Growing a Successful Bookkeeping Business: Do You Really Need to Have a CPA?

babs for bookkeepers libby podcast Apr 12, 2021
CPA bookkeeping


In this episode of Profits + Prosecco Podcast, I am going to dive into one of the MOST asked questions I get. That question is if you need to have a CPA in order to start a bookkeeping business. I have a lot of members in my Booked out Bookkeeper program that do have a CPA, but I also have quite a few who don’t. In this episode I’ll be sharing my thoughts around whether it’s essential to have a CPA or not. So stay tuned for more details!

But before we dive right in, welcome to the Profits + Prosecco Podcast! I’m your host, Katie Ferro, CPA, reformed rule follower, creator of Booked Out Bookkeeper, mom to 3 little ones, and Kajabi enthusiast.

This podcast is for entrepreneurs who desire to change their life through their profitable business, and for bookkeepers and accountants who want to escape the 9-5 and start a simple scalable bookkeeping business like I did. 

Bookkeeping increases profits and profits change lives. So pop some bubbles and let me show you how! 

In this episode, we are going to break down if you really need a CPA to have a successful bookkeeping business. For even more juicy details, listen to ALL of episode 19 of the Profits + Prosecco Podcast on your fave streaming platform.


Do you need a CPA to be a successful bookkeeper?

Let’s just jump right in. Absolutely not. 

Let’s look at it this way…

Do you need an M.D. to be a school nurse? No. 

Do you need to go to medical school to apply a bandaid? No. 

BUT It will never hurt you to be massively overqualified. 

You definitely do not need a CPA to get into a bookkeeping business but it could give you extra leverage, of course. I know that obtaining a CPA helped me get to where I am today. 

My advice? If you have the time and energy to go take your CPA exam then I would say go for it! 

I did a poll in my Bookkeepers’ Corner Facebook Group and asked if the members cared whether I was a CPA. I found that the majority of votes who did care were accountants. With that information, I decided to maintain my license. The majority of my other clients didn’t care though so it's not always necessary depending on who you plan to reach in your bookkeeping business. 

Let’s just get real for a second. Sure, if you say you are a CPA, it may add an attractive appeal to potential clients. However, I promise you that it’s not going to be the sole reason you’re signing clients. 

I'm not sharing this to dissuade you from taking your CPA exam by any means. I am a CPA who has maintained my license and there is tremendous value in obtaining one. 

The bottom line here is that if you have the time, if you're not a parent, and you want to put that CPA by your name, then do it! On the other side, if you find yourself unable to achieve this license right now, don’t stress. 



Why a CPA does not make you better than the rest.

If you think you need a CPA to have a successful bookkeeping business, then there is a deeper issue going on. 

Not all successful bookkeepers have their CPA. That’s just a fact.

You have to get out of your head and drop the limiting belief around having a CPA, or even using it as a crutch to procrastinate from starting your bookkeeping business! 

One of the very first people to join my BOB program doesn't even have a degree! Let alone a CPA.

She has had great success in the program and is beyond happy in her business. There are also others in the program who don't have CPAs but have an accounting degree and are still thriving with their bookkeeping! 

If owning a bookkeeping business and working for yourself is your goal, then you need to get to the root of why you want to do this. 

If you eventually want to offer tax services, then by all means go ahead and take the CPA exam. BUT if you're going to do bookkeeping and your goal is to get your own clients, you don't need to be a CPA, you just need to have confidence! 

It’s a made-up belief that you need a CPA to start your bookkeeping business and to be successful at doing so. If you want to hone your skills without becoming a CPA, check out BABs at  



Growing a Successful Bookkeeping Business: Do You Really Need to Have a CPA?: The Bottomline

I hope this episode has brought reassurance and peace of mind to you if you’ve been struggling to take the leap and start your bookkeeping business. From my insight and tips above, I hope you takeaway the fact that obtaining a CPA is definitely not the end all be all for success in bookkeeping! However, a CPA is still a great idea. You just have to take into consideration where you’re at in life and if it fits your needs. 

Don’t forget to tune into episode 19 of the Profits + Prosecco Podcast. Thank you so much for listening!

If you enjoyed the episode, please take a second to rate and review. Each review helps us reach and inspire more entrepreneurs and bookkeepers just like you. 

Don’t forget to take a screenshot, share it in your Instagram stories, and tag me at @orderlyaccountingbykatie. Cheers to your inevitable success and I’ll see you in the next episode!