If you are thinking of starting an accounting business then this article is for you.
You may be looking for more money, more control or more freedom to choose when and where you work. You may want to escape the 9-5, an arduous commute or an overbearing boss!
You may want more variety in your work if you currently work for a single employer or you may be unable to find a job at present due to the economic environment.
If any of these apply to you, starting your own bookkeeping or accounting business may be your best option. Having your own business will allow you to:
• Choose the days and hours you work
• Choose who to work for
• Decide which industry types you wish to have as clients
• Choose the type(s) of work you undertake
• Command a better hourly rate than a “Job” pays you
It can be worthwhile focusing on a specific industry type and becoming an expert in that field or a particular type of business set up, such as self employed builders or shopkeepers. This will help to narrow your target market in order to focus your marketing skills and messages when you are looking for new clients.
The type of work you wish to undertake will of course depend on the strengths and weaknesses of your current skill sets, but don’t think that if you lack a particular skill (e.g. Payroll) that you cannot start your own business. You could either learn the required skill or simply outsource that part of your business to another person or business, leaving you to concentrate on what you are best at.
Ideally, you should go for work which will be regular. By this I mean weekly or monthly, as opposed to annually. This will generate regular revenues which your business will require. What I am suggesting here is that you try to avoid a large percentage of your work being annual returns for small businesses as you will have peaks and troughs in not only your workload but your income too.
Ideally, you will have access to a quiet space at home or elsewhere in which to work. Be prepared for the paperwork storage requirements that having numerous clients will bring. Digital systems can overcome a large proportion of this or simply insist on returning all paperwork to your clients for them to store.
You will need to register your business and ensure you are complying with local laws, rules and regulations. This varies from country to county, state to state and county to county but we are in the information age and most relevant information can be found on the internet. The government and revenue websites can be most useful and these days they often have telephone help-lines too. If you are still unsure of anything, you should seek advice from a local business centre or maybe even a solicitor.
You will need to chose a business name, have your communication systems set up (phone, fax, email, etc) and have some business cards made. Headed paper should be used though you can design this yourself using readily available software and keep it stored on your computer for easy access.
Now you need to find clients. Here are a number of methods to use:
• Have a Search Engine Optimised website
• Add your business to as many local business directories and listings as possible. Most of these have a free option, though they may not advertise this!
• Add your business to Google Places. You will need a Google account to do this.
• Attend Networking events and breakfasts.
• Join any local business associations or groups
• Create a mailshot specific to your target client type. Concentrate on the features, benefits and advantages to them of using your services
• Ask your friends, contacts and clients for referrals
You are now ready to roll! You may wish to learn some sales and marketing skills as these are paramount for any business. There is no pressure selling in this industry but learning how to present your business to potential clients and learning how to get them to warm to you using sales skills will give you an advantage over your competitors.
I wish you every success.
The Author has 15 years experience in the accounting industry