What It’s Like to Work Remotely as a Freelance Accountant

Last year, I was invited to join Accodex as the first U.S. Partner as a freelance accountant.

It all started when I created my blog and built my online presence. Chris Hooper, Accodex CEO, took notice and started a conversation with me. 

A few months after I quit my corporate accounting job, I met Chris in San Francisco. We decided it would be a good fit to work together and finalized our partnership over a round of beer.

Partnering with Accodex has been life changing. I wouldn't have been able to gain as much momentum, knowledge and confidence out on my own.

If you are a top performer or have the entrepreneurial spirit, it might be time to go out on your own as a freelance accountant.

You get to use the best accounting technology and tools

Becoming a freelance accountant, you get to use the best accounting technology and tools available on the marketplace - not just what your traditional accounting employer let's you use.

Use apps like Xero, Practice Ignition, Gusto, and Salesforce, just to name a few. The software works seamlessly together to create a beautiful accounting experience: for you and your clients. You'll actually enjoy doing accounting again!

With everything you need accessible in the cloud, you can take your work with you, wherever you go. No need for paper files, file cabinets, printers or other office supplies.

You make more money than your accounting job

When you work as a freelance accountant, you’ll learn ‘value pricing’ is the way to go. Say goodbye to the billable hour and trading time for money!

When you drop the billable hour and charge a flat monthly fee to your clients, you are putting a higher value on your time. The amount of hours your work doesn’t determine how much you earn.

In my first couple months of working as a freelance accountant, I earned almost enough to cover my monthly living expenses by working less than one day a month. I was making north of $150/hr, a considerable upgrade from my average hourly rate any of my previous accounting jobs.

A similar job working at a CPA firm, for example, will get you around the $30/hr range. As you can see there's a big difference in earning potential when you become a freelance accountant.

You will be able to work LESS

When you make more per hour as a freelance accountant, you don’t have to work as much as you would in a full-time job. You can survive just fine working part-time if you want. Spend more time with your family, traveling, or taking on fun side projects.

In my case, I was able to mostly cover my living expenses working very minimally. My goal was not to work anywhere near 40 hours a week so I was happy to work less even if it mean't earning less.

Accountants can get burned out working 40, 50, and even 60+ hour workweeks - it's not healthy. You can work less and still get a lot done but choose how much you want to work.

You can work anywhere in the world

Becoming a freelance accountant has allowed me to roam free throughout the world. Not having an office, supplies, or paper systems, has removed any barriers to where I work.

When working remotely, you don’t have to work from the hours of 9-5 and you can work on your own terms. You can finally live the location independent lifestyle you been daydreaming about.

You get rewarded for efficiency

Every accounting job I’ve worked started off great. I was learning new and interesting things, found the work challenging and was generally happy to go to work. But as months would pass, that feeling would dissipate and I would find myself becoming less challenged and more efficient with my work. This would result in me being bored for most of the day.

At one job, I was able to take my full time duties and reduce it in half! The problem was, after I completed my work (even while taking on extra duties), I couldn’t simply leave for the day. Old-school mentality says the amount of hours my butt is in the office chair equals productivity.

I’m motivated by freedom and working efficiently gives me more time. I want more of my own time! Time to pursue my passions outside the accounting profession like travel, building my website and meeting interesting people. The more efficient you become, the more you are rewarded to build your business or pursue other passions.

You will do more meaningful work

If a good portion of your day is admin related work, you're not going to derive much meaning from it. Your job will feel more like an obligation and less like something that excites you.

Once you implement the technology in your work, you’ll be doing less data entry, pushing papers and the other stuff that annoys you. You’ll have more free time to focus on higher level work that will make you more money long term.

With a decent salary at my each of my jobs, it was frustrating having to make photocopies, chasing co-workers or clients for information and spending countless hours fixing other people's mistakes. You don’t want to be wasting your valuable knowledge and skills on low level tasks when you can get more money and enjoyment from higher level work. 

You will breath new life into your accounting career

After spending a decade in various sectors of the accounting profession, I had experienced enough to understand the type of work I wanted to avoid. I was tired of going from job to job, ending up in the same frustrating position of bored and stuck.

Then, Chris reached out and introduced me to Accodex. He showed me how I could work remotely and enjoy doing accounting again. Accodex will help breathe new life into your accounting career and give you hope for a better future - one that will allow you to work on your own terms.

You don't have to reinvent the wheel

A few years prior, before I left my job, I intended to start my own accounting firm. I became a Xero Certified Advisor, attended a workshop on how to accelerate my business and created a website. I thought I could start making money on the side.

I waited, and waited for the phone to ring or my inbox to fill with inquires from prospective clients. Nothing happened. Months would go by and still, I had no prospects. I even put out a listing on Craigslist offering my services for free (big mistake!).

I was spinning my wheels and wasn’t going anywhere with my business. I thought I was doing all the right things but nothing seemed to be working. Because I still had my day job, it wasn’t a big deal to let that dream fizzle out.

If you can start your own accounting firm from scratch and have the drive to do so, by all means, go for it! But if you don’t want to reinvent the wheel and prefer to go with a system that works, then Accodex may be right for you.

You won't spend decades on the path to Partner

To become an accounting firm partner through the traditional path can take decades of long hours and you having to deal with office politics. That is assuming you even last that long before you get burned out or get passed up for promotion.

Early on in my accounting career, I thought sticking it out for decades at one firm was the only path to partner. But after spending a year or two at a company, it’s no longer challenging for me and I’m ready to leave for a better opportunity.

I know people who stick it out at a firm well past the point of enjoyment just to achieve the Partner title. And if you do make it to Partner, expect to shell out some serious bucks to buy-in.

As a freelance accountant, you don't need to work for decades or come up with huge buy-in money. You can get started today!

Where you can find the best freelance accounting gigs

If you are looking for freelance work, take a look at the database of employers or platforms that are the best for accountants.

 
 

The Bottom Line

What’s not to like about earning more per hour, being able to work anywhere in the world and doing more fulfilling work?

Don’t continue to waste your valuable knowledge and experience at an employer who doesn’t value you or give you the freedom to grow.

Becoming a freelance accountant will allow you to make more money and work on your own terms. Don’t wait for change, take action now and decide your own future. Like me, you’ll be glad you did!

If you are somebody that’s interested in investing in your career and network right now, be sure to check out the Lifestyle Accountant Community. Join remote workers, freelancers, side-hustlers, entrepreneurs, and:

  • Surround Yourself With a Supportive Community - Connect with and learn from likeminded accountants from around the world
  • Gain Inspiration & Ideas - Spark your next career or business breakthrough
  • Access Exclusive Resources & Member-Only Content - Go remote faster with our tools, guides, articles and events
  • Ask Questions, Polls, & Chat With Members - Get advice or feedback from the group
FreelancingJeff Maddux, CPA