Starting an independent accounting firm allows you to control your future and be your own boss. Many experienced accountants will leave a corporate role or public accounting position and develop a book of business they can manage on their own. In fact just a few years ago the Wall Street Journal reported that three quarters of the independent accounting firms in the US are one person shops.
Fields such as tax accounting are particularly suited to this type of work as you can handle both personal and corporate clients with a relatively small staff. In these fields, there are a clear set of guidelines to use and clients often can’t afford to have a large firm do their accounts. Think of all the small businesses across the country that need their taxes done – every one of them is a potential customer. You can also consider other fields, such as more management consulting type work, where you help accountants in a big business do special projects. Almost every area of accounting has the ability to be turned into your own business once you have some experience, so you’ll never run out of options.
Once established, independent accountants enjoy the flexibility of picking what sort of clients they will work with and the type of work that fits their schedule. Throw in reaping the financial benefits of owning an independent accounting firm and it isn’t such a bad lifestyle!
Being an independent accountant isn’t all sunshine and rainbows though. It takes hard work to develop the trust of a client base and it’s difficult not having the safety of a large corporation behind you. It is almost standard that an independent broker will have a CPA and some level of experience to market to prospective clients. Starting your own independent accounting firm requires a high level of discipline and commitment, so think long and hard before heading out on your own.
For those of you thinking of taking this path there is a great article on the top pitfalls of starting your own firm and the American Institute of CPA’s has a great provides a helpful checklist for getting started.