeeper, your time is money. Make sure you keep track of all your billable hours for each client so you always get paid for your work. Get in the habit of consistently writing down your start and finish times.

4. Backup your accounting data.
This should go without saying, but some people still don’t backup their accounting data as often as they should — which is daily. As a freelance bookkeeper who is juggling many clients, it’s very easy to forget to do this. To make this a no-brainer, use an online backup service that automatically backs up your data for you. Your data will be encrypted and completely safe.

5. Always use a legal copy of accounting and other software.
There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a project and having your computer crash on you. If you don’t have a legal copy of your software to reload onto your computer, your project (and business) can easily become permanently side-lined. Also, as a bookkeeper, not only is your credibility your livelihood, but you don’t want to risk legal problems by using pirated software.

6. Block off time to work and turn off phone.
Some bookkeepers don’t mind people phoning them while they’re working as they welcome the distraction. While others find it annoying as it can make you lose your momentum, especially if you’re adding a long list of numbers on your calculator. So, if you’re one of those people, block off your most productive time to work, turn your ringer off and have your voicemail take messages for you to call back when you are available.

7. Meet with people weekly to prevent loneliness.
Many freelance bookkeepers find that working at home can feel very isolating. So make sure you schedule time each week to meet with a friend so you can get out of the house. Even just going out for lunch for a couple of hours can really help with the “work at home blues”.

Make these seven habits part of your daily work life and you’ll find that your time spent being a freelance bookkeeper is much more productive and satisfying.

If you would like to develop more highly effective bookkeeping skills and habits, you can now practice by using four sample companies that have been created for you. You’ll learn how to handle a set of books from start to finish using real-world business scenarios. Developed by a bookkeeper with over 20 years of experience, check it out here.