5 Things to Look For When Choosing the Best Bookkeeping Course For YouApr 03, 2023
Today, we're going to be talking about what to look for when you're shopping around for the best bookkeeping course for you.
This was actually something that I put on my Instagram feed (with a really great caption, if I do say so myself), but I wanted to deepen what the caption says while also allowing this to be a resource that I can refer people back to.
There are several things that you want to factor in when you are trying to decide on the best bookkeeping course for you, but for today, I’ve narrowed it down to five. So are the five things to look for when deciding on the best bookkeeping course or program…
Technical or Business?
The first thing you need to look at when picking the best bookkeeping course is whether it focuses on the technical skill of bookkeeping, or if it focuses on business growth.
Neither of these are bad or something you should avoid, but you need to make sure you’re getting the best bookkeeping course for your needs today.
The really important thing to know here is that the first thing you need in order to start a bookkeeping business is to know the skill of bookkeeping. There are some things where the stakes are not too high to fake it till you make it, but you can't just go out there and hope for the best with bookkeeping. You can really hurt people when you mess up their financial picture, especially if they don't have somebody following behind you. If they don’t have a CPA that's going to scrub through the books and you put something in there wrong, it can cause some real problems.
You don't want to fake this till you make this. You want to make sure that your technical skills are locked and loaded before you shift into business growth, which is one reason why I have my two programs—one focused on technical skill, and the other focused on business—separated.
I’ve thought about bundling the two together a few times, but I bifurcate them intentionally for a couple of reasons: one, so that you can focus on learning the skill when it’s time for that, and two…what if you get in there and you learn the skill and you decide that bookkeeping work isn’t for you after all?
It would still be a valuable lesson for you, but it's nice to have them split so that you're not taking on the financial commitment of both of them at once.
An Overview or a Deep Dive?
The next thing you need to look at when picking the best bookkeeping course for you is if the program skims over the foundational skills you need to know, or if it takes you on a deep-dive into the technical side of things.
One of the things that sets my program Become a Bookkeeper (BABs), apart from the rest of the best bookkeeping courses is that I start with the basics first.
We start with the basics of accounting. I bust out a textbook and we run through that, but we don't breeze over it. I want you to read it on your own, then I break apart each chapter and say, “Here’s what you read. Here’s what’s important about it. And here’s how it applies to running a bookkeeping business.”
This is something that you're not going to learn in your accounting course in college, because the purpose of them teaching you accounting there is not for you to start a bookkeeping business. Inside BABs, I tie those things together, so whether you're a CPA, someone who has some experience with accounting already, or if you're brand new to all this, we're going to start with that foundation.
So we start with the basics of accounting and the basics of bookkeeping, because they're different. That gives us the foundation to talk about what bookkeeping looks like, and then we talk about the basics of tax. (I don't think that you should be replacing the tax preparer in any capacity—I have a few episodes about that—but it’s still good for you to understand the basics.) I’m a CPA with tax experience, so I know how to teach you about tax and how to make your conversations with your eventual clients CPAs so much easier.
Thirdly, when trying to pick the best bookkeeping course, you want to find out if this program goes over how the processes you’re learning work in reality.
One thing that really sets BABs apart from the rest of the best bookkeeping courses out there is that the second phase is a shadow section, so you get to see a real-life example of me applying these skills you’re learning. It’s as if you're being trained on the job for the type of business that you hope to run someday.
I’ve heard from many of my clients that most other programs don’t have this kind of section, and I feel that’s an oversight, because so many of my students love this section. It’s really important; it brings the whole picture to life and helps everything suddenly make sense.
Testing Your Application
The fourth thing to look for when you are choosing the best bookkeeping course or program for you is whether you get to test what you've learned or not.
In BABs, we wrap up with the final section, which I've called “Apply.” This is where you get to put your knowledge to the test, roll up your sleeves with life-like mock data, and you get the ability to work inside of my go-to software Xero.
Recently, I've even fully partnered with Xero to grant you exclusive access to the Xero Partner program for accountants, even if you don't have a client yet. Xero is an amazing program for a lot of reasons. It's my preferred program over QuickBooks Online; not that you can't have a successful business with QuickBooks Online if you know it already and you feel confident in it, but there’s a reason that I showcase Xero in this program.
With Xero, they normally only allow you to actually have an accountant profile, which has some really cool features and perks if you have a client. But if you're taking this program, you probably don't have a client yet. So I've talked to them, I've explained what we do inside of BABs, why it's different, why it's needed, and why actually being a Xero partner is important. They've heard me, and they've created a process that creates an exception for my students.
Now you'll be granted Xero Partner status, which gives you a lot of really cool things, including the hands-on experience of using that type of account, which is different than a free trial. You've got accountant features in there, which is awesome. And you've also got a demo company, which you wouldn't have as a bookkeeping client. You also end up getting a free company under Xero for your firm when you're a partner, so it's really cool.
The last of my core five things to look for when choosing the best bookkeeping course for you is whether the creator of the course is qualified to create it.
You should really be doing your homework on whether they have the credentials for this; it's important that somebody that's teaching you the skill has the credentials and experience to do so properly.
I don't do a ton of tooting my own horn, but I am going to lay out the things that make me qualified to teach this course. Aside from the fact that it's been in existence for over two years, I am a CPA of more than a decade. I have a bachelor's degree in accounting, a master's degree in tax, experience at a CPA firm preparing taxes, I've built a six-figure bookkeeping business part-time while raising three babies, and I've led hundreds of people through my program while running my bookkeeping business and continuing to slowly but steadily grow that.
I understand what I'm doing here. I've done it; I've helped other people do it. I have a deep understanding of tax, accounting, and bookkeeping, both through practice and through helping others.
If you're considering other programs, just make sure that person has qualifications that would make them a person that you could trust on this topic. You don't need to be a CPA in order to run your own bookkeeping business, but if you're going to be teaching people about how these things work together, it sure helps.
You May Have Already Found The Best Bookkeeping Course…
Now you have a checklist of five things to keep an eye out for when you’re shopping around for your best bookkeeping course—and how BABs holds up to each!
If you want a deeper look behind the BABs curtain, keep an eye on this space; I'm going to be redoing the Six Secrets event that I did in the summer of last year very soon, and that will take you behind the scenes of the program. It’s going to be a lot of the same content, but not exactly, and there are some different things happening, so I would recommend signing up even if you already went through BABs.
Keep your eyes peeled for that. It's a free virtual event. It's always fun to be there, so be sure to sign up when you see it!
If you're looking for more tips for bookkeeping, insight on how to become a bookkeeper, and how to say hello to a more confident business model, enroll in Become A Bookkeeper (BABs).
To learn about the programs and get a peek behind the curtain, head to www.katieferro.com/6-secrets.
Learn how to take your bookkeeping skills and turn them into a business that allows you to replace (or surpass) your corporate salary, be present for your life, and profoundly impact your clients without selling your life in the process by joining Life by the Books (LIBBY).
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