How to Start an Accounting Firm

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How to Start an Accounting Firm. Starting an accounting firm makes good sense. Those devoted to the field of accounting have the luxury of knowing that as long as there is business, they will be in business. With a seemingly unlimited demand, starting an accounting firm makes for a relatively low-risk venture with plenty of reward.

Prepare to Open an Accounting Firm

Look into purchasing an existing firm from an established accountant. The client list and recognizable name make this option attractive if the cost of purchasing the firm is not too prohibitive.

Find a partner who also practices accounting. Sharing expenses makes for an attractive start up situation, but sharing revenue may not be as exciting.

Research methods of getting enough money for start-up, whether through loans or investors.

Build Your Accounting Firm

Come up with an idea for an accounting firm by identifying your competitive advantage given a particular market. Leverage your unique skills, an innovative idea for conducting business or a favorable market condition to validate your decision to start a company.

Write up a business plan for your accounting firm. Before you approach a creditor about a business loan, you need to have a business plan. The process will clarify your thinking as well. You establish your marketing strategy as well as legal and financial structures through the process.

Find funding in order to bridge an expected 6-month gap between starting a firm and receiving revenue. Keep in mind any changes in overhead due to the purchase of business equipment and office space. Raise funds by taking on debt or selling equity in your firm. Lawyers and accountants expedite this process.

Staff your accounting firm. Many accountants start out with temporary help, then invest in full-time employees. Posting ads in newspapers or job sites can do the trick, but personal referrals stand the best chance of going the distance.

Begin your marketing efforts. Some accountants advertise in phone books, over the radio and even on local television. Others prefer to network with individuals who will likely need accountants, such as lawyers.

Hire an attorney to advise you on establishing your firm as a legal business entity.


Check local, state and county requirements for certification and training required for practicing accounting in a professional capacity.

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