Top Six Pitfalls of Starting Your Own Accounting Firm

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If you've been in the business for a few years, and you've established your position in tax preparation or financial advising, you may be getting the itch to start your own firm. 
Owning your own accounting firm can be an incredibly rewarding experience with an impressive side of perks. However, before you make the jump into starting your own business, there are several key issues to be aware of. I've compiled six common pitfalls that accountants should avoid when starting their own firm. By avoiding these mistakes, your firm should be off to a great and promising start. 

1. Failing to market yourself
Working for a large CPA firm does not guarantee a huge client base once you start your own firm. Many new business owner CPAs do not realize this. One way to put yourself out there is to be the lowest bidder on public bid work. When you get the job, perform above and beyond the client's expectations. If you do this, you give yourself opportunity

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About Bert Doerhoff

About Bert Doerhoff

Bert Doerhoff is a CPA and founder of Accubiz, a firm providing accounting services out of Jefferson City, Missouri. Accubiz was chosen for the first-ever National Client Service Accounting Firm of the Year Award by the National Association of Small Business Accountants. Doerhoff specializes in small business accounting and wealth management. Doerhoff started his accounting firm from scratch in 1978.

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By syed
Jun 26th 2015 01:11

actually i need a basic knowledge to start a my own business plz dont give me theory

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By Elim
Jun 26th 2015 01:11

If you plan on being successful in having your own business I would recommend going back to school and learning how to write properly.

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By Mel
Jun 26th 2015 01:11

I just graduated with my BS, accounting and I am considering starting my own firm in like 10 years from now. Before I do that, I am considering working for a cpa firm (small or large, I'm not sure).
My question is: Is it necessary and/ or beneficial that I get large cpa firm experience to eventually have my own small firm?

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By John
to daisyfaith
Jun 26th 2015 01:11

In my opinion if you intend to operate a small firm I would work for a small or mid size firm. It will allow you to gain a broader perspective of accounting processes and systems (ex. financial preparation, payroll, auditing, consulting, taxation for all different types of business entities and individuals). If you prefer working in a niche area or specialize in one segment work for a large firm (ex. assurance segment). Also If you would prefer to remain working in the corporate industry and work your way up the corporate ladder to eventually become partner then go to a large firm and make a career out of it. Small firms offer a wider perspective or width of knowledge where large firms tend to offer specialization and depth of specific areas. Large firms tend to have employees hone a specific skill set where smaller firms force the individual to develop a broader range of skills.

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By Phil
to daisyfaith
Jun 26th 2015 01:11

It depends, but the general answer is no. You can attain all of your experience through small size accounting firms. Working in a firm is a must. Obtaining your CPA is a must. See how you fare working in a public practice firm and assess from there. Public practice is no cake walk and the road is ever long and windy.

Best of luck,

Phil, CPA candidate

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By Suzann
to daisyfaith
Jun 26th 2015 01:11

Congratulations Mel! Medium to small firm. My opinion, larger firms own you. In a smaller or medium firm, you will have the networking opportunities, training, firm organizational skills, etc. Just keep building. Good luck!

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By Joe Bush
Jun 26th 2015 01:12

Point 2 - its illegal, you could lose your license if it were found out you helped a client illegally avoid taxes

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Sep 5th 2016 11:27

I think these steps are very informative and important for anyone who's intending to start practicing. Am already practicing but ain't yet a CPA. I mean I have no practicing certificate. Can someone, a member of ICPAK, register a tax consultancy firm without contravening the law considering Tax reports do not necessarily require signing of the report?

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By kath5
Jun 14th 2017 07:28

Starting your accounting firm demands various things. You need to have concentration over many factors and those factors are mentioned above such as failing to market yourself, cutting corners when preparing clients' taxes, going in for the wrong reasons and more. Exactly you need to consider all this for establishing your firm in an efficient way.

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Aug 23rd 2017 23:32

There are some awesome things to consider. Thank you! One other pitfall is knowing exactly how to file your taxes when you start a new firm. If you are working as a consultant, you'll probably want to get familiar with receiving 1099 forms.

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