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Starting own practice

Starting own practice.

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Hi. I'm new to This and seen that there have been lots of posts previously about starting own practice but I wanted to tailor this and hope you can help (and not think it's an odd question) 

I have always wanted to set up my own business (in accordance with ACCA regulations and almost have PC signed off) I have 5 years post qual (I previously worked in a practice and now in industry) 

Can I please ask what everyone found their biggest problems / issues when they set up on their own? Any advice on what / what not to do? Sorry if this is sounding like business advice as I know it's not that kind of site but I was confused as to the best place to start. 


thank you. 

Replies (15)

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08th May 2021 18:19

Hi Lucie. A big plus would be to get your clients organised in terms of providing what information you need, and in good time. I have found many clients are willing to do their bit to help, though obviously not all.

Don't be available to clients 24/7, that will come back to haunt you.

Have a work mobile in addition to your personal one.

Finally, don't be cheap! That's a mugs game.

Good luck Lucie, it will be hard work but ultimately worth it.

Thanks (5)
By Paul Crowley
08th May 2021 21:03

It all depends whether the intension is a full time practice or a side line.
Moving to industry suggests this was not your initial plan.
Every client will have their unique peculiarities

Thanks (0)
By Ranse
08th May 2021 21:09

Taking the first few steps can be daunting , make sure you decide on your market , who your customers are and above all how to attract your ideal clients. these can be challenging, so make sure you have at a minimum a basic marketing plan. remember you will be your own boss so if you don't make money , there is no bread at home

Thanks (0)
paddle steamer
08th May 2021 21:13

Setting up all the proforma engagement letters etc was my biggest PIA, later it was finding space for all the paper I accumulated(but that is likely because I am of an age that trusts paper and does not trust everything in the ether.)

My biggest long term issue was keeping up to date, you either narrow your offering to areas you understand ( for instance I never acted for contractors) and I also on price avoided all single entry accounts-lists of transactions with no matching business bank account nor balance sheets. There is an awful lot of knowledge for one person to keep up to date, this seems to be growing, so narrowing your offering saves a lot of non billable hours learning.

Irrespective of how few clients you start with software covering tax compliance and accounts production is a must, I started as I intended to continue rather than scrambled to adopt software later- sort it whilst you are quiet in the early days.

Thanks (0)
By James Green
08th May 2021 23:22

Learn to sell, because your biggest issue - and your real job - is getting clients when you set up on your own.

Thanks (3)
By Lucie123
09th May 2021 08:57

Thank you all. Really appreciate your replies.

Thanks (1)
blue sheep
By Nigel Henshaw
09th May 2021 09:39

Might seem obvious but everything depends on your clients, and people buy services from people.
So the first question is do you have the ability and personality to sell to a potential client, not the hard sell, but are you able to talk to a client at their level, to listen and understand their business and then to be able to explain things in terms they can understand.
There are now thousands of "accountants" out there, working from home, offering rock bottom prices and a good service, so why would a client choose you? - without a referral network there are three possible answers to that - either you offer something no one else does (unlikely), you are cheaper than everyone else (unlikely) or they like you

Thanks (1)
By 1 2
09th May 2021 09:42

The biggest problem at the start is getting clients. All the technical/regulatory stuff is largely irrelevant if you have no clients. You won't have an existing base who'll recommend you to their friends/colleagues, nor a well known firm (be that locally or nationally in your niche). You're therefore going to have to market your business well and likely also get out there selling yourself.

Other problems will follow if/when you succeed with the above(!) Good luck with it!

Thanks (1)
By Calculatorboy
09th May 2021 16:48

Think like a salesman... and don't underestimate your worth

Thanks (0)
By Slim
10th May 2021 10:22

Completely agree with previous posters, you need to get good at marketing and sales especially so if you don’t have contacts.

Don’t underestimate how long it will take to build up a practice and if you price yourself too low you will be a busy fool.

It will help to have savings you can use to get the business up and running, also don’t expect to be earning the salary you could whilst employed for a few years.

Thanks (0)
By jon_griffey
10th May 2021 10:26

The first thing I learned that it is more important to be a good salesman than a good accountant (doesn't matter how technically good you are if you have no punters). Also get your systems operating how you want them from the start - it can be difficult to change your ways later on, very much more difficult with staff. If I had to start again, I would get everything paperless.

Thanks (0)
Red Leader
By Red Leader
10th May 2021 11:19

Agreed. Getting clients. Held me back for a few years until I found a way.

Thanks (0)
Good looking older guy with the biggest smile.  The 15 Minute Guy
By Ashley Leeds
10th May 2021 15:13

Great Question Lucie

I too have just set up, albeit not an accounting practice, so there are many things to worry about and I'm in the middle of it all right now, so I know how you could be feeling.

You need to talk to as many people as possible and brush up on your selling skills. It also helps if you can define who your perfect client is and then make sure that you target them specifically.

Get yourself on social media. Everyone will have an opinion about the best one, but go where your clients will be.

There are loads of forums and groups for accountants so get on those platforms and ask questions. The accounting profession is a lovely one and everyone is so helpful

Good luck.

It's the best thing I've ever done!!

Thanks (1)
By Guilford Accounting
11th May 2021 10:13

Take a look at where there are programmes for people starting up and those who want to grow. The same programmes are available for accountants and well as bookkeepers who want to start up.

Thanks (0)
By Swimmingagainstthe Tide
11th May 2021 11:01

To generate new clients it is easiest when you already have clients to recommend you. When you start from nothing this is a problem so it is definitely worth looking to see if you can buy a small block of local fees to get you going. The investment is well worth it and a bank loan shouldn't be too hard to get if needed.

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