The day and age of side hustles and businesses is here, and professionals across multiple industries are rising to the occasion. Professional accountants have an impressive set of skills and talents to offer, and many choose to put these capabilities into another outlet or work opportunity.
While it can be beneficial (both financially and in terms of personal interest) to have a side business, there are also things to be mindful of. This includes knowing what kind of business to start, which “side hustle” idea could be the right fit, and how to stay true to your original and primary career.
In this post, join us as we discuss the ins and outs of starting a side business as an accountant. Hint: it’s easier than you might think!
Qualities to Look for in an Accounting Side Business
According to recent data, as many as one in three Americans have a side hustle. This term can refer to any income-generating job or position that an individual holds in addition to a primary occupation.
Side hustles and side businesses aren’t always self-employment opportunities (although many are). Some professionals choose to work part-time or overtime jobs at other companies in addition to their primary employer. Regardless of how you choose to work on the side, there are a few qualities to consider when deciding on your next gig.
- Is it feasible? Before you begin, ask whether you realistically have the time, resources, and talents required to perform this job successfully.
- Is it worth the time and effort? It’s expected that most people embark upon a side hustle with the hope of making extra income. When picking a side business model, choose one that’s profitable. If you have high expenses and low profit margin, the business may not be able to carry on for long.
- Does it compete with your primary occupation? Whether you’re a full-time accountant or you fill another professional role, your side hustle shouldn’t interfere with a main gig. It’s always smart to check with your employer to see if there are any restrictions or non-compete clauses in your employment contract.
9 Smart Side Business Ideas for Accountants and Tax Professionals
Once you’ve checked all the right boxes and discovered the freedom to start a side business, you might be wondering how to actually get started. To set yourself up for success, it’s a good strategy to pursue one side business opportunity at a time. This allows you to pour in whatever extra time and attention you have into getting it off the ground.
As an accountant or financial professional, you’ve got the training and knowledge to excel in a variety of different opportunities. To save you some time, we’ve narrowed down a list of nine great ideas for your next side project or opportunity.
Part-Time Teacher (Accounting Classes)
Have you thought about taking your financial proficiency to a group of students? Many districts and higher education institutions around the country are in need of highly trained teachers to fill part-time roles.
In particular, you might reach out to your local community college to see if there are any openings in the Business department. Many smaller, local schools offer night courses, which could accommodate your full-time schedule.
Online and remote teaching roles are another suitable outlet to explore. Many schools have business, financial, and accounting electives virtually. If you qualify to teach (assuming that you can fulfill certain accreditation requirements), these opportunities are a perfect, flexible fit for full-time accountants.
Online Course Creator
Similar to pursuing a job at a school or college, you may also try your hand at developing an online course to sell. While this process takes preparation and initial investment (such as planning your online course lessons and recording new content), it’s a great choice for accountants who want to do something once and continue to receive payments later.
Many experts host their original online course on platforms like Udemy and Coursera. These teaching and learning platforms (and others like them) allow creators to upload course content and sell to audiences who are interested in learning a specific topic.
For example, you could create online courses that teach “Accounting 101” basics, or you could deep dive into a more advanced accounting topic for niche learners. Either way, online learning platforms allow accounting professionals to post and re-sell, time and again.
Small Business Bookkeeper
If your full-time accounting firm does not offer bookkeeping as a service, you may be able to turn your accounting knowledge into freelance bookkeeping for small businesses.
Many small businesses struggle to maintain their books and keep up with administrative operations. At the same time, it’s often hard to hire someone on-staff to complete these tasks, especially for businesses that have only recently launched.
Accountants fill the gap for these businesses by offering skilled, knowledgeable bookkeeping services. For many accounting pros, these opportunities provide ongoing growth and learning, since the responsibilities are slightly different than what they experience in the day-to-day accounting world.
Accountants heavily use and rely on well-written spreadsheets to perform their regular job duties. And while it’s almost common practice in the accounting realm, not everyone is skilled or equipped to handle spreadsheets and the associated data.
Accountants can be successful in businesses that revolve around the creation and maintenance of spreadsheets. It’s even possible to use self-created spreadsheets (proprietary information) and resell them for a profit. This is a simple side hustle you can accomplish in your own hours to earn money.
For example, if you’ve designed a highly efficient spreadsheet for personal budgeting, it’s possible to post and sell that spreadsheet as a template. While you might choose to lock or restrict some features, this can provide an option for mostly passive income on certain marketplaces like Etsy.
Social Media Content Creator
Becoming a popular content creator for platforms like Facebook and Instagram can be profitable. Before starting this type of business, think about the audience you currently have, how you would scale it, and whether you can invest the time and energy into producing recurring content for your own business.
Social media content creators often make income through sources like advertising, sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, and directly selling their own products. Although it takes time to build up a solid income stream, the popularity of social media generally means that the potential is out there. Social media accounts can also be connected to having your own accounting blog or YouTube channel.
To execute this idea, think of ways you could make large and complex accounting topics more digestible to regular people. Use engaging posts and videos to entertain your audience while providing practical tools and help.
Consulting is another way to use your accounting skills and experience to help other individuals or businesses with their accounting needs. A consultative relationship is often personalized to each individual who seeks out services.
If you go this route with your side hustle or business, it’s crucial to check that your consultative relationships don’t interfere with your full-time obligations. Since many accounting firms have similar relationships with existing clients, you never want to be in a position where it seems like you are benefiting from those client relationships on a personal level.
Any consulting service you provide should be wholly separate from your full-time professional client roster.
Financial coaching is similar to consulting, but it may be more focused on helping another person improve their financial standing. You can call upon years of experience with personal finance to help others solve financial issues and learn the skills required to stay in a strong, stable place.
Affiliate marketing is another way to earn extra income on the side, and sometimes generate passive income. With affiliate marketing, you earn commissions when customers or clients make purchases using your unique affiliate code or links.
In most cases, affiliate income is connected to having a sizable social media following or owning your own email or distribution list. With this tactic, you’ll need potential customers who are interested in the products that you endorse.
As an accountant, you may look to partner with financial tools, apps, platforms, or physical products. These should be items or software that you know, use, and trust. The specific percentage of your commission is decided by the corresponding business or partner.
A qualified accounting consultant may also have proficient knowledge about tax laws and individual or business taxes. During tax season, it may be profitable to provide tax consultant services to others in your network, as many people must complete their tax returns in a timely manner.
As with any side hustle, your freelance or independent tax services should not compete with your full time job. You may also need other certifications or training to provide federal or state tax services.
Keeping Your Professional Priorities in Check
As an accountant, starting a side business can be another way to use your creativity and knowledge for professional benefit. It’s never wrong to be ambitious and to go after your financial goals, particularly as they relate to entrepreneurship.
With that in mind, always make sure that the responsibilities of your side business are able to complement your full-time commitments. Although you might be able to take your side hustle full-time in the future, carefully consider how you will manage both for the time being.
Starting a side business can be an exciting step on your journey as a professional accountant. You can meet new people, offer top-tier services, and create additional income streams that propel you forward in your business goals.
Don’t forget—CountingWorks PRO is here to help small and large businesses alike. With smart accounting software features and user-friendly functionality, you’ll be better equipped to automate, market, and run your accounting, tax, or financial business.
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