What Should I Know Before Opening My Own Accounting Practice?

If your ultimate goal is not only to be an accountant, but to run your own accounting firm, there are plenty of things you need to know before you get started. Some things may seem obvious, like the mathematical and technical accounting knowledge that you can learn in college and through professional experience at internships and entry-level accounting jobs. Then there are the “soft skills” that are beneficial for accountants to develop, like communication and organizational skills. Even when you have the college degree, professional credentials, experience and abilities, there are still additional things you need when you embark on the journey of entrepreneurship.

Planning Your Business

Knowing that you want to be the boss isn’t the same as having a concrete business plan. In a small accounting firm, as in all businesses, having a defined business plan is essential. Well-written business plans include several components, according to Accounting Today. Even if you are the only employee in the firm, you should still make sure your business plan includes a description of the company and its services, an executive summary, a summary of how you will manage the firm, strategies for implementing the services you offer, a financial plan and a market and sales analysis.

Writing a business plan is important not only because you need to have an actual document to consult at some point in the future, but also because it forces you to raise and answer important questions now, at the onset. How will you fund your firm? How much money do you need? Having a carefully laid out plan also prevents you from falling into traps like not appealing to the right audience or not having a plan in place for a situation in which you want to add to the services your firm offers or hire additional employees.

Attracting and Keeping Clients

No matter how good you are at preparing financial reports, your accounting firm won’t succeed unless you attract and keep clients. As a business owner, you will need to market your firm and network with clients, professional contacts and anyone else you meet in order to interest clients. Marketing comes in various forms, such as online, in print, and through television or radio broadcast advertisements. To succeed, you will need to determine what strategies make the most sense for your business. Once you have clients, of course, you want to retain them. By developing and growing strong client relationships, you can keep clients loyal to you and give them a reason to refer new clients to you.

There are many perks to being your own boss. You can set your own hours, determine your own salary and benefits and control the direction of your business, from where to establish headquarters to which policies to integrate. However, there are also many challenges to entrepreneurship. To succeed in self-employment, you must plan your business and make your firm known to others through marketing and networking.

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