Being a Freelance Accountant: Advantages and Disadvantages

Being a freelance accountant can be a very lucrative career option. However, you’ll need to have the necessary licenses before you can practice as a freelance accountant. While many accountants choose to work with larger or smaller companies, either as a part of an accounting firm or working in-house, some decide to freelance.

As a freelance accountant, you get to decide your own schedule, choose your own clients. You can also be as flexible with your work hours as you want to be. However, you will also have to work hard to market your services and get new clients for your business. Often, this can be as hard, if not harder, than your actual job.

Despite this, being a freelance accountant can both be a rewarding as well as a profitable career path.

How do you become a freelance accountant?

The availability of tools and technology online has now made it possible for accountants to work as freelancers. With the help of these digital tools, you can work as a freelance accountant from the comfort of your own home.

But before you can begin practising as a freelance accountant, there are specific steps you need to complete:

  • Getting certified: Before you can practice as a freelance accountant, you need to be licensed as a CPA or Certified Public Accountant. Before you can be certified, you’ll need to complete a bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject, such as accounting or tax accounting. You will then need to clear an exam, post which you can be licensed as a CPA.
  • Developing an online presence: To get clients as a freelance accountant, you’ll need to establish an online presence. Of primary concern here is developing your website. Opt for a simple yet professional design that is user-friendly. Ensure that your website is SEO integrated, so potential clients can find your website more accessible. Create social media profiles, and post relevant and quality content on them regularly.
  • Promote your business: You’ll need to create a marketing plan that enables you to scale your business. The more you promote yourself and your business, the more leads you’re likely to generate. Consider asking your friends and families for referrals, and use targeted ads such as Facebook Ads and Google Ads to target the market, etc.

The advantages and disadvantages

Once you’ve established yourself as a freelance accountant and have started getting clients, you’re likely to notice certain advantages and disadvantages in your career. Here is everything you should know about the advantages and disadvantages associated with being a freelance accountant:

The advantages

Being a freelance accountant award you with several advantages, such as:

You choose your own projects.

You can choose between working across a diverse range of areas, such as with small businesses or large organizations. Freelance accountants are often famous among startups and small businesses, and you can choose any project that interests you from among them.

You choose your own clients.

Aside from your projects, you can also choose the clients you work with. This means that you can both pursue clients with who you’re interested in working and reject those who don’t interest you. The benefit of choosing your own client is that you can find people with whom you can work comfortably.

Over time, you may also be able to enter into retainer contracts with them.

You choose your own workload.

Accountants often suffer from burnout and fatigue, owing to the large amount of work they have to deal with regularly. Being stressed and burnt out over long periods can lead to both physical and mental health issues. However, as a freelance accountant, you get to choose your own workload.

This means that you can work as much or as little as you want to. You set your own hours, and they can change from day today. There will be times when you have more work than others, while there will also be times when you’re relatively free. As a freelance accountant, you’ll need to balance how you spend your time.

But once you get the hang of that, then you’ll be able to create flexible schedules around your workload.

You decide your own work hours.

Having flexible work hours is one of the key benefits associated with being a freelance accountant. Instead of needing to work a fixed number of hours every day, you can instead choose your own hours. You can work early in the morning or late at night. If you have clients living on the other side of the world, then you can adjust your schedule with theirs to work with them as well.

As a freelance accountant, you have complete control over your work hours.

The disadvantages

While there are plenty of perks associated with being a freelance accountant, there are a few disadvantages that you should know about as well. These include:

No company-specific knowledge

Since you’re a freelance accountant who works on projects with different businesses, you may not be privy to specific knowledge that in-house accountants have. This may end up affecting your final calculations, causing you to end up with erroneous results.

For this reason, you should always ask your clients as many questions as you can think of about their company, as well as their financial operations.

Need to search for clients

Freelance accountants need to spend time prospecting and searching for new clients. You’ll also need to create your own marketing strategies that can enable you to build a reputation for yourself. The search for clients takes up a lot of time, and you can find yourself devoting a few hours a day to generating new leads.

You’ll earn less initially.

Freelance accountants make less money than their in-house counterparts when they’re starting out. This is owing to the fact that it’s primarily small businesses and startups that can’t afford to hire an in-house accountant that turns to freelancers.

However, as you develop a reputation for yourself and gain experience as a freelance accountant, you’ll be able to set your own prices. In the long run, you can expect your run as a freelance accountant to be a lucrative one, even though you may be earning less in the initial years.


Being a freelance accountant is associated with several advantages and disadvantages. While you can choose your own projects, set your own schedule, choose your own clients, and even enjoy flexible work hours, there are certain disadvantages as well.

These include the need to look for your own clients, not having a high-income capacity right from the start, and not being privy to inside information about the companies you work with. The good news is that a lot of your disadvantages can be worked around, especially with time and experience.

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As a freelance accountant, you’re bound to encounter career risks from time to time. Professional indemnity insurance can help you protect your career against such career risks. If you want to learn more about PI insurance, or if you wish a professional indemnity insurance quote, then click here.

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