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5 Essential Tips for Freelance Accountants: How to Stay Organized and Avoid Unnecessary Stress


Most accountants work 40 hours weekly and have excellent work/life balances. However, some accounting professionals can experience stress, especially freelancers.

For example, tax accountants thrive during tax season. It brings in most of their income but involves working long hours and days. 

Nonetheless, professionals can overcome the demand of the season and the anxiety.

Corporate accountants also experience heavy tension while carrying out their duties. The professionals can make or break companies financially. 

Plus, they must collaborate with other department heads and executives, adding additional layers of tension.

An industry analysis found that 55% of accounting professionals suffer from anxiety. The study caught the industry’s eye since the percentage is far higher than in other fields.

What Leads to Stress Among Accountants?

Individuals who thrive in the accounting field have specific personality profiles.

For example, accounting professionals require the following skills:

  • Problem-solving
  • High comfort level with numbers
  • Technology adaptability
  • Analytically minded

In addition, most successful accountants have introverted personalities. Thus, the professionals are okay with working alone during their 40-hour work weeks.

The demand for precision and complexity of accounting tasks leads to stress among professionals. 

However, organization is a great way to avoid unnecessary stress, and freelancers benefit from it as much as their employee-status counterparts.

What Is a Freelance Accountant?

A freelance accountant is an accounting professional who completes industry tasks and works as an independent contractor. 

Freelancers receive 1099 forms at the end of the tax year instead of W-2 forms, regardless of how much they earn annually.

Freelance accountants might operate as solopreneurs or run their own firms that employ other professionals and administrative staff.

Nonetheless, according to the Internal Revenue Service, freelance accountants double as small business owners.

Interested in learning more about freelance accounting? Selfgood offers a starter guide.

The following are five essential tips for freelance accountants on how to stay organized and avoid unnecessary stress.

Establish Filing Systems

Organization is the name of the game for all accounting professionals. Therefore, start by establishing filing systems.

Whether or not paper documents and filing cabinets are passe depends on the professional’s mindset and generation. 

For example,  Generation X and Baby Boomers grew up with paper and filing cabinets. Thus, their filing systems will include them. 

However, Millennials and Generation Z have grown up in the digital era where paper is an environmental hazard.

Nonetheless, establish filing systems that incorporate the pre- and current digital tools. For auditing purposes, freelancers must have the ability to find information quickly.

Summarize Important Information

Several sub-categories exist in the accounting field, such as:

  • Tax
  • Accounts payable
  • Accounts receivable
  • Forensic 
  • Management
  • CPA

Moreover, freelancers can pick up work in each sub-category with the right qualifications, credentials, and marketing efforts.

The ability to summarize important information and explain it to others shows mastery of the craft. Thus, avoid unnecessary stress and stay organized by rehashing key statistics, points of interest, and factors.

Remember Essential Dates

In addition, remember important dates. For example, tax accountants know when the tax seasons start and end. The dates help them prepare for the seasons when accountants earn most of their incomes.

Payroll and staff accountants know when pay periods start and end. Forensic accountants know when their projects start and end.

Important dates allow professionals to organize their work. By knowing due dates, professionals can see how much time they have to complete project milestones.

Then, freelancers can determine if they have enough time or must adjust their schedules and expectations; procrastinating or waiting until the last moment to bring up timeline concerns is never a good idea.

Develop Accounting Processes

The accounting professional has tried and true practices since its inception. Plus, the math doesn’t evolve, and accountants can bankrupt organizations by using too much creativity with established procedures.

However, professionals can still develop personal accounting processes in their approach to their work.

For example, complete milestones weekly or take breaks after completing specific tasks.

Adopt Technology

Finally, adopt the technology. In 2023, technology has not replaced human accountants. Instead, it’s one of the fields where human productivity has increased. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the profession will see a 6% increase in job opportunities through 2031 – that’s great news for employees and independent contractors.

In some ways, productivity software received wide adoption among accounting professionals, boosting its credibility. 

The software helps freelancers boost their productivity, output, and accuracy. After all, after entering numbers into the software, professionals must double-check their work.

However, the software keeps accountants organize themselves and avoid unnecessary headaches. Plus, it can improve the professional’s skills since auditing one’s own work is a task in itself that leads to great habits. 


All career paths incur some amount of stress. It increases for freelancers and especially for freelance accountants. Reduce unnecessary stress by establishing processes and filing systems. Then, remember to adopt the technology.