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Taking the big step

Taking the big step

Hi All,

Thank you for taking the time to read this post.

I just wanted some general advice on the best way to start up my practice. I am about to commence as a sole practitioner.

Key dilemmas include:

What software to use? Taxcalc, Xero or quickbook

Do i need to create my own templates or will the software i use do the necessary work?

What i should be spending on a basic website?

Many thanks,



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05th Dec 2015 13:12

The first step is a doozy!

My advice: make sure you know what you are doing. Your questions seem to indicate that you may not. There are far too many practices being started by people who have not practiced and do not know what it entails.

Taxcalc does something entirely different from Xero and QuickBooks, and if you are in a new practice you generally will not have any say in choice over the latter two. Do you know the difference between them? Taxcalc is a fine choice depending on your needs, but have you identified your needs?

Will the software have templates? It depends which software and what you buy it for. Again, it sounds like you are jumping off a cliff with a blanket and a rucksack, hoping to make a parachute on the way down.

If your idea of being in practice is having a copy of taxcalc and a basic website, then you may not want to leap just yet.

Thanks (3)
05th Dec 2015 14:18

Tim is right

Having to ask very basic questions such as the above shows you are not ready for setting up on your own.

There's plenty of things people need to know about but you can only understand so much without actually being in practice.

It might be better asking what do you think you know? What experience and knowledge do you have?

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05th Dec 2015 15:59

You don't seem to know what the different software does.

Templates for what?

Regarding the website, you can get them done for as little as a hundred pounds, or spend tens of thousands.

I am more interested in what the big step is? It's clear from your post that it shouldn't be into accountancy.

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05th Dec 2015 16:01

I can only agree with the above two posters.

Taxcalc is tax return preparation software.
Xero and Quickbooks are client side bookkeeping packages. Clients will have their own systems, at least when you first take them on, unless you are only catering for new startups, which I wouldn't necessarily advise.

Templates? What on earth do you mean?

Standard letter templates? No, it has taken me years to end up with a full range of perfected letter templates.

Statutory accounts templates? Not the packages you mention. You will need accounts prep software.

Not sure what other templates you could have meant.

What is your marketing strategy? Do you have one?

What is your business model?

As already pointed out, your original question is not typical of someone ready to start practicing on their own account.

Are you coming from industry, and if so, how much practice experience do you have?

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06th Dec 2015 08:49

An easier way...

I've started a practice 2 ways: the first time from scratch, and the second time taking over from a retiring sole practitioner. 

The first way was several times more difficult.  It was also a time when, like you, I didn't really appreciate the intricacies of running a practice, and was simply copying some of the techniques and strategies I'd learned as a manager in other firms.  Result: I ended up with a practice I didn't like.

I'd suggest tracking down a sole practitioner close to retirement and working as his second/senior, with an agreement in place at the beginning for a buy-out in the near future.  While you're doing this, take some other steps:

- research software

- read 'Firm of the Future', 'The E-Myth,' 'The Intentional Accountant', and other good business/accountancy books.  You don't have to agree with everything, or anything.  You just have to be open to thinking differently about things.

- look into icloud technology such as Xero, Spotlight Reporting, Receipt Bank etc.  Again - you don't have to use any of this if you don't want to.  But be open to considering it.

- Join 2020.  Not a high monthly subscription, and you'll get all the CPD you need online.

I sincerely wish you all the best, whatever you decide to do.


Thanks (2)
By Bungo
06th Dec 2015 12:55

Mispost sorry

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