Opening your own CPA practice is an exciting step. After working for others, being your own boss sounds like a dream, even if it means making some initial sacrifices in terms of your available time and personal cash flow. Those who weather through the start-up phase say it’s one of the most challenging and incredibly rewarding opportunities of their lives!
But before you announce your plans to the world, do a quick self-assessment with the following questions:
- Why do I want to start my own practice?
- Do I have the drive and personality to start and manage a business?
- Does my spouse and family support my decision?
- Do I have the financial means to weather a start-up period?
If everything checks out, start thinking about how to establish your practice. There are several ways to go — each has its own advantages and drawbacks. For example, you can buy an existing practice, open a practice with a partner, or start from scratch. Beyond actually providing accounting services, you will have other financial, legal, and insurance considerations. And while you may be an expert at all-things-financial, you will also want to establish trusted relationships with legal and insurance professionals who can advise and assist you.
One of your first steps is to develop an effective and compelling business plan, which outlines all aspects of your practice. A well-thought-out business plan will help you develop your “pitch” to prospective clients, which is critical, if and when, you seek outside funding for your firm.
While friends and family may be the very first to hire you, you’ll need to develop a dependable and loyal outside client base. Once you’ve established the services you’ll provide, you’ll need to cultivate your clients. This is where your personality, skills, and networking abilities need to shine. Remember that positive word-of-mouth is one of the fastest, most reliable and cost-effective way to reach customers. And good planning, hard work, discipline, self-motivation and creativity will help you grow your practice.