Working as a Certified Public Accountant can be an excellent career option, giving you the chance to build your own client base for long-term success. Once you go through the steps to complete your education and obtain your CPA license, you can start working toward building up your business. Whether you intend to operate as a sole proprietor or wish to create a firm with several other accountants, one of the main goals should be to find and acquire loyal clients.
Here are some important first steps that can help you build up a successful CPA firm.
1. Choose a Business Model.
One of the first things to do is decide how you want to break into the CPA industry. If you have a strong entrepreneurial drive, you may want to start from scratch and build your business from the ground up. You may even choose to use your CPA license for part-time “side gigs” if you aren’t ready to leave your current job. If you prefer to be a member of a team, consider creating a partnership with one or more other CPAs who have professional goals that are similar to yours.
Depending on the opportunities in your local area, you may also consider joining an existing CPA firm or even buying a successful practice.
2. Create a Comprehensive Plan.
Once you have chosen a business strategy, it’s time to make plans. Developing a business plan is a key step, especially if you are starting a company by yourself. A good business plan should include both overall goals and small details. Start by determining what your business goals are: financial targets, client numbers, and growth milestones, for example.
You should also create a list of all the services you plan to offer and figure out who your target audience is, such as individuals or small business owners. It is also a good idea to decide on a legal structure for your business and figure out how much capital you need to obtain.
3. Assess Your Personal Finances.
Starting a business requires some level of financial investment. The exact amount of funding you need will depend on your business structure, your startup costs, and the geographical location where you will be working.
Make a list of all the expenses you can think of and compare it to your existing capital. You may need to find an additional source of funding, such as a small business loan or a group of investors.
4. Get an Office.
If you plan to join an existing firm or buy a functioning accounting practice, you will probably already have a physical office. If you are starting your own practice, however, you need to figure out where you want to work. If you plan to function as a sole proprietor, you could work out of your home. However, you may still want to invest in a professional office or workspace in which to meet clients. If you are going into business with partners, you may want to rent office space in a commercial building.
5. Develop a Marketing Strategy.
Having an effective marketing strategy is essential if you want to reach your target audience and build up a clientele. The type of advertising strategy you create may depend on your physical location, your target audience, and your budget. For example, if you are marketing to a younger demographic, you may want to focus on digital marketing methods that utilize social media and online content. Other marketing strategies, such as localized SEO, print advertising, and referral campaigns, may be best for your business goals.
6. Join a Professional Organization.
Even if you want to build your own business without partners, it is important to engage with other professionals in your industry. Joining a professional organization, such as the United CPA Association, can provide numerous benefits. You can network and develop professional contacts. Many organizations also restrict membership to professionals who meet certain requirements. Obtaining a membership allows you to showcase your success to potential clients. Many people prefer to hire professionals who can show such credentials, so joining an organization may help you land clients in a competitive marketplace.
Once you are licensed to practice as a CPA, you need to set up a business model that will meet your professional goals. Developing a marketing plan, finding an office, and joining a professional organization are all key steps to success.