Chapter 2

Bookkeeping from home is an option

With a foundation of knowledge, skills and experience, take the next steps in setting up as a bookkeeper.

Pros and cons of home-based bookkeeping

Whether it’s for convenience, family, or financial reasons, setting up your business at home can be a great option. But it’s not all roses. Here are some of the upsides and downsides.


  • Lower costs: No office space rent to pay.
  • Deliver more value: You can pass savings on to clients.
  • Maximise your time: There will be far less commuting.
  • Enjoy tax breaks: Claim deductions on rent or mortgage.
  • Have more flexibility: It can help juggle work and family.


  • You lose a room: Home businesses require a dedicated space.
  • Boundaries can be hard to keep: Kids and pets may invade your office.
  • Meetings aren’t easy: It’s not as simple to host a client meeting.
  • You may go stir crazy: It’s the same four walls, day and night.
  • You may never switch off: It’s easy to work all the time.

What you need to do it

Just as with any other profession, it’s the internet which makes it possible for bookkeepers to work from home. You can serve clients using just a few online tools.

  • Video conferencing – so you can have face-to-face meetings even if you’re miles apart
  • Mobile – because not all clients are online all of the time
  • Laptop – it’s nice to have a computer that you can easily take to a client meeting
  • A second screen – it really helps productivity when you’re in the office
  • Online bookkeeping software – which allows you to work on the accounts from anywhere

How an online ledger works

An online ledger allows you to look at and work on a client’s accounts over the internet. The business books live online, and you log in from wherever you happen to be. You can both log in at the same time if you like.

It means there’s one source of truth that’s instantly accessible to anyone who’s been granted permission.

Getting the data onto the ledger

Of course an online ledger is only part of the solution. You need to get the data into it without constant visits to or from the client. There are software solutions for that too. You can link accounting software to other business systems so it automatically retrieves sales and expense data.

Taking advantage of home-based bookkeeping

Not only do online systems give you the power to work from home, they cut back on a ton of costs. You skip the expense of commercial office space, and you knock out hours of data entry. That means you can deliver services at a fraction of what your competitors do. You could hand some of those savings onto your client and still grow your margin.


Xero does not provide accounting, tax, business or legal advice. This guide has been provided for information purposes only. You should consult your own professional advisors for advice directly relating to your business or before taking action in relation to any of the content provided.

Starting a bookkeeping business

Work through the big decisions around accreditation, services to offer, fees to charge, and how to find clients.

  1. How to become a bookkeeper

    You’ll need some training and certification to become a professional bookkeeper. Find out where this is available.

  2. Bookkeeping from home

    With a foundation of knowledge, skills and experience, take the next steps in setting up as a bookkeeper.

  3. What services will you offer?

    You need to nail down what services you’ll offer, who to, and how. Don’t promise more than you’re able to deliver.

  4. Niche and virtual bookkeeping businesses

    Designing your bookkeeping business around a specific type of client or your strengths can be a successful way to go.

  5. Creating your business plan

    It’s time to get things down on paper. Your business plan is vital to reality checking all those ideas you have.

  6. Pricing and charging

    How do you walk the line between profitable for you and affordable for your clients? And help clients budget?

  7. Marketing your bookkeeping business

    You might deliver an awesome service at a great price, but what if no one knows? Let’s look at marketing your services.

Download the bookkeeping business guide

A guide to help you work through the big decisions around starting a bookkeeping business. Fill out the form to receive the guide as a PDF.

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