How to start an accounting business in South Africa

Find out what you need to know about starting an accounting business in South Africa.

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How can you start your own accounting business in South Africa?

Just as a taxi’s engine needs oil to work, any business needs a bookkeeper or accountant to manage the financial side of your business if you can’t do it yourself.

A small business usually doesn’t need or can’t afford to have a full-time bookkeeper as an employee. So, outsourcing financial services like bookkeeping could be the best way for these businesses. This is where an accounting business can start by looking after many small businesses.

We had a chat with Louise about her journey with her accounting business, Finance and Payroll Executive, to give you first-hand insights. 

Get inspired by what Louise had to say about starting her business.

What led you to start your own business?

“I had a friend that asked if I could assist with her personal tax. She was very satisfied that it was easy and stress-free for her, so she started telling her friends that I could assist.

"Then, clients started asking if I could do their books and payroll, so my business expanded to incorporate bookkeeping and payroll and tax services.”

What personal qualities do you need to start your own business?

“You need to be disciplined, focused and dedicated.”

Did you have an informal start to your business? 

“I started as a sole proprietor while working full-time for a company. I registered my business as a (Pty) Ltd in 2017.”

What challenges did you experience when starting your business?

“There are a lot of outsourced Bookkeeping, Payroll & Tax companies, so starting out was quite hard, as it was difficult to get clients that saw the value in my services.” 

Why did you choose to have an accounting business?

“I have always loved working with numbers. Mathematics was my favourite subject. I did not have accounting at school, as I went to Ballet School in Grade 8.” 

What are the benefits of having your own business?

“Being able to work remotely from anywhere, as all the accounting and payroll packages I use are cloud-based. You get to make all the decisions and set your own working hours.”

Are there disadvantages to having your own business?

“Yes, you tend to work longer hours, as you are responsible for keeping your clients satisfied. Also, you do not have annual leave benefits, UIF and sick leave.“

What advice do you have for starting an accounting business in South Africa?

“Do proper research on accounting and payroll software. See which packages give you the best benefits of being a ‘certified partner’. Request ‘partner’ discounts and preferred pricing.

"Also, make sure that you have a strong networking group.” 

How did you fund your business at the start?

“I started without funding but worked a full day and had to grow my business by working evenings and weekends.“

Find out more about how you could fund your small business

Read about business loans or other lending options.

What makes South Africa great for starting a business?

“There are always people willing to assist you with sound advice. Also, there are forums where you can register and get assistance from other business owners.”

Is it worth it to have your own small business in South Africa?

“Yes, it is definitely worth having your own business.”  

What security tips do you have to secure your office?

“Password managers, firewalls, two-factor authentication and internet security.”

We hope you also enjoyed what Louise had to say, and maybe it inspired you to start your own accounting business? Read on if you are curious to know more?

Learn more about starting an accounting business

Why could any business use you as a bookkeeper? Any business might need a good bookkeeper to balance their debit and credit transactions. A client pays you for your skills and professionalism, including accuracy, expertise, honesty, integrity, and confidentiality.

Accounting software has limitations

No matter how powerful the accounting package may be for your use, the software can't pick up any transactions provided incorrectly, duplicated or just left out. This is where you, the bookkeeper or accountant, come in with accurate reporting.

How to start a bookkeeping business

Remind yourself that you are an entrepreneur and no longer a bookkeeper or accountant when establishing your own business. So, see yourself as a businessperson. The three aspects of your business are finances, marketing and management.

You need to take a look at the following important business elements.

How are your skills?

What skills do you already have, and what extra ones do you still need? Check out which skills are missing that are crucial to the success of your business. Contact the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB), which provides excellent qualifications to get qualified.

What does your market need?

Does your market need your amazing services? Don’t forget that your fees must be market-related.

Do you have enough resources?

Resources would include your office, equipment, and all that makes you a bookkeeper. Your awesome experience, as shown on your CV, is a powerful marketing tool. In addition, a client would want to know if you can handle their specific kind of business. You can use years of corporate experience to your advantage by applying it to your small business.

Is your professional network enough?

You will always need some advice or support from your professional buddies. Through networking, you can get referrals and vice versa.

Do you know everything you need to start your business?

Find out more info about starting your business now.

Yoco is here for your business

To help start your own business, Yoco offers free Yoco Portal software and the Yoco app to help you manage your business. Join 230 000 successful small businesses that have chosen Yoco to get paid with our affordable card machines and other great payment tools.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with us. 

Are you inspired to start your own business? You can make it happen. Just believe in yourself and get started today.


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