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  • Writer's pictureMatt Bontrager

Your In-Depth Step By Step Guide on How to Network as a Bookkeeper

Updated: Jul 13, 2023

Networking is an essential skill in any profession.

Bookkeepers especially can leverage this time-honored tradition of meeting and nurturing relationships with like-minded professionals.

If that’s surprising to you, it shouldn’t be.

Just like any other business, bookkeeping can benefit from networking and in this guide, we’ll delve into not only why it’s important for bookkeepers, but also how you can learn to do it effectively and efficiently to grow your career and your business.

Why Networking is Important

As a bookkeeper, you’re the unsung hero behind a successful business, helping to ensure the accuracy of financial records.

You’re the bass player keeping the beat or the songwriter creating the hits.

But what about your professional network? How often and how deliberately do you invest in that skill?

A strong network can be the difference between a bookkeeping career that soars versus one that sours before it’s time .

Not convinced? Here’s 3 reasons why networking is crucial for advancement in your career:

  1. Leverage unknown opportunities. Expand your business opportunities by getting new client referrals, partnership opportunities, and even job offers. These opportunities aren’t always broadcasted or advertised to the public and can only be known through personal connections.

  2. Strengthen professional development. Networking allows you to learn from others in your field. When you discuss your common challenges, pain points, and solutions with other bookkeepers, you gain new insights to improve and optimize your own workflows.

  3. Increase awareness. Staying up to date with the world of finance and accounting in an ever-shifting regulatory landscape keeps you abreast of the latest trends, technologies, and legislative changes.

These reasons may not seem like something bookkeepers would need to do, but when that opportunity presents itself, you’d be surprised where it can take you.

After leaving Deloitte and spending the next few years playing a game of career musical chairs (e.g. jumping from one finance role to another), I finally met one Ryan Pineda.

If you don’t know who Ryan is, he’s a former real estate agent turned entrepreneur. He began investing in real estate in 2015, creating an extremely successful business model, and then began teaching this model to others.

Meeting Ryan was a random chance encounter, yet it changed the way I looked at networking forever. While Ryan was certainly successful, he was desperate to find the right person to handle the financial systems and solutions behind his business.

Working with Ryan gave me a new outlook on both finance AND my own place within the industry.

How to Network as a Bookkeeper

My story above is indicative of how networking can generate a new avenue for your bookkeeping business.

Thankfully, networking as a bookkeeper doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it cant be done in just 7 easy steps.

Step #1: Identify Your Goals

Before you start networking, you need to identify what your goals are. Are you trying to grow your client base? Are you looking for a mentor? Do you want to learn how to implement new technologies?

Depending on how you answer these questions, or come up with your own, will decide the type of networking you’ll want to do and which avenue you’ll want to use to pursue them.

Step #2: Create a Professional Brand

A professional brand is how you’ll present yourself to the world. This will include things like your expertise, values, and unique selling points.

Start to develop a compelling elevator pitch that can quickly summarize who you are, what you do, and what makes you unique in your space.

Once you’ve got the phrasing down, practice saying it - OUT LOUD. This part is critical. Just because something sounds good on paper does not mean it translates well in the spoken-word.

Trust me, I’ve learned this one the hard way.

Step #3: Leverage Social Media

LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook offer numerous opportunities to network. Piggybacking off step number two, create a profile on LinkedIn and join groups that are focused on what your goals are for networking.

But don't stop there.

To really make being on social platforms effective, you need to interact and engage with others, by commenting on posts, sharing valuable content, and posting in these groups.

Do the same when using Twitter and Facebook, making sure to follow and interact with industry leaders and influencers.

Step #4: Attend Industry Events

Conferences, seminars, and webinars are excellent opportunities for you to network with others.

Oftentimes, these will also be listed on social media platforms, so be sure to keep an eye out and attend any relevant events.

Remember to have your business cards – both digital and physical – at hand to exchange with others.

Step #5: Join Professional Organizations

Professional organizations like the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) or the National Associate of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB) provide networking opportunities through local chapters, online forums, and regular events.

They also offer continuing education and certification options.

Step #6: Engage in Local Community Events

While the above covers industry events, social media, and professional organizations, don't overlook the power of local networking.

Participating in local business associations, chambers of commerce, or community events can help you connect with potential local clients and partners.

Step #7: Follow Up and Maintain Connections

Making connections is easy; it’s maintaining them that’s tricky.

After meeting someone new, follow up with a personalized message. Be sure to keep in touch by sharing interesting articles, congratulating them on professional achievements, or simply by checking in from time to time.

When it comes to making the most of your networking efforts, be sure you’re doing the following:

  • be genuine and positive

  • be prepared

  • be consistent

  • don’t be afraid to ask for an introduction and offer help before asking for it

  • always follow up

  • and MOST IMPORTANTLY make sure to give or provide value before asking for things from your network

The COVID-19 pandemic changed how we do networking, for both the immediate present and the future, but you can use some of the new strategies to keep up with our new environment.

Embrace the virtual networking aspect by attending virtual conferences, webinars, and meetups, especially if you’re unable to attend physically. Breakout rooms during these events and using the chat are great ways to interact with other attendees.

For smaller, local options, you can schedule virtual meetups which can allow you to meet “face to face” and be sure you’re prepared by sharing valuable content beforehand so you can discuss.

Networking offers a wide range of opportunities to learn, grow, and discover trends and connections.

Remember - the goal of networking isn’t just to get what you can from others.

I'd invite you to join my network of bookkeepers who are making serious money from it.

It’s about building a community of like-minded professionals who can learn from and support each other.

Always think about how you can provide value to others and with a little patience - and a lot of persistence - you’ll find networking can open doors you never knew existed.


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