Six mistakes to avoid when starting out
Missouri CPA Bert Doerhoff offers some reminders based on his experiences starting up on his own.
Owning your own accounting firm can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but before you make the jump there are six mistakes that can scupper your chances. Read on to find out what they are and how to avoid them.
Mistake 1 - Fail to market yourself If you’re working for a large accounting firm and are itching to go solo, remember that you will not be guaranteed a similar client base when you start out.
Mistake 2 - Cut corners when preparing clients' taxes Accountants need to set an honorable example for their clients, particularly when dealing with tax affairs. When you hold yourself to high standards, your customers will do the same.
Mistake 3 - Do it for the wrong reasons Dun & Bradstreet found that 27% of people go into business because they're tired of working for others. This is an acceptable reason, but be sure that you aren't simply bitter toward an old boss or tired of your nine-to-five schedule. Running your own firm comes with challenges that shouldn't be overlooked.
Mistake 4 - Not selecting a target When you start your own firm, you need to decide what type of clients you want. Many accountants offer all of their specialities and services to anyone who will listen. By all means make clients aware of all your skills, but be sure to develop a speciality or set of strengths.
Mistake 5 - Spurn the help of other advisers Accountants need their own set of advisers. Recruit advisers who can help steer your business in the right direction. Acknowledge areas where you are strong, and areas where you could use professional guidance - then seek out those resources.
Mistake 6 - Not hiring the right team Employees are integral to the success or failure of your firm. They should share your goals and commitment to hard work and believe in the future of your firm. Be picky and look at candidates' CVs, personalities, clothing, communication skills and so on.
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About the author
Bert Doerhoff is a CPA who specialises in small business accounting and wealth management. He started his accounting firm Accubiz in Jefferson City, Missouri in 1978. Accubiz was chosen for the first-ever National Client Service Accounting Firm of the Year Award by the National Association of Small Business Accountants.