I do bookkeeping for clients but have not completed a bookkeeping course. However there is more to offering this service than knowing numbers.
If you are not registered with one of the bookkeeping institutes, whereby your membership covers Money Laundering registration and supervision, you will need to register with HMRC - this costs £110.00 per year and if you don’t registered and you are found to be offering this service, they will fine you. I didn’t register for the first two years as I was unaware of the changes in the regulations and I was then fined £100 and charged 2 years’ back registration. They also call on a regular basis to check that you are doing ok, that you are following the rules ie ensuring security checks/paperwork for your clients are correct etc.
Even if you don’t actually do the bookkeeping but offer this service through your company, and outsource it to another VA, you have to register with HMRC. You can find more details here: gov.uk/money-laundering-reg … troduction.
I started off by doing some spreadsheet work for a client which gradually grew into me doing his invoicing etc. I now work with various different online software packages which, technically speaking, don’t need any bookkeeping knowledge. However, over the years I have researched and kept myself up to date with the rules etc and work closely with clients’ accountants to ensure I do the best I can for my clients. All of my clients are aware I am not formally trained and trust that I will speak with their accountants if there is something I don’t understand. Doing my own accounts has also helped me. I am about to look at doing a bookkeeping course though with Pitmans, making use of my VA winning voucher, just to formalise my knowledge and to be able to assist clients a little better.
You need to have some knowledge of VAT - the different forms of it (flat rate, input/output and margin), what can be claimed for as expenses, salaries (if the client is an employer) and lots of other dos/don’ts.
Although expensive, if you really want to offer this service and don’t have the knowledge yet, doing one of the courses by the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers, Pitmans etc would be the best option. Don’t go for the AAT courses - these are accountancy based and you have to be fully qualified before you can start offering any bookkeeping services. Going down the AAT road is a bit of a double edge - you will eventually be a qualified accountant, but you can’t practice until qualified. However, legally anyone can actually set up as an accountant/bookkeeper without any certification, so long as they are registered with HMRC for Money Laundering.