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Does an Accountant need an office?

Thinking of making the move back home

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Hi

I'm an accountant that has had his own accountancy practice for close on ten years. The first couple of these I worked at home before I got an office in the town centre where I have been since.

When I got my office my annual turnover was around £35k and since taking on the office it has risen to an expected turnover of £75k in the next 12 months. This is a bit of a struggle for me to do myself but I do not have the space in the office I rent to take on an additional member of staff as we rent a room from a firm of solicitors. There are other issues with the solicitors where we rent in that there are no spaces for my clients to park (or sometimes even me) and that there is a greater number of their staff there which can provide more of a disturbance than had done previously.

My thoughts are if I cannot expand in my current office and as at present there is no suitable alternative for an office that I take my business back home. A number of my competitors in the area work from home and my thought was to do the same.

I'm just looking for feedback of those who work or worked at home and of course any advice that anyone canoffer would be much appreciated. I did find two old threads on the subject but one the majority said working at home is great and the other was that an office is best which left me more confused!

Thanks in advance.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
11th May 2016 17:21

So many variables !! I love working at home but the downside is that I could do with another room to just store stuff. The other issue is I'm only a few years from retiring so I'm not really looking to build an empire. I cheerfully turn away work if it looks like trouble. I told a chap last week that I didn't want to deal with his "umbrella" self assessment return; on the other hand, took on a much bigger job this morning from a bloke I acted for fifteen years ago because it looks a lot more straightforward. There's a challenge/trouble balance which is a fine line......

Where are you in your career ? Are you looking to expand ? Or what ?

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By Jakarmi
11th May 2016 17:50

I'm late thirties so quite a few years left for me in the game and I'd guess one concern would be could I attract the new clients whilst working from home to level up with people finishing in business.

Not really looking to expand. Initially, I wanted to do this but I see quite a few other businesses "expand" by taking on staff/premises and ending up with quite a bit lower profit than they had working for themselves.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
11th May 2016 18:01

Some people like informality (plus), some will see it as unprofessional (minus). It's just how it is.

The bloke I took on today started a business with a few others, using me as accountant, I passed on the baton when they started getting too big for me, they went on to turn over £73m at their peak, he sold out and came back to me now he has something more modest. Told me I was the only accountant who spoke to him in words he understood. Some will like you, some won't. You'll never change that.

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Tornado
By Tornado
12th May 2016 10:04

I do not think there is single answer here as everyone has different circumstances and aspirations, but I do bear the cost of a separate office, about half an hour drive from home, as it creates a distinct separation from work and home life. Although I do generally work long hours, when I lock up the office at night, walk to my car and drive home through the beautiful countryside, by the time I get home I have forgotten all about work.

Half of my office premises is taken up with storage space, but there is still plenty of room for day to day working in comfort.

I am not too sure about the 'Prestige' of posh offices when compared to working at home, but the key point is that if your clients are not bothered by it, then you do not need to be either. Some of my biggest earners are informal in their approach to life and whilst they expect a professional service, they do not necessarily expect a suited accountant in expensive premises to provide it, indeed some will not appreciate the show of prestige at all.

If you plan to work from home as a definite choice then you can promote your business in this way and will be able to attract clients that like the way you do business.

I have not formally advertised my business for many years and gain new clients purely on recommendation. Indeed, I still have to turn away prospective new clients as I am at my optimum capacity, and have been for a very long time.

If you can handle the distractions associated with working from home then by all means develop your business on this concept. As with all businesses, it is the quality of service that you provide to your clients that is the key factor of success and if you aim to retain clients, as I do, then you could well end up with families as clients who have been with you for over 40 years.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
12th May 2016 16:07

A key issue is - have you got room to work and store all the stuff you need to store at home? One thing I do miss is a separate room for meetings.

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