How to Start an Accounting Firm in 3 Steps

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash
3 years ago

There comes a time when certain professionals in their trade reach a point in their career in which being the employee is no longer rewarding. Usually, their expertise has grown so much that starting a business of their own is now a workable option. One of the most common trades whereby specialists in their field can viably go from employed to running their own firm is accounting. Accountants tend to have plenty of flexibility with the clients they choose to work with, the fields of the profession they specialise in, and where to pick up accountancy work.

In this guide, we will look at some steps involved in starting an accounting firm so you can successfully work towards building your very own accountancy firm and brand.

Choose a company name and start a website

The days of physical brochures and face-to-face sales tactics are largely in the past. Companies looking to hire the accountancy service your new business will offer generally do so off the back of a few key factors. One of them is the ability to connect with your firm online.

In today’s modern business world, needless to say, your website is 99.9% of the time going to be the first place those in charge of outsourcing accounting will seek more information about your company. Accordingly, that means you need to set up a website.

You can decide on the name of your company and set up your website before you officially register your company, and even before you leave your current employment. In fact, setting up your website as the first step in the process of becoming your own boss will help you decide your company name. This is because your domain name should be the same as your company name.

What is a domain? A domain name is the address of the website you enter into an internet search engine. If the name you want to call your company is already taken, you may want to change your company name to avoid any clashes. Once you have established your business name and domain name, the next step is to decide on hosting, which is the server that will store your website. And yes, you’ve guessed it, the final step in this process is deciding on a website design, and then its content, such as your qualifications, portfolio, and services that reflect your areas of expertise.

Decide the location(s) you want your accountancy business to operate

One of the most cost-effective ways to begin an accountancy firm is by setting up at home. To state the obvious, this avoids office rent, office furniture purchase and rent, insurances, and a list of other nuisances that go with office-based businesses.

  • Working from home: The only overheads you will have to pay include your electricity, home office furniture, accountancy software, and PC/laptop. Now, in essence, you are effectively a freelance accountant with a website and a registered business.
  • Working from shared/service offices: A serviced office means that you cannot brand the workspace. But it does have its benefits. It is an affordable solution. You can choose to rent a desk only on days you need it. There are plenty of shared offices located in busy business districts easily accessible for clients that want to meet face-to-face, and most shared offices come with meeting areas in case you need to host a meeting.
  • Outsource into offices: You can also offer your services as a part-time accountant for smaller firms. You are still in effect a freelancer, but from time to time you work onsite at the client’s facility. This often means setting up in one of your client’s meeting rooms for the day, so that will require the additional expense of a laptop (if you are using a PC at home).
  • Open an office: This is the costliest option. However, if the idea is to attract walk in traffic from local businesses, freelance workers such as electricians, builders, and landscapers in a local area with cheap office rent or if you want to wow big clients in a business district, then an office may be the best option for your business plan/idea.

Choose a form of accounting to specialise in

You may be a jack of all trades in the field of accounting and feel you can offer an all-round set of services. For small businesses, requiring someone with a broad knowledge of multiple accountancy practices, this is usually the case. The idea of outsourcing their accounts is to avoid hiring a full time or part-time accountant that works in the office.

On the other hand, your job as an employee may specialise in a particular field of accounting like payroll, infrastructure development financing, IPO issuance, auditing, etc… When you start your new business, you should focus on the area of accounting you are an expert in. Yes, this does limit your scope as far as pulling in clients is concerned, as specialising tends to mean targeting bigger companies that may themselves prefer to go with a more established accountancy firm. Yet, landing specialists contracts tends to bring in big bucks as you can charge higher rates.

Now You Have Your First 3 Steps to Starting an Accounting Firm

In this guide, we mostly touched on the subjects of business name, location, and services. If you are an accountant and reading this, then you already know there are many more steps to getting not just an accountancy firm off the ground, but any business. Rather than tell you the obvious regarding capital and finances, we decided to take you down a different path. To expand on this, we suggest reading up on SWOT, PESTLE, and the marketing mix including the 4Ps as well as 16Ps of marketing to help you decide on your company name Vs domain name, services offered, and the location you operate from.

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