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Need advice on how to start a cpa firm successfully

I'm not a CPA, but do plan to obtain certification.

I'm actually asking about this because I have a part time job with a CPA who wants to leave the firm he's with and go out on his own (taking me with him).  So we're looking for advice on how to start a successful cpa firm.

What should we consider that we may not be already thinking about?


Chris Holtzer
Title: Senior Manager - Strategic Analysis
Company: Sargento
(Senior Manager - Strategic Analysis, Sargento) |

First, switch your post to anonymous. I hope it wouldn't lead to issues, but you don't want to inadvertently shoot your future partner in the foot. You never know who will stumble across your post.

Then, figure out what you want to specialize in, if anything. I don't think you can do this fresh out of college, but maybe I am wrong (I know I would not have been able to, though at the time I probably thought I could). I recommend a few years (5+/-) under your belt, especially if you plan to specialize in audit, or tax. The young bucks do the heavy lifting, but the partner is the one who is the client hires. Clients want to know that they are getting exceptional services, with a strong track record.

If your partner is a seasoned professional, the advice would be totally different.

Topic Expert
Joseph Ori
Title: CEO
Company: Paramount Capital Corporation
(CEO, Paramount Capital Corporation) |

I'm CPA and suggest that you go to work for an accounting firm for a few years before you start your own firm. This will provide valuable work experience and contacts with clients that you can maybe take over to the new firm.

Samuel W Reed
Title: Cofounder and CTO
Company: BitMEX
LinkedIn Profile
(Cofounder and CTO , BitMEX) |

I actually did this many years ago and it went well during the time I operated independently. First, I'd follow Mr. Ori's advice (above) and work for a local accounting firm for a few cycles, so you can learn the trade and the types of clients you want to go after. Secondly, I'd start acquiring clients on your own, as your night job. Individual income tax returns are easy to acquire, but your bread and butter will come from small businesses. Third, while you are doing this, make sure your debt is paid-off and stockpile cash. When you are ready to take the plunge, keep your overhead low (look at shared offices, or working out of your house when starting). Also, join a network of CPA's for advice and to cross-sell work (if out-of-town) . If you plan on doing alot of tax returns, hire a clerical worker during busy season, as on the smaller returns just putting everything in the right envelopes takes as much time as the return. Leverage exisiting clients--compile their books, implement quickbooks, do their business return, do their personal return, their neighbor's return, etc.

Lastly, get a system down on what type of clients you want, what kind of work you want to do and how you will approach your sales. Some good seminars are available on this if you search the web.

Kundan Lal
Title: Accounting & Finance Consultant
Company: Real Time Cloud Services, LLC
(Accounting & Finance Consultant, Real Time Cloud Services, LLC) |

You have to go through a Uniform CPA Examination to be a certified CPA. You can even work in an accounting firm to get hands-on experience in the field. Starting an accounting firm is not less than starting a small business. It requires a lot of dedication. here are some points to keep in mind-

1) Create Your Vision - The first and most important thing to start your CPA firm is that you and your partner should have a complete plan. Planning before-hand makes things easier and requires less work.

2) Calculate Capital Needed - Calculate the approximate capital you would need to start your accounting firm. Then add 20% of the amount measured, which you will surely need in the future.

3) Decide Target Market - Trying to target everyone is the most prominent mistake accounting firm owner makes. It is better to be focused on one type of audience.

4) Develop Sales And Marketing Strategy- Create a sales and marketing strategy to promote your accounting firm.

5) Choose Technology - Choose a technology that will help you to cater to the client's demands easily. Many cloud-based applications can help you to provide accounting services to the client anytime, anywhere.

Take care of these essential points before you start planning to begin your accounting firm. I hope you and your partner will surely succeed in your venture.

Varun Jain
Title: Founder
Company: Miles Education
(Founder, Miles Education) |

Establish yourself as a partnership firm (collaborate with your friends/family/peers). Work on a model (online/offline/word of mouth) so you can get the word out about your firm to get a client base.


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