With their education, training, and experience, accountants are particularly suitable for running a business. So naturally, many choose to open up an accounting firm independently. Many accountants make that choice because they have an aptitude for leadership and want to work for themselves. However, if you are considering opening your own business, you should understand that it’s not as simple as you think.
Your success will only partly depend on how good you are as an accountant. It will also depend on how much work you put in and the steps you take to set up your firm for success. Failure to do all the right things could leave your business vulnerable to failure. So here is a quick guide on launching an accounting firm so that you hit the ground running and never look back.
Decide What Services You Want to Provide
There are several types of services that accountants can provide. You can offer a range of financial services, such as auditing, bookkeeping, tax preparation, and payroll, as just a few examples. You may also want to be a freelance consultant and work with several different individuals, organizations, or entrepreneurs. The world is your oyster. Once you know what you want to do, you can move forward with your business.
You will need to create effective branding for your business. Often this starts with a catchy name that potential clients will remember. It should evoke an impression of what you provide. Remember, your business name will appear on every piece of marketing that you produce, and unlike your logo or colors, you can’t change the name. Make sure that you think it’s perfect for you. Search to check if any other businesses have the same name. If they do, you will have to return to the drawing board to avoid confusion and a potential lawsuit.
Every business needs insurance. You might think that since you are working from your home and aren’t going to come into physical contact with any clients, it’s unnecessary. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Accountants are particularly at risk of getting sued if something they do results in a loss for a client. The client could claim to recoup those losses from you. You can get protection from this through errors and omissions coverage. How e&o insurance can help you by ensuring you aren’t on the hook for the costs related to such a claim, including any judgments made against you.
You should also have insurance to protect your property and workers’ compensation if you have employees. Talk to your provider to ensure that you are fully covered. Even one negative incident can have a financial fallout that could ruin your business.
Build Your Team
When you start out, it may just be you making all the decisions and doing all the work for your business. At some point, you will probably need people behind you to help ease the load. You can start with someone to handle simple but time-consuming tasks. This could be an administrator who sorts your emails, answers correspondence, sets your schedule, and handles invoicing and bill payments.
Your team doesn’t have to be direct employees, either. It can be made up of outsourcers as well. Outsourcing can save you time since you won’t have to recruit someone and money since you will only pay for their work and no other time. In addition, having additional members will make your business more resilient and allow it to grow and scale.
Before you can run, you need to walk. That means finding a good first client to get yourself started. You can do this in many ways, but networking is often your best option. For example, you can reach out to contacts you’ve built in your previous accounting career or attend events where professionals and representatives of businesses are present, such as the Chamber of Commerce. Having that first client will allow you to figure out how you want to run your business and conduct your day-to-day operations. Once you’ve got that first client under your belt, you can move on to bigger things.
Once you have your branding and know what you want to do and how you will do it, you can start marketing more broadly. You should try to reach as many people as possible for as little investment as possible. One of the best ways to do this is with targeted social media marketing. You can make it so that your advertisements are seen on the feeds of people who are more likely to need your types of services. You will pay less and reach fewer people than mass advertising, but you will reach people who are more likely to pay for your work.
If you work with local companies and individuals, you can take advantage of local search engine optimization (SEO). This is the process of setting up your website to appear on search engine rankings for searches related to your business in your municipality. As a result, you will get more organic traffic consisting of people who are already looking for services like yours.
You might have dreams of pulling in the big bucks right away, but that’s not what happens for most businesses. Instead, you will need to build up your reputation and accept slow and steady growth. Your clients will recommend you if you provide good service, and your list will get bigger and bigger until you know you have to scale up your operations. So don’t get discouraged, and be happy to see regular growth, even if it’s not at your envisioned rate. As they say, patience is a virtue.
Running an accounting firm is a great choice for a financial professional. Accounting firms can be very profitable since those types of services are in great demand and can command big bucks. Make sure that your firm is set up for success by taking all the necessary steps to launch it properly.