No matter whether you are a fresh graduate or a business veteran, the opportunities and challenges in today’s accountancy world make this the perfect time to become your own boss and launch your own accounting practice. Even though there are plenty of opportunities for freelancing accountants, you must also prepare for the pitfalls. The same could be said for clients, as hiring a stranger to deal with your business can lead to catastrophic consequences.
However, being aware of the specific features presented by freelancer sites is a good way to rise above the competition and find the golden mine for your clients and, most importantly, for yourself.
Freelance Accounting Work
There is no other way to put it: freelancer accountants must have versatile talents in order to survive in the competitive online environment, especially since accounting gigs cover everything from categorizing expenses to preparing taxes and bookkeeping. The same could be said about the length of assignments: most of the time freelancers run into temporary jobs posted by certain individuals or smaller companies who cannot afford to employ an accountant all the time. But every now and then, long-term projects pop up, offering long-lasting assignments: for example, there is a high demand for handling business accounts in QuickBooks Online. Another option for long-lasting jobs is to join a small team of other freelancers lead by expert bookkeeping coordinators.
Whether you are a client or worker, there are a couple of features to look for when searching for a suitable freelancer site. First, the site should be a project site, meaning that employers must be the ones submitting the listing and dictating the conditions. Second, make sure the site has a profound profile system, capable of displaying different skills, as it makes easier to browse job offers and choose between candidates. Last but not least, the freelance site should categorize the gigs based on their difficulty, like “entry level”, “intermediate” or “expert”.
Best Freelance Websites of 2020
Kicking off as a Freelance Accountant
In case you are a newbie accountant and/or new to the freelancing world, let us give you advice on how to begin. First of all, put together a good resume; however, even if you have one already, you cannot copy an overly long test to the chosen site’s profile page. A good resume is short, effective and above all includes as many testimonials or proofs of your expertise as possible.
Make sure to show a positive outlook regarding ratings and comments as well: ask the client after each gig to write an objective criticism in an email and, at the same time, post something positive in the comment section. Be sure to emphasize your knowledge and experience with (online) accounting software: if you know how to handle the most popular ones, such as QuickBooks, Xero, FreshBooks and Sage, it is guaranteed that you will be flooded by gigs.
If you have to work on several projects at the same time, only accept those you can finish in time in order to prevent overexposing yourself. Also, avoid applying to jobs that ask for skills you are unfamiliar with: if you fail to perform the job in a satisfactory manner due to inexperience, you will definitely get a negative rating – and it’s enough to kill your career. And last but not least, never decline an offer just because the employer wishes to use tracking software: granted, you won’t be able to enjoy cat videos while working, but you’ll have proof of your progress (which is especially handy during a dispute).
Hiring an Accountant
Careful screening is the key in hiring an independent accountant from a freelancer site. Although many professionals claim to be capable of preparing your taxes or managing your books, you must still conduct a thorough test before hiring any of them.
During an interview you should ask how much experience they have regarding remote work, how familiar they are with online accounting software, and what kind of certifications they have. Interestingly, many accounting software companies, including those mentioned above, offer a certificate to those who went through many hours of studying, exams and test projects. However, if you see a seal of approval of any well-known accounting software provider, it is guaranteed that the chosen accountant will do his/her job in a fully professional manner.
Before going to a freelance website to post your project, make sure to prepare all the work you wish to outsource. And remember to decide how you’d like to pay your accountant: hiring someone with an hourly wage means that you have to pay for empty times too, while a flat fee means that you cannot force your freelancer to do “last minute extras”.
Recommended Freelancer Websites for Accountants
If you are curious what kind of freelance site would suit your needs, let us give you three examples worthy of choosing:
Freelancer.com is one of the most recognizable freelance services and is one of the best choices for accountants or clients in search of such employees. While clients can submit projects to their liking, freelancers are presented a deeply customizable profile page to show off their resume. Still, the main selling point of Freelancer.com is the downloadable app, which serves as a time tracker, job manager and chat interface.
Fiverr is a true marketplace of services where freelancers can promote their own services instead of complying with the needs of clients. The site sports a large variety of gigs, but freelancers are allowed to create special packages as well, deciding the price on their own. This makes Fiverr a good place for small business owners who may need the assistance of an accountant specialized in a specific task, such as filing tax reports.
Project4Hire was once a leading service in the freelance world, but its glory faded a bit since then. Still, the site has a well-structured interface where you can easily find new project assignments and set up gigs. There are numerous outstanding freelancers featured, and the site has a vast variety of jobs, including accounting. However, the icing on the cake is that Project4Hire has an advantageous pricing policy.