Thinking of going solo? Our new guide will help

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With support from leading tax and practice software providers, AccountingWEB has published a Start up in practice guide to help aspiring sole practitioners take their first steps towards success.

The 17-page PDF is packed with practical tips and hands-on advice for aspiring sole practitioners from Mark Lee, Anne Fairpo and the ICAEW, covering:

  • Are you ready to go solo?
  • The regulatory framework
  • Getting your strategy right from the start
  • Marketing and winning your first clients
  • Choosing the right technology.

We’ve also gone back to the Class of 2009 to seek advice from AccountingWEB members who struck out on their own. Each segment of the Start up in practice guide includes a short introduction, backed with checklists, links to other resources, and comments from Class of 2009 accountants.

The guide was put together with the help of practice “agony uncle” Mark Lee, who was delighted to pass on the assembled advice. He likened starting a practice to starting a family, which ultimately boils down to gut feeling and confidence rather than cold rationality. You’ll know when you are ready.
But like starting a family, he said, “There are plenty of things you can do to make sure you are ready in practice too.”

AccountingWEB’s Start up in practice guide is part of our continuing commitment to support practices of all sizes. Mark Lee and other contributors will contribute articles on the key issues for new firms to our new Start up practice page and we will send quarterly updates to those who download the PDF guide. On-going advice and support are also available in our Start up practice discussion group.

So, if the idea is at the back of your mind, what are you waiting for? Download the Start up in practice guide now!

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Contributions from the editorial team.


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21st May 2012 11:06

Years ago

Accountants would leave school, start articles, work their way up and one day perhaps become a junior or even senior partner. You had the semi-seniors and seniors swiching firms for money and experience, but there wasn't many who would "go solo". Nowadays things are quite different. Many Accountants, under social or financial pressure, will seek to "go it on their own" with some even merging at a later date. To succeed in any venture you have to have a certain personality not just knowledge, and whilst I agree a guideline is a must, it won't teach you how to deal with the "culture shock" of being self-employed.

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21st May 2012 13:24

You're right John...

... although we have indeed addressed that point in the guide as it is so fundamental.


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22nd May 2012 07:36


I think that this can give a introverted view and lacks a wider perspective when it comes to being in business in the big bad World. I always point startups towards the PCG "Guide to Freelancing" and have found it an interesting read. There is also general guidance at the DTi's StartupUK site.

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22nd May 2012 09:08

That may all be very useful too @Thornyissues

One benefit of a specific guide for start-up practices is that it is focused on key issues and challenges that are directly relevant to accountants starting up in practice.  More generic guides will rarely be as useful in isolation.

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22nd May 2012 09:25

Too many

guides could lead to overkill.

Starting your own business should be a really exciting venture, but unfortunately red tape including stupid EU rules that should never have been allowed to get to the statute books can dampen that enthusiasm. Certainly to be an Accountant these days is not for the faint hearted.

There is also a lot to be said for the just "go for it" attitude and learn by your mistakes, although these days they could be costly.

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By NWilson
03rd Oct 2012 15:15

It does all seem daunting

I am working towards a portfolio career and have many friends and contacts who try to suggest ways I could get small pieces of work assuming that, as an accountant, it's just a question of offering services, performing work and being paid - if only it was so simple.  The more I read the more risky and daunting it all seems....  I'm inclined to focusing on non accounting work unless I can find interim contracts which seems a potential waste of one of my more marketable skills.

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