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In the first stages of becoming a Self-Employer/Sole Trader Bookkeeper, advice welcome :-)

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  • 18 posts
  • # 118916

Hi All,

 

I passed my M8 exam last Monday and today i have upgraded to a MICB member Laughing

 

I was made redundant in March 2020 (after 13 years as an Assistant to the Accounts Manager) and have been looking for a job since (and Covid making it not possible to apply in April/May and most of June).

 

I have applied for many Bookkeeping jobs but with no success mainly due to Covid-19, i don't want to waste these hard earned qualifications and my knowledge base so i am seriously considering going Self-Employed/Sole Trader.

The next step would be for me to fill in the 'Practice License' form and send it off but what are the main things to consider after i have been granted my license.

I need to someone to provide me with personal experience from having started off on their own.

 

Thanks

Andrew Pigram MICB

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  • # 118917

AndyP35 said:

Hi All,

 

I passed my M8 exam last Monday and today i have upgraded to a MICB member Laughing

 

I was made redundant in March 2020 (after 13 years as an Assistant to the Accounts Manager) and have been looking for a job since (and Covid making it not possible to apply in April/May and most of June).

 

I have applied for many Bookkeeping jobs but with no success mainly due to Covid-19, i don't want to waste these hard earned qualifications and my knowledge base so i am seriously considering going Self-Employed/Sole Trader.

The next step would be for me to fill in the 'Practice License' form and send it off but what are the main things to consider after i have been granted my license.

I need to someone to provide me with personal experience from having started off on their own.

 

Thanks

Andrew Pigram MICB


 Hi Andrew

Congratulations on passing your exam and good luck on your new venture.  I can't offer too much advice as i am in the same boat as you.  I received my practice licence in May and my first three clients have all been through word of mouth but I am currently trying to get exposure through facebook etc.  Sorry i can't be much help but I am intereseted to know any advice you get.

Good luck!

 

Tracy

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  • # 118918

@Tprosser said:

AndyP35 said:

Hi All,

 

I passed my M8 exam last Monday and today i have upgraded to a MICB member Laughing

 

I was made redundant in March 2020 (after 13 years as an Assistant to the Accounts Manager) and have been looking for a job since (and Covid making it not possible to apply in April/May and most of June).

 

I have applied for many Bookkeeping jobs but with no success mainly due to Covid-19, i don't want to waste these hard earned qualifications and my knowledge base so i am seriously considering going Self-Employed/Sole Trader.

The next step would be for me to fill in the 'Practice License' form and send it off but what are the main things to consider after i have been granted my license.

I need to someone to provide me with personal experience from having started off on their own.

 

Thanks

Andrew Pigram MICB


 Hi Andrew

Congratulations on passing your exam and good luck on your new venture.  I can't offer too much advice as i am in the same boat as you.  I received my practice licence in May and my first three clients have all been through word of mouth but I am currently trying to get exposure through facebook etc.  Sorry i can't be much help but I am intereseted to know any advice you get.

Good luck!

 

Tracy


 Hi Tracy

Good to hear you that you got over the first hurdle and got your license :-) I have a few quesitons for you and also some advice to pass on....

 

Do you work from home or rent office space? (I have read that setting up a home office effects your council tax which will effectively introduces business tax into the equation and also the house may be liable to 'Capital Gains Tax' when the house is sold !!)

Are your first three clients Sole Traders or Medium businesses?

It would be interersting to know how much you charge and what criteria you charge go by? (do you charge by the hour depending on the service or do you charge by the day?, a lot of Bookkeeping businesses i have seen charge by the service but it all depends on the individual)

 

Cheers

Andrew

 

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  • 4 posts
  • # 118920

AndyP35 said:

@Tprosser said:

AndyP35 said:

Hi All,

 

I passed my M8 exam last Monday and today i have upgraded to a MICB member Laughing

 

I was made redundant in March 2020 (after 13 years as an Assistant to the Accounts Manager) and have been looking for a job since (and Covid making it not possible to apply in April/May and most of June).

 

I have applied for many Bookkeeping jobs but with no success mainly due to Covid-19, i don't want to waste these hard earned qualifications and my knowledge base so i am seriously considering going Self-Employed/Sole Trader.

The next step would be for me to fill in the 'Practice License' form and send it off but what are the main things to consider after i have been granted my license.

I need to someone to provide me with personal experience from having started off on their own.

 

Thanks

Andrew Pigram MICB


 Hi Andrew

Congratulations on passing your exam and good luck on your new venture.  I can't offer too much advice as i am in the same boat as you.  I received my practice licence in May and my first three clients have all been through word of mouth but I am currently trying to get exposure through facebook etc.  Sorry i can't be much help but I am intereseted to know any advice you get.

Good luck!

 

Tracy


 Hi Tracy

Good to hear you that you got over the first hurdle and got your license :-) I have a few quesitons for you and also some advice to pass on....

 

Do you work from home or rent office space? (I have read that setting up a home office effects your council tax which will effectively introduces business tax into the equation and also the house may be liable to 'Capital Gains Tax' when the house is sold !!)

Are your first three clients Sole Traders or Medium businesses?

It would be interersting to know how much you charge and what criteria you charge go by? (do you charge by the hour depending on the service or do you charge by the day?, a lot of Bookkeeping businesses i have seen charge by the service but it all depends on the individual)

 

Cheers

Andrew

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Hi Andrew/Tracy
Congratulations both of you for passing M8, Tracy your response to Andrews questions would be so appreciated, I too have recently passed and would love to start receiving a financial return on these lovely qualifications. 
I am looking forward to hearing all about your startup venture.
Warm regards
Anne-Marie

 

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  • # 118926

 


 


 Hi Anne-Marie and Andrew

Thank you both for your replies.  

I work from home from a room i use as my study.  On the government websites guide to business rates and working from home it says you do not ususally need to pay business rates if you use a small part of your home for your business such as using a bedroom as an office.  I think it applies more if your home is also a shop, or people regualry visit your home to buy goods or services, you employ people to work at your home or your have converted a garage etc for your work.  If you find out otherwise please let me know.

In regards to capital gains tax, i believe this is chargeable if the room is used exclusively for business therefore the room should have some private use to it such as personal admin and this gets around it.  I personally use my study for my hobby too.

So 2 of my clients are sole traders.  One gives me a bag of receipts at the end of the month and the other is all done through Xero which is her preferred software.  My third is a ltd company but it is just one person.

Not going to lie, when it comes to charges i don't have any structure in place.  I tried looking through the forum to get an idea but a lot of the posts regarding charges are from years ago.  I also asked on the forum but didnt get a reply.  I don't want to charge too much becasue i'm inexperienced however I don't want to sell myself short either.

I charge two of my clients £25 per hour but one of them barely takes me an hour a month to do thier accounts.  The sole trader who gives me a bag of receipts i charge just £25 a month, i'm not sure if i have undercharged with him though, time will tell.

If you have any advice regarding charges i would love to know.  I feel like at the moment i'm just throwing figures around and hoping for some work.  As i'm new i only want to start with small businesses to get my confidence up however i'm not sure if small businesses want to pay higher prices for bookkeeping work.  Only one of my clients has vat returns aswell.

If any bookkeepers with experience can guide us newbies it would be much appreciated.

Kind regards

Tracy

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  • # 118927

Hi Tracy

Thanks for the information/advice.

It's good to hear that you are not too snowed under with work at the moment but regards with pricing i have looked on the internet for bookkeeping businesses that show their prices and services.

There seems to be a pattern of charging bookkeeping depending on how long it takes and what type of business you do the work for (e.g. Ltd bookkeepng will take longer than a Sole Trader and therefore take more hours).

Before i got made redundant after 13 years working in an accounts team as an assistant to the accounts manager, i worked for a company in the education sector who had a turnover of about 7.5 million. The duties that took the longest were entering payments from customers and also performing credit control, i was earning £10.30 per hour with them.....the bookkeeping side of things was not too difficult as figures were entered into Sage daily and only took about 2 hours to finish off when it came to month-end.

I think that between £15 - £20 per hour at this stage would be a reasonable fee for service providers like us (but if you can charge more then great but obviously not too high to price yourself out of the market in your area) also i have seen that some bookkeeping businesses charge a bit more if the client wants them to work at THEIR premises.

Also have you considered a Payroll qualification?

Hope this helps

 

Cheers

 

Andrew

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  • # 118929

Nooooo.

Avoid hourly rates. Charge for your service on a monthly basis.

I never ever charge hourly. You are selling your self short, if you do.

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accountsforme said:

Nooooo.

Avoid hourly rates. Charge for your service on a monthly basis.

I never ever charge hourly. You are selling your self short, if you do.


 Thanks Vip and Andrew,

Andrew - I'll be adding payroll once i have completed the payroll exam.

Vip - Is there any price basis we can go off for charging monthly?  Being a new business I have no idea where to start on monthly charges, do you have any advice or guidance on how I can at least start to get a structure in place until i have some experience under my belt to know how long things take?

Thanks

Tracy

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  • # 118932

Hi Vip

 

Thanks for the advice, how do you know how long jobs are going to take in a month and how many hours you are going to put into each service?

 

Cheers

 

Andrew

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  • 25 posts
  • # 119067

Hi Andy/Tracey,

 

How are you getting on with your new practices?

I am thinking of applying for a practice licence and have the same questions that you've both been asking, especially with regards to charges.

Also what software are you using? I use Sage at work but this is too expensive for a start up practice.

I feel I have lots of questions but don't know where to turn for advice.

.

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  • # 119071

Hi Farge

 

I'm still trying to come up with a pricing structure.  I've decided to go with fixed monthly pricing but am trying to come up with different packages for X amount.  I think i will have to play around with pricing until i find something that works for me.  

I use Xero but that's becasue my first client wanted me to, however i now use it for all my clients, myself incuded and don't have any problems with it.  I haven't used any other software though so i don't know any different.

Sorry i can't be too much help as i'm still at the beginning myself.  I will say that my confidence grows with each new client i get so definately get your practice licence and do it.

Keep me posted with how you get on.

 

Tracy

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  • # 119166

AndyP35 said:

Hi Vip

 

Thanks for the advice, how do you know how long jobs are going to take in a month and how many hours you are going to put into each service?

 

Cheers

 

Andrew


 

Hi Andrew

Sorry for the delayed response, been a Tad busy.

I would turn the argument around, by saying if you do hourly rates your clients will always question how you come up with the hours worked, you are also limiting yourself to hours you normally charge each week/month and any deviation will mean your client will question you.

It's not a question of how long a job takes, it's more what the Value to the client is. Example, when you service your car most dealers will quote a fixed price for a service, not the number of hours a technician will be working on your car. For you the value is 1) you know exactly how much it is going to cost and 2) The value you are going to get by knowing your car is maintained as recommended by the manufacturer. For the Car Dealer, the quicker they can do the service the more clients they can have and make more money - it's business.

In the case of a bookkeeper, yes you can keep the books manually say in a spreadsheet and the job may take you 10 hours a month to do, but if you get some bookkeeping software you can do the same Job in 2 hours. So the more efficient you are the benefit should be yours and not the clients. The client does not care whether you use a spreadsheet or some software, all they care is that the job is done, and they pay a fair fixed price each month.

So that in a nutshell is why you should always go for Fixed Monthly price. If you can do the job faster and more efficiently, then the benefit should be yours - it's business.

As to what you charge as a fixed price (as asked by OP), that really depends on type of client/ amount of work/ Value to client. I have clients that pay ranging from £250 a month to £1000+ a month. It all depends on size of company and what value you bring to the client. A tip is to price a client and have a clause in your agreement that fees will initially be reviewed 6 months from start and there after yearly. If you have priced too low, then after 6 months you can argue your case.

Hope this helps.

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