ACCA Qualified working in industry - How do i set up in practice | AccountingWEB

ACCA Qualified working in industry - How do i set up in practice


I qualified with ACCA at the start of 2009 and was looking at setting up my own business this year but i am not sure where to start???, I earn a decent salary and have recently purchased my first house and worry about the risk. I was looking at setting up a company to produce accounts and to also operate as an excel specialist with the skills i have.


Can anyone offer any advice of where i start?

Thankyou for your time.



scalloway's picture

Practicing Certifcate

scalloway | | Permalink

If you plan to keep up your ACCA membership you'll need a Practicing Certifcate first.


neutru | | Permalink

hi there

check if you need a practising certificate from the ACCA. if u don't have one they will only let you do up to trial balance. 

jeremykitchin's picture

How do i set up in practice

jeremykitchin | | Permalink

You face a number of problems:

a) as others have mentioned, if you wish to trade as an ACCA you must have a practising certificate - but half of all firms of accountants are non-CCAB.  Note: CCAB-qualified accountants are full members of any of the six UK accountancy bodies formed by royal charter, which are themselves members of theConsultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies.

b) in the current climate, with no previous experience of running your own practice, it is notoriously difficult to raise external funding to buy goodwill (either a practice or just a block of fees) 

c) even if you had access to the funds, it is unlikely a Vendor would sell to you as he could envisage a hefty claim under the claw back clause in any Sale Agreement (the shortfall would come out of his pocket)

d) were you to start from scratch with no clients you could face a very difficult period, say, 5 years before you could hope to match your 'recently qualified' earnings in industry/commerce.  In all probability you would have to 'low ball' to attract clients from other practices, but then you are stuck with clients who are only after a cheap service so you would have to work incredibly long hours to earn an acceptable income and would not have the profits to invest in lower level staff who could service those clients - catch 22.

e) my advice is to join a carefully chosen practice where the Principal(s) are after succession in a few years time.  Visit our website for more detailed information at (serving the profession since 1973) 

Be positive and have focus and dedication

Capitax Financial | | Permalink

I am sorry to say but the advise given by jeremykitchin is very negative and not encouraging at all to young accountants, to start with. I would say you will face a number of opportunities and good challenges to start with.  Do not think about problems.  Have dedication and focus and be sure of what you want to do and put your mind to it.  Hope this small piece of advise is helpful wishing you all the best.  have a blessed day.


I am in a the same boat

school63 | | Permalink

I am setting a practice after years of working in industry. Although I am ACCA qualified, i got my practicing certificate from AAT.

I working with a mentor right now, who has a lot of experience in practice development.  It is costing me, but so far I think it is worth it. Let me know if you need his contact

I am now putting an infrastructure in place, and achieving small goals bit by bit.

I am holding on to my Job for now, working 4 days a week, and using up all the other hours to develop the practice. As the practice grows i will buy back time from the job.

Do not despair, ultimately it depends on you, and your ability to network and grow your business.

look through  some of the discussion on this website and you will be encouraged by where and how people started.

Yes you can. good luck



starting up in practice

help4u | | Permalink

Yes agree with school63.Have a look at, At least they don't charge a fortune to mentor. It is a network of accountants who share skills, expertise and resources. They also advertise on the web for free.

Good luck with your new venture but do remember you will have to work extremely hard in the first few years but believe me it will pay off!


jbbuck21's picture


jbbuck21 | | Permalink

Hi All,


I would just like to say a big thankyou to everyone for the great advice some positive and some negative, I will take account of everything and decide on my future in the coming months, I would appreciate any contacts for help getting started like mentors.


It is the first time I have used this site and have to say it has helped me massively.


Thanks again.



try ICPA

school63 | | Permalink

I actually got a good contact yesterday. They are called ICPA, they support accountants in practice with resources and other things.

Here is the link . I am thinking of joining them myself.

good luck


ACCA again

neutru | | Permalink

no matter what other practising certificates you have from other bodies, you cannot even call yourself accountant if you want to go in practice by yourself without their precious practising certificate.

you should try and sort that out as it is not worth their disciplinary proceedings.

you would think that after all the hard work that the exams have been you would be able to to a plumber's tax return, but no, ACCA won't let you 

Practising cert

tltodman | | Permalink

Not sure if ACCA is same as ICAEW but with ICAEW if you practise through a Ltd co that you are not a director of you do not need a PC.  My husband & I joint own a co that he worked through (electrical designer). Several years later when I started working for myself I became an employee, not a director, and can offer accountancy services without a PC.  I obviously have PII for my work but as I am not a principal, and even though my husband, the director, cannot and does not control nor supervise my work I do not need a PC.

My CPD is up to date and have the relevant experience (been doing it for over 10 years so should have) but all the PC adds in my situation is an expense.  Also means that I don't have to have PII from an (expensive) select group of providers.

The only tiny drawback is unlike a director, as employee you have to be paid minimum wage (but certainly no more).

Just thought I'd add it to the pot...


Add comment
Log in or register to post comments
Group: Start up practice group
A place to discuss all aspects of starting up your own accountancy practice