Do start-up practitioners want to work alone?

Mark Lee shares the story of ‘Leonard’ who has realised his start-up practice needs a partner. What about you?

When you started up in practice what options did you consider? And have you reconsidered the choice you made since starting up by yourself?

I was talking to an old friend recently and he was telling me about the accountancy practice he had started a few years back. Leonard (not his real name) is a sole practitioner and is supported by a couple of contractors. One is largely bookkeeping and accounts-focused.  The other looks after clients’ tax affairs.

Leonard had called me because he is trying to decide how to move the practice forward. In fact his choices now are the same as when he started. And like most new practices he didn’t really think through his options at the outset...

Register with AccountingWEB for free to read the rest of the article, which includes:

  • The traditional approach
  • Starting as partnership
  • Business support
  • The options
  • A good mix of skills
  • Interviews
  • Lessons

Continued...

» Register now

The full article is available to registered AccountingWEB members only. To read the rest of this article you’ll need to login or register.

Registration is FREE and allows you to view all content, ask questions, comment and much more.

Comments
bookmarklee's picture

By the way

bookmarklee | | Permalink

If anyone would like an introduction to 'Leonard' by all means send me a message I can pass on to him. His office is based in Lambeth, SE London.

Mark

Surprised not more comments on this!    1 thanks

Stephen Youngs | | Permalink

I 'did a Lenoard' in 2006, starting on my own, working from home, starting from absolute scratch. Unlike Leonard my focus was a basic compliance service, coming from an industry background not practice that was enough of a challenge!

I didn't want to work alone, and still don't, but have found it impossible to find someone prepared to join on the same basis as me (if you earn the fee you can keep it, less costs). I even advertised for a partner on Linked-In, just one contact that came to nothing. It would be different if I was offering a salary of course, but I just can't do that.

With hindsight I probably should have swallowed my pride, given up a fair part of my independence (and fees), and gone the franchise route. At least that avoids isolation, and reduces the number of wheels you have to re-invent as you at least get a template business to operate and have a workable pricing model.

For me, the worst part has been the lack of support, or even interest, from the Association. There is no mentoring scheme, no training for those making the switch from industry to practice, no member's group for those who have done it to support those thinking of it, Nothing. You just pay hundreds of pounds a year for a certificate and a magazine, 95% of which is irrelevant to the work I do. The technical helpline doesn't even ask who you are when you call, makes no record of the conversation, and there is no written confirmation of the advice given. That doesn't give any encouragement to rely on it.

Getting back to your question Mark, no, start-up practitioners really don't want to work on their own, but there seldom seems to be an alternative unless you are lucky enough to break away from an established practice and take someone with you.

Do start-up practitioners want to work alone?    2 thanks

ver1tate | | Permalink

I started on my own 13 years ago after being made redundant as accountant with a large retail firm. Shortly after joining it I saw the writing on the wall, but neither the FD or MD would listen to my advice. As I was nearing 50, I knew no other firm would employ me despite my experience due to ageism, but I still tried for positions, and stuck where I was,

When the inevitable day came, I knew that at my age I would be considered too old for employment, so started self employment

The beginning was very hard but the rapid increase in clients by word of mouth was almost overwhelming. I was forced to use the services of a self employed book keeper, but I soon discovered it was taking longer to correct her mistakes than do the work myself.

Working alone has suited me, but if I had started S/E long before I did, I would probably have sought a sub contractor to take some of the strain off me. The recession, and number of those employed but working for the black economy, has lost me several clients, but I have other sources of income now; the state pension.

Introduction to Leonard

Ranilp | | Permalink

Mark,

I would be pleased if you could give me an introduction to Leonard.

I have just set up a practice and am going through the pains of trying to find clients. Would certainly like to have a chat with him and see where it leads.

Thanks.