Institute of Certified Bookkeepers

You Want to be a Bookkeeper?

You are ready and eager to take the next step and commence your own bookkeeping business, but, where do you turn, what do you do? And most importantly - how? We are sure you will find the information below useful in assisting anyone looking at starting their own bookkeeping business and help in making the pieces fall into place.

Become an ICB Member and have full access to a wealth of resources including templates, Charge Rate Calculators, End of Year tips and tricks and a whole lot more, all specifically designed for bookkeepers by bookkeepers, click here for more information on ICB Membership.

Also see Bookkeepers Starting Out for an overview to help you on your way.

Steps to Become a Certified Bookkeeper

A. Structure

B. Education

C. Commencing Business (May Occur While the Above Takes Place)

D. Continuing to be Certified

Where to Find Clients

Having been granted the Institute's Practising Certificate, there are a number of ways in which you can begin to find clients, although obviously none are guaranteed. The level of success you achieve will depend on a number of factors, including the area in which you live, the type of businesses that operate in your area and the general hourly rates for work of this type.

The first is obviously to advertise. Look at the classifieds section in your local newspapers. You will need to look at whether there are any other bookkeepers advertising regularly. If there are, then you may find that you have more competition for your business, although this is not a bad thing, it just means that you will need to sell yourself, and your professionalism, better than the others. Adverts from competitors will also give you some idea of the type of services they offer and perhaps even the 'going rate' for your area. Undercutting does not always work. After all, businesses need their books done properly.

How Much to Charge

The most difficult part of starting any business is deciding how much to charge. This depends on a number of factors, including your experience, locality , the availability of other bookkeepers in your area and the current financial position of your client. We suggest that you should start by charging between $45 and $55 per hour for most bookkeeping services. In some areas of the country, it is difficult to reach $30 per hour, and some clients expect to pay no more than $25. However, remember you are offering a professional service, and should be paid accordingly. Many consulting, troubleshooting or problem resolution services should be charged at up to $100 per hour.

See the ICB resource on Charge Rates and Fixed Fees.

Use of the Institute's Crest

As a practising member you are entitled to carry the Institute's crest on all stationery, business cards, leaflets, advertising - and don't forget your website. If you use the crest on your site, this should link to the Institute's website- speak to us at the Institute if you need help with this. Please note the Institute must approve all use of the crest prior to publication or transmission. Your membership number should appear below all uses of the crest. Please do not position the crest in the top right-hand corner of your letterheads because this can be misleading - your letterheads may look too similar to the Institute's letterheads.

The ICB Crest is available for Full Members to download here.

We are Here to Help

Please remember that taking on your first client can seem very daunting. You may inherit a perfect set of books - but it is more likely to be a shoebox crammed full of receipts and bills. Many businesses let their books get on top of them before they look for a bookkeeper. Some are prompted by a final reminder from the ATO. But don't panic! The Institute is always here to help and it is worth remembering that if everyone was good at doing their own books, there would be no need for your services.

And don't forget to suggest to any new or prospective client that they should feel free to contact the Institute for confirmation of your qualification and membership. The Practising Certificate also comes with free technical advice, so if you have any questions you can call us and we will talk you through it.

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us on 1300 85 61 81 or email ICB for further details.


  • Updated: 27th November, 2015